State Education Department

Achievement of Goals for Specific Computer Systems

The Department operates a number of computer systems to help support the activities of public school districts in New York State. We examined the effectiveness of Department efforts in developing two computer systems: a system that supports financial and accounting activities and a system that supports the management of information relating to students.

We found that while some goals were achieved in the development of the systems, other goals were not achieved. For example, system development took longer and cost more than was expected. In addition, the two systems were not cost-effective because they were not used by nearly as many districts as anticipated. In fact, some districts purchased their own computer systems instead of using the Department's systems. We determined that the Department proceeded with systems development without obtaining assurance that the systems would be used by the districts. We recommended that, in the future, the Department use a formal planning process to assess the need for such systems. 94-S-23