Barbara Jensen’s role in state IT nightmare before Cover Oregon

Barbara Jensen_thb

by NW Spotlight

Cover Oregon has been in the news again recently. This time it was when Gov. Kitzhaber announced that after having spent more than $170 million and years of development, they’re not sure if they can even get it to work!

Unfortunately for Oregon taxpayers, this isn’t the first time that the State of Oregon has had a disastrous large information technology (IT) project. As a January 2014 Bend Bulletin article pointed out, “Cover Oregon joins a list of high-tech undertakings the state oversold,” that includes the failed DMV project, the State Data Center, the Oregon Medicaid Management Information System, the Oregon Wireless Interoperability Network and the failed software project for the Oregon Employment Department.

Barbara Jensen and the State Data Center

Barbara Jensen is running in the Republican primary in Oregon House District 25 against conservative radio talk show host Bill Post. House District 25 covers Keizer, St. Paul and Newberg. The Statesman Journal described Jensen as a “longtime state government employee.” One of those state jobs was working for the State of Oregon as the Communications Officer for the Oregon State Data Center from 2004-2009. On her LinkedIn profile, it notes that she “served to plan and build” the State Data Center.

Barbara Jensen - LinkedIn - OR State Data Center

The Oregon consolidated State Data Center (SDC) was a project to consolidate 12 state data centers into one, “to reduce the number of servers and operating systems it supported (thereby lowering hardware, licensing, and management costs), offer new and better service level agreements, improve the state’s disaster recovery capability, allow for growth and technological advances, and ensure better data security.” A 2008 report from the Oregon Secretary of State auditors found that the SDC project failed to meet several of those “significant objectives.”

Oregon’s SDC project made national news in IT trade journals with headlines like this one in CIO magazine in 2008: Oregon’s Data Center Nightmare.

CIO magazine had this to say about the SDC project “”The state’s new site was completed in January, 2006 at a cost of $20 million. A year later, 11 agencies [out of 12] were migrated to the new facility, at a cost of $43 million. At $25,000 per relocated server or about $4 million per agency, the move’s cost was astounding—and it gets worse. In July, 2008, the state issued a report concluding that in fact only 70 out of the 1,700 servers had been eliminated, and new service level agreements had not been provided. Data security was so poor that the Department of Education could not move into the new facility due to its failure to meet federal privacy regulations, and another agency had to move back into its old center because the new center’s power supply was inadequate. As for the projected cost savings, who knew?””

An Information Week article from 2008 reported “The [Oregon’s Office of the Secretary of State] auditor’s report says several of the project’s ‘significant objectives’ haven’t been met, including reducing the number of network servers and operating systems, ensuring adequate security measures, offering service-level agreements, and implementing an effective disaster-recovery strategy. Resources will have to be added to the project, and the efficiencies and planned cost-savings will likely not materialize, the report concludes.”