Auditor: State govt. still can’t compute with multi-million dollar BreEZe system


As the locus of the global high-tech boom, treat you would think some of that digital dexterity might rub off on the California state government. Nope.

Republished with permission by Cal

A new report from state Auditor Elaine Howle is on the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ BreEZe System. It found:

Consumer Affairs failed to adequately plan, sale staff, and manage the project for developing BreEZe.

  • It did not effectively assess the regulatory entities’ business needs to determine system requirements.
  • Inadequate system requirements led to significant delays at key stages of the project.
  • It relied on faulty assumptions in selecting a commercial “off-the-shelf” system as the foundation for BreEZe, which contributed to an increase in project costs—from $28 million in 2009 to $96 million as of January 2015 for half of the entities originally planned.
  • It did not have adequate staffing to execute and implement BreEZe through critical project phases.

Note that increase in project costs — $68 million wasted. At the same time, because of Moore’s Law, private-sector computer costs were decreasing by up to half every 18 months (or computer power was doubling in that time). Just compare the cell phone you held in 2009 to the one you have now.

Some other cases of state and local government computer disasters, as reported previously at

  • Last year, thieves ripped off $800,000 of computer equipment from San Jose State.
  • Last year, Howle reported on the unreliability of state computer data.
  • Just before that, a computer bug dumped some Covered CA applicants into Medi-Cal.
  • In 2013, unemployment checks were delayed by a glitch in the computer of the Employment Development Department.
  • In 1994, a $44 million DMV computer “debacle” struck.

Republished with permission by Cal


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Citizen Reporter
6 years ago

The article never gets around to telling us what a “BreEZe system” is and what it’s supposed to do, so we don’t know if we need to be concerned. Even the linked article is vague about that.