Kansas' The Perfect Storm Case Study 

09-20-2018 12:26

In 2015, the State of Kansas was scheduled to perform what was supposed to be a routine upgrade to the software that supported its accounting system. However, as the deadline approached, officials realized that the transition would be anything but ordinary. Instead, they recognized a set of challenges that created what Sarah Gigous, the Director of the Office of Systems Management in the Department of Administration (DOA), later described as “the perfect storm.” To begin with, they were struggling to recruit technical staff, resulting in the costly practice of retaining an on-site consultant. In addition, they were wrestling with how to replace aging infrastructure that supported the system, a thorny issue because the state’s Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO) was contemplating IT consolidations and did not want departments building costly new systems. Finally, DOA was operating in a constrained fiscal environment, meaning that they could not spend their way out of the problem. These difficulties came to a head when the CITO informed Jim Clark, then the Secretary of Administration, that “they just couldn’t provide us with the support we needed.” “Everything was happening at the same time,” Gigous said, “and we thought, ‘We’ve got to look outside the box and [see] what can we do?’”


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