It's become a broken record in Tennessee: When state government runs into controversy, someone blames a computer system.
Multimillion-dollar statewide information technology projects that miss deadlines, bust budgets and break down repeatedly, if they get finished at all, have become epidemic in agencies that conduct the people's business.
And no matter how huge or complicated, computer systems that don't work have had an impact on real people.
In Tennessee, investigations into abuse of vulnerable children have been hampered. And poor families applying for food stams, the unemployed seeking benefits, people in need of TennCare insurance and drivers and county clerks who deal with vehicle registrations — all would have benefited by state tech projects that bogged down or failed.
The reasons vary widely, but common themes emerge: lack of accountability, a poor understanding of what a system is supposed to do, and government officials' inability to see a project through until it works all make repeat appearances in reports on failed technology.
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