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Management Audit Finds Need for Planning and Investment in County Information Technology

For more information contact:

Supervisor Kevin Kesterson (838-9518)
Chair, Dane County Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Ruth Ann Schoer (836-0191/836-1312)
Vice Chair, Dane County Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Bob Salov (423-4358)
District 37


Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
In an audit released today, consultants found a need for greater planning and greater investment in Dane County information technology. The audit found a lack of direction in information technology planning countywide. Furthermore, the consultants reported that investment in information technology is limited, and the lack of funding is particularly pronounced in the Department of Human Services.

The report states that, "funding for information technology in the Human Services Department is insufficient for automating processes, creating efficiencies, and allowing the department to better service its external customers, the consumers." As a result of multiple computer systems, staff are unable to determine services provided to customers across different programs. The report points out that "staff are unable to monitor one consumer's case in totality to determine expenses and next steps for assistance."

"This audit confirms what we have long suspected," said Supervisor Ruth Ann Schoer, Vice Chair of the County Board. "The need for investment in information technology is critical, and nowhere is it more critical than at the Department of Human Services. It is time for us to step up to the plate and provide what is needed in the next budget," she added.

"The County Board has been conducting management audits on various programs over the past four years as part of its responsibility to oversee the operation of county government," said Kevin Kesterson, Chair of the Dane County Board of Supervisors. "We undertook the review of the Division of Information Management because all departments rely on computer technology to carry out their missions, and investment in hardware and software is often a topic of discussion during budget deliberations," he noted.

The study, conducted under contract by Virchow, Krause and Company, LLP, Inc. found the following major issues:

1) There is a lack of direction and consistency within the County's information technology strategic planning process.

2) Although public safety and law enforcement personnel require accurate, up-to-date information twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, few Division of Information Management staff can maintain these mission critical networks.

3) Manual and automated, non-integrated information systems are used throughout the Department of Human Services causing redundant applications to be maintained and staff to duplicate data entry efforts.

Virchow, Krause and Company, LLP, Inc. recommends Dane County engage in strategic planning, and establish a back-up plan for mission critical and major applications in use throughout the County. In addition, the report recommends the county "increase the budget for information technology efforts within the Human Services department".

"Throwing money at the problem alone is not the solution," said Supervisor Bob Salov, who serves on the County's Information Resources Management Committee and who first requested the study be completed. "Strategic planning is the solution," he concluded.
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