IRS' Grams: CADE release 'sometime in 2004'

The initial phase of the much-delayed Customer Account Data Engine, the centerpiece of the agency's modernization effort, won't be released until 'sometime in 2004,' IRS CIO W. Todd Grams said today.

CADE eventually will replace the IRS' 40-year-old magnetic tape Master File system, which houses the records of more than 200 million taxpayers. The service had originally scheduled CADE's first phase for last August, Grams said. More recently, IRS officials had set first-phase implementation of the system for March or April of next year.

Grams said IRS officials are working with prime contractor Computer Sciences Corp. to produce what he called a 'risk-adjusted schedule' for the database's first release.

He said he expected to have a more specific time frame by the end of this month.

'We literally are sitting down with the prime and their folks, and we're telling them we want to see a fully thought-out risk-adjusted schedule,' Grams told GCN. 'So I don't want to give a rough estimate. We want this to come from what they think, as the technicians on this, is the right time.'

CADE's first release accounts for only about 12 percent of the system's functionality but will provide the building blocks for future releases and bridges back to the old system.

The IRS last July commissioned the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University to conduct a management and technical review of CADE.

Speaking today at a Federal Sources Inc. forum, Grams said the IRS expects to receive the results of the SEI study this month and will issue comments by the end of the year.

Grams also said that he expects another behind-schedule piece of the IRS' modernization program, the Integrated Financial System, to go live next spring. It originally was slated for release last month.

Grams attributed the delays in part to a lack of participation in the modernization effort by the agency's business units. The agency is trying to correct this under the leadership of IRS deputy commissioner for operations support John Dalrymple, he said.

'We know one of the reasons we haven't done as well on modernization as we should have is getting business unit engagement,' he said. 'John's job is going to be to reach out to the business units and draft them to work full-time with us on modernization'to be there with us on the front lines.'

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