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Abstract

In September 2004, the State of Colorado implemented a large information system it called the Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS). Its purpose was to replace six aging legacy systems supporting various state-administered welfare programs with a single system using current technologies. The expected benefits from CBMS were better service to clients and assurance that the state’s welfare programs were being administered properly. The conversion was a disaster, and, as of early 2011, CBMS is still not working properly. Since 2004, there have been a series of promises and attempts under two separate administrations to fix CBMS so that it meets performance requirements. Nothing has worked. This case chronicles events since late 2006 until early 2011. It lays the groundwork for class discussion of how and why public sector managers could fail to focus on fixing the problems with CBMS for almost seven years, and now will simply “kick the can down the road” to the new administration that took office in January 2011.

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