six years, what will be the goals?" Nelson said. "How will we measure success?"

In 2003, the UI Program selected BearingPoint Inc. to handle the entire integrated system, which included Web-based interfaces for employers to report tax data and individuals to submit applications online, as well as a new phone bank for taking applications offline without creating more paperwork.

BearingPoint tapped a handful of subcontractors for specific pieces of the new system, like FileNet Corp., whose Business Process Manager program handles the electronic workflow, according to a FileNet white paper. According to a UI Program press release, the project was completed in 2007 "on time and on budget" for $42.6 million. Special taxes on Minnesota employers contributed $25 million to that cost. The rest came from supplemental federal grants and the U.S. Department of Labor's allotment for the state's UI program, according to Minnesota UI spokeswoman Kirsten Morell.

BearingPoint also worked closely with UI staff to ensure the new system would meet Minnesota's needs, and keep the UI staff's learning curve to a minimum, Nelson said. "We took 20 staff within the [UI] program who understood what we were trying to get at, and they worked side-by-side with the developer to learn the new system."

The staff participation was one key to the system's success when it was time to bring the system online, said Ed Valencia, CIO of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. What were other important success factors? "Constantly evaluating risk, moving the project along and making adjustments to expectations," he said.
Patrick Michels  |  Contributing Writer
Patrick Michels is based in San Francisco and Austin, Texas. He writes for Government Technology, Texas Technology and Emergency Management magazines.