• Highlights from Little Hoover Commission testimony today by California Technology Agency Secretary and State CIO Carlos Ramos

    August 25th, 2011 by admin Categories: Blogs Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Carlos Ramos expressed his support today for AB2408 and answered that it was successfully working; however, Ramos seemed to equivocate somewhat on several key points. What I took away from the hearing was the following:

    • For agencies/departments scheduled to migrate their data processing centers to OTech, consideration will be given to the age of their infrastructure. If quite modern, migration could await the next refresh, potentially years away, in addition
    • Consideration may be given to Agency consolidation of their departments infrastructures ( JTF Note: à la Resources) as an alternative to OTech consolidation.

    Ramos also testified that he would be amenable to having the California Technology Agency granted greater authority over the non-Executive department IT projects such as the courts, constitutional offices and other independent agencies, and some specific, legislatively exempted executive departments such as Correction’s health care. Look out Clark Kelso…

    Amusingly, he kept a stoic expression when asked rhetorically by several Commissioners if CTA should have responsibility for IT procurement operations, and not just policy. I remember a similar question posed to me when I was state CIO last century.

    Turning the questioning away from consolidation and governance issues, State CIO Ramos saw “no fatal flaws” with the five projects reviewed by the LHC today:

    • FI$CAL
    • 21st Century
    • UI
    • CA-MMIS
    • Cal-PADS

    However, he was very clear that he did have significant issues with several other projects and had already questioned the departments and the project vendors expressing his reservations about the lack of implementation progress. He asked the Commission to allow him to make a full report to the Administration before he divulged the projects to the Commission. That information should prove quite interesting…

    Nonetheless, he firmly expressed the Administration’s support, both financially and resources-wise for all other projects “currently underway”. A somewhat curious position given the potential, nay, the likelihood that Governor Brown and the Legislature will have to revisit the budget with more cuts this fall given the overly optimistic tax revenue projections they photo shopped into the final FY2011-12 budget package just two months ago in June.

    After Carlos’ direct testimony, the review of the five IT projects was somewhat anti-climactic given the Commissions rather softball questions. I think they were ready for lunch. However, the audience of 150+ primarily vendors emitted a collective gasp and a chuckle or two especially from your faithful TLTV scribe when the FI$CAL team regaled the LHC and the packed house with the fact that while the procurement was still ongoing, and a signed contract was not expected before mid-2012, FI$CAL nonetheless employed 88 state employees (a double snowman as one attendee waxed cynically), and had already spent $55 million. Truth be told, TechLeader.TV has learned that there are another couple dozen or more FI$CAL troops assigned from other agencies, so the actual state headcount is well over 100.

    Notable in its absence from LHC scrutiny this time was the Court Case Management System which nevertheless bore the brunt of the hearing’s final speaker, the redoubtable State Auditor Elaine Howle. See a separate post on the “bombshell” she dropped on CCMS and the LHC.

    We had a chance to review her written testimony (see links below) after the hearing. More to come on a separate post, but we have to say, we were shocked, shocked to hear the 21st Century Payroll Project’s (or as TLTV has called it because of the Interminable delays – the 22nd Century Project) first phase go-live has been postponed again, from September until spring of 2012 at least. Seems the Controller overlooked the challenges of the data conversion issue. (And BTW, why can’t TechLeader.TV get a tour of their invoice/check processing facility over near the Capital City Expressway?)

    We’ll all look forward to having Carlos on our TechLeader.TV Webcast on September 21, 2011 to go over these and others issues.

    Here’s a link to LHC’s Web Site where you can find links to hearing video on demand and written testimony.


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