Analysis: Why the Big Apple's IT is rotten to the core

By Graeme Burton
18 Apr 2012 View Comments
New York

Failed IT projects... costly over-runs... budgets embarrassingly busted.

Further reading

It is not just projects in the UK's public sector that frequently go horribly wrong. A major row has broken out in New York after the resignation of the City's IT chief, Carole Post, over a series of IT project failures during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure in office.

Post resigned following the alleged mismanagement of a $2.3bn (£1.4bn) modernisation project to update the City's emergency calls and dispatching system. It is running some seven years late and a cool $1bn (£600m) over budget. It will eventually be delivered in 2015.

Post's supporters claim that the problems that have bedevilled the project pre-date her appointment, and point out that she will be the third IT head to leave under Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman who made his fortune building an electronic financial information and television news service.

However, her detractors point to a series of failures in the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, New York's IT department, which is best known by its acronym, DoITT – referred to as "don't do it" by disgruntled City workers, according to the New York Times. Post is officially the commissioner of the DoITT.

The Emergency Communications Transformation Program (ECTP) was originally started in 2004 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City's Twin Towers. The idea was to consolidate the city's fragmented emergency services' call centres into two "public safety call centres" in order to better coordinate and manage emergency responses.

New York City Fire Department and the Police Department are now ensconced in one of the two call centres, while the second one is still being built.

That, at least, was the theory. But in addition to the delays and cost overruns to ECTP, the DoITT has also been criticised over an upgrade to CityNet, the city's internal network; continuing problems with CitiServ, the city's centralised datacentre; and, problems with NYCWin, the under-used municipal wireless network.

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