Failed Aspirations at Project Aspire

Failed Aspirations at Project Aspire

Summary: According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida’s Project Aspire has been stopped in mid-track. From the article:A top Florida official has suspended work on Project Aspire, a proposed financial management system for state government.

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According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida’s Project Aspire has been stopped in mid-track. From the article:

A top Florida official has suspended work on Project Aspire, a proposed financial management system for state government.

Alex Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, said in a release that the project was over-budget and unfinished, more than eight years after the state began exploring a new vision of management information systems.

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Sink determined it was in the taxpayers’ best interest to suspend current activities and develop high-level oversight before moving forward, the release said. Gov. Charlie Crist agreed with the decision, according to the release.

The Department of Financial Services, which Sink heads, will document the work product and preserve the project’s development for possible resumption at a later date. The state will retain ownership of the hardware and software associated with Project Aspire, the release said.

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The project had an original budget of $100 million, not including debt service, and was supposed to be completed in February 2006. The state has spent $89 million to date on Project Aspire….

Although the article provides few details, the state of Florida has a website devoted to the project. A quick read of some of the documents included on this website suggest the following:

  • Apparently, this is a PeopleSoft ERP implementation project.
  • The project started early in 2004.
  • BearingPoint developed some of the project documentation on the website, so I assume they were the implementation partner
  • As of April 9, 2007, substantial system testing and a “Go / No go” decision was expected around the end of Sept. 2007.
  • Gartner was brought in to evaluate the project. As of April 9, 2007, a  preliminary analysis indicated that the project would require $200M overall to implement the project.

Here are a few comments from recent Project Aspire meeting minutes:

    • Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink began her remarks by stating that she has had extensive experience working with enterprise-wide systems; she expressed that they are difficult and challenging.
    • CFO Sink reiterated that that in order for Project Aspire to be successful, we must have an executive leadership team. She stated that an executive committee will be set up that will include her and the Department of Financial Service’s Chief of Staff Jim Cassady, the Governor, House and Senate representatives, and the Attorney General.
    • CFO Sink said that we need to re-evaluate the customizations that have been done to the Aspire software to determine what business processes can be standardized on an enterprise level.

There we have it: a $100M implementation, killed after $89M was spent, because the project would have required $200M to complete. Nice going, Gators!

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Topics: Enterprise Software, Software

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