Development of state information systems is often ineffectual

Toomas Mattson | 2/18/2010 | 10:09 AM

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TALLINN, 18 February 2010 - It is the view of the National Audit Office that the creation of efficient and sustainable information systems is principally being stymied by insufficient preliminary analysis, the failure to consider alternative solutions and disregard for the principles of project implementation.

This results in missed development project deadlines, increased costs and dissatisfaction among the owners and users of the information systems.

The audit carried out by the National Audit Office into the efficacy of the development processes of state information systems revealed that it often remains unclear what benefit an information system is meant to provide. The majority of development projects are instigated without evaluating their technical and financial feasibility and necessity. Moreover, in many cases some of the required parties fail to be included in the development projects, as a result of which the information systems which are created do not always meet the expectations of users.
The audit also showed that the duration and budgets of developments are not being planned with sufficient accuracy and that project-based cost accounts are not being kept. The upkeep costs of the systems created are not being assessed, and there are generally no criteria for the assessment of the success of projects.

The National Audit Office also found that neither the implementation of systems safeguarding state information systems nor the recommendations of the state interoperability framework are being taken into account in the application of development projects. This hinders cooperation and data exchange between information systems.

The audit examined six information system development projects carried out between 2005 and 2009 within the areas of jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence. During the audit process it was found that only half of the development projects were completed on time, to the planned volume and with the planned functionality.
In order to boost the efficacy of the development of state information systems, the National Audit Office has recommended that clear requirements be established by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for the instigation, implementation and reporting on development projects related to state information systems and that a common electronic environment for the management of projects be created.

Background information
Between 2005 and 2008 the government sector as a whole spent just over 1.5 billion kroons on information technology (not counting the labour costs of IT specialists), comprising, on average, 2.8% of government sector operating costs. According to the information society development plan being drafted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, almost one hundred IT development projects were being carried out in 2008 and 2009.

Toomas Mattson
Director of Communications Services, National Audit Office
Telephone: +372 640 0777
Mobile: +372 51 34 900
E-mail: [email protected]

  • Posted: 2/18/2010 10:09 AM
  • Last Update: 11/10/2015 6:01 PM
  • Last Review: 11/10/2015 6:01 PM

The benefits of one or another information system for the state often remain unclear.

Corbis/Scanpix Baltics

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