How Long Does It Take To Replace A State Computer System? 20 Years, In The Case Of One Agency

Iverson is adamant that Project Titan won't become yet another failed attempt, saying 'This time is different. This time is happening.'

Iverson is adamant that Project Titan won’t become yet another failed attempt, saying ‘This time is different. This time is happening.’

If everything goes according to schedule, a new computer system will go online next year for tracking the services Tennessee provides to people with disabilities–but it’s twenty years overdue.

On its website, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has a video in which Deputy Commissioner Lance Iverson touts what’s being called Project Titan. His message to service providers, family members and department staff is that the new computer system will be a huge change for the better. And that it really will exist.

“Many of you have heard this story before and you might be watching this video while rolling your eyes and shaking your head. I understand why you’re skeptical. We’ve said this six times before and nothing’s changed.”

The current software dates back to 1994. It was intended to be a stopgap, thrown together so state workers could perform one month’s worth of billing before something more permanent was put in place. Instead, the temporary solution was patched–new bits of code have been added here, additional features cobbled in there. Efforts to replace the system entirely repeatedly sputtered out. One project was killed because the department’s IT department wasn’t up to the task. A contract to have an outside company fix the problem was cancelled after missed deadlines. A recent audit from the state comptroller’s office found that more than 4 million dollars was spent on the failed attempts.

The department started all over again last year. It expects to have the new system finally up and running in full by late summer.

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