When it comes to the Department of Corrections, we would expect systems to be as modernized as possible. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. According to an article by Mark Peterson, a recent survey shows that systems in the department were an average of 20 years old. This has nothing to do with laziness or lack of knowledge. Peterson argues that such issues arise because there is no definition of business requirements:
Unfortunately we continue to see a lack of business and technical requirements definition during the planning phase for modernization. Many clients simply take the vendor’s plan and processes and implement them in spite of their sometimes unique and custom requirements for effective business. A recent set of studies published by McKinsey Quarterly provides further evidence that projects large and small fail. However, large projects not only fail more often, they deliver less. According to the McKinsey/Oxford study half of IT projects with budgets of over $15 million dollars run 45% over budget, are 7% behind schedule and deliver 56% less functionality than predicted.
IT has shown support for departments pushing their own project management. It seems from a governmental standpoint that the best course of action is to focus on modernizing a business first and then seeing what technology can best meet the needs of the business. IT is indeed crucial to modern business development, but sometimes trying to include IT before your business plans are fully developed can be unwise.
Once we gauge what our business requirements are and put a plan in place, then we can make IT work to our advantage. In the case of the Department of Corrections, finding out precisely what is needed from the system is the first step to updating out of date technology. Perhaps in the future, the average system could go from 20 years old to almost new.