Information Systems Redesign in a State Social Services Agency: A Case Study

Information Systems Redesign in a State Social Services Agency: A Case Study

Jean-Pierre Kuilboer Kuilboer (University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA) and Noushin Ashrafi (University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-592-9.ch021
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Successful implementation of information systems (IS) is an essential part of executing new business strategies. Yet, IS development projects are most susceptible to fail. According to a report by the Standish Group 42% of IS projects are canceled before completion. This case addresses many of the causes of IS project failure. It is based on an information system redesign project undertaken by a state social services agency. The Project aims at automating the welfare system and providing mission-critical applications to the social workers in the field and federal subsidies distribution. The case is written from the perspective of an actual participant on the project during the time that is documented. Although most of the players recognized that they needed automation to conduct their business in a radically different and superior way, the project failed, wasting $32 million of taxpayers money. A number of problems such as lack of proper planning, underestimating the size and complexity of the endeavor, and organizational and cultural issues surrounding government agencies contributed to the project failure.

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