Auditors rap management of New York's intranet

New York's State Office for Technology has bungled the implementation of a $42 million program to link the state's offices via an intranet, according to an audit released by the office of state comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.

'NYeNet is a terrific concept, but the reality is that the project has so far done little to improve services for New Yorkers, streamline operations for local governments or reduce telecommunications costs,' Hevesi said in a statement.

OFT officials rejected the conclusion that the NYeNet project had failed to meet its goals. In a written response, OFT director Michael McCormack said the intranet has already reduced the state's monthly telecommunications costs from $75,799 to $20,800.

McCormack gave a point-by-point description of how NYeNet had met its goals. He said OFT managers already had adopted the project management and marketing methods recommended in the auditor's report.

But the auditors found that only three of six state telecom networks scheduled to be replaced by NYeNet had in fact made the transition.

Auditors found no formal plans to add more networks beyond the initial six. They also found that NYeNet did not incorporate other widely used systems such as the Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance System, the Department of Health Medicaid Payment System, or the Department of Motor Vehicles Driver License and Registration System.

The report (PDF) issued earlier this month also charged that state agencies and local governments had in some cases waited years to get basic information about the statewide network.

The auditors said that although OFT officials might have used project management tools to build the intranet, 'they did not adequately develop measurable objectives for the project, evaluate the size and cost of the existing networks, or perform a feasibility study, which are all part of sound project management practices.'

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