Saturday, August 05, 2006

Microsoft to Get State Email Contract

Although Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay) and the state-employee group don't really like this, the State has awarded an email-consolidation project to Microsoft after an Oracle system failed to deliver.

State officials say they plan to contract with Microsoft because of the need for certain expertise and a large number of workers with specialized skills.

The project will affect e-mail used by 44,000 state workers, but not those at the University of Wisconsin System or Legislature. Considering the scale of the work, only a handful of people have the skills to do the job, said state Department of Administration spokesman Scott Larrivee.

...The cost-benefit analysis done by the state shows that the expected cost for Microsoft to do the project would be $1.3 million.

The expected cost of a contract with Microsoft would include 5,880 hours of work to be paid at the rate of $203.65 an hour, plus $100,000 in travel expenses, as well as the cost of monitoring the work, the analysis says.

In comparison, the analysis shows that it would cost $327,375 for salary and benefits for state employees being paid at $40 an hour, as well as some training and overhead costs.

Larrivee defended the decision to seek a contract with Microsoft because there are no state employees trained to do the work. He said Microsoft has nine experts with the necessary skills, and it would be expensive for the state to hire just one of them.

The MS rates are not unreasonable. One would hope, however, that at least a few State employees are given enough training and exposure to the technical details during the project that the State can use their expertise for system maintenance and upgrades.

That's called "investing in the future."

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