Weak Technology May Stymie Social Security

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 05-02-2005
It's no surprise when a government agency has trouble putting together a complex information technology system.

Between budget constraints, project requirements that are guaranteed to be odd, and often an inability to attract the cream of the IT management crop, major government IT projects are more remarkable when they work correctly than when they don't.

The FBI, for example, recently admitted to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that a case-file automation project, which is years late and more than $200 million over budget, may have to be written off entirely.

So, the growing chorus of voices predicting that the IT underlying the Social Security Administration might hamstring efforts to modernize the financial safety net is no surprise either.

What's surprising is the vehemence and consistency of these voices, and the size of the potential disaster involved.

Here, in detail, is a breakdown of how a technology project may undermine a project that has become a primary goal of this presidential administration.

Story guide:

  • Twenty Years, 100 Projects, $1 Billion a Year—and No End in Sight
  • The Systems Are a Mess, and the Goal Keeps Shifting
  • Outsourcing: The Best Person for the Job Is Someone Else

    Also see:

  • Baseline magazine's take on the technological insecurity of Social Security.
  • And a few other problematic governmental projects in "The Whoops Files."