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The U.S. Census Bureau Fdca Project

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The U.S. Census Bureau Field Data Collection Project: Don’t Count On It
Alicia Pepitone
IT/205
05/04/2012
Terence Burney

The U.S. Census Bureau Field Data Collection Project: Don’t Count On It The Field Data Collection Automation (FDCA) project is important to the U.S. Census Bureau, because it helps by collecting information of residents by using handheld devices rather than paper. It was supposed to cut the cost and replace paper with an electronic device. By using these devices the residents just sign this device as if they were signing for a package and it should have cut the amount of time it took the bureau to collect this information from the citizens. There is a lack of accountability in the FDCA project, there was poor communication mainly due to them not anticipating the amount of information these handhelds would have to take in to memory. The bureau lacked to give accurate system requirements and scheduling information. “The system has a variety of components, carriers, devices and applications to organize and coordinate” (The U.S. Census Bureau Field Data Collection Project: Don’t Count on It, Jean Thilmany, 2009) page 413. The Bureau should have tried harder to get updates from the Harris Corporation. The project was just too immature to do a job of this magnitude. The FDCA project continued on in 2010, but was far less efficient than they initially thought it would be and cost a great deal more at three billion in funding over the next five years. The Bureau ended up using the devices as much as they could and also relied on paper documents to. I would not have wanted to use these devices until I knew they worked correctly. Use them on a trial bases and try them out, but to just purchase them and rely on a corporations word that they work well and will get the job done was not a good thing. There are billions of people in America and these handhelds need to take in much information on individuals and families. That can be too much information for these handhelds to store. They estimated the total cost of this project to be $14.5 billion. There would have to have been a time that the Bureau could have went in and seen for themselves how the devices worked and if they found anything wrong then the Harris Corporation could have fixed it and tweaked it. The devices would not have been used or bought, until I knew they were working to my specifications or close to it. If I had to go another ten years without using them to know that they were working the way that the Bureau needed them to work than that is what I would have to do. Due to the mismanagement of the Bureau and the Harris Corporation the taxpayers have to pay for this mess up. Taxpayers have to pay for many mistakes that the government makes, but that is another story in itself. I think it was a combination of both the Bureau, who wanted to use these devices before they were ready, and the Harris Corporation, who quickly made these devices not really knowing just what the job entailed, on why the project did not go the way they all expected it to go.

Reference: Essentials of Management Information Systems, Ninth Edition, by Kenneth C. Laudon and Jane P. Laudon. Published by Prentice Hall, Copyright 2011, by Pearson Education, Inc.…...

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