States Face Challenges in Modernizing Their Tax and
* All nine states cited limited funding and/or the increasing cost of UI systems as a major challenge. For example, they said that the economic downturn had resulted in smaller state budgets, which limited state funds for IT modernization. Moreover, once funds were identified or obtained, it often took a considerable amount of time to complete the IT project. Officials added that developing large state or multistate systems may span many years, and competing demands on resources can delay project implementation. As a result, states may fund one phase of a project with the hope that funds will be available in the future for subsequent phases. This lack of consistent funding potentially hinders effective IT project planning.
* Seven of the nine states cited a lack of staff in their UI offices with the expertise necessary to manage IT modernization efforts:
* Several states said they lacked sufficient subject matter experts knowledgeable in the extensive rules and requirements of the UI program. Such experts are essential to helping computer designers and programmers understand the program's business processes, supporting an effective transition to the reengineered process, and identifying system requirements and needs.
* States also identified challenges in operating and maintaining a system developed by vendors because state employees may have lacked the needed expertise to maintain the new system once the vendor staff leave.
* The states added that their staffs may implement larger-scale systems only once every 10 to 15 years, leading to gaps in required knowledge and skills, process maturity and discipline, and executive oversight.
* States further stressed that their staffs may have expertise in an outdated computer language, while modernization efforts require them to learn new skills and more modern programming languages. * According to a 2011 workforce survey, over 78 percent of state chief information officers confirmed that state salary rates and pay grade structures presented a challenge in attracting and retaining skilled IT talent.
* According to Labor, the limited staff resources facing states have required that subject matter experts be pulled off projects to address the workload demands of daily operations.
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