|Financial Audit Division||Released December, 2019|
The 2019 Legislature directed the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) to replace Minnesota’s Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) with a vendor-produced software application, following the recommendations of the Independent Expert Review of MNLARS.1 The law outlined an aggressive project timeline for the new Vehicle Title and Registration System (VTRS), with a launch by the end of calendar year 2020. The law also required full implementation of VTRS and a complete decommissioning of MNLARS by the fall of 2021.
The Legislature defined DPS as the owner of VTRS and made the agency responsible for the final decisions on functionality. MNIT is the technical lead on the project and is responsible for the final decisions on the implementation of technology products, services, and staffing. DPS and MNIT awarded the VTRS contract to Fast Enterprises, LLC (FAST) on June 27, 2019, and signed a contract for both software and implementation services on August 7, 2019. FAST also supplied the state’s driver licensing system, which went live on October 1, 2018.
The 2019 Legislature dissolved the MNLARS Steering Committee and created the Driver and Vehicle Systems Oversight Committee.2 The new committee is responsible for overseeing the VTRS project and the decommissioning of MNLARS. The law requires DPS and MNIT to provide quarterly updates to the oversight committee. The law also requires the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) to provide quarterly reviews on the project implementation, stakeholder engagement, and MNLARS decommissioning. For each of these areas, the law requires OLA to identify any concerns or risks that could jeopardize the project.
Complex computer system development projects are fraught with technical and nontechnical risks. As the project leaders, DPS and MNIT are responsible for continuously assessing risks and developing appropriate mitigation strategies. DPS and MNIT also are responsible for keeping the Driver and Vehicle Systems Oversight Committee apprised of both the project status and risks. In these quarterly reviews, OLA intends to assist the oversight committee by reporting on risks that do not have mitigation strategies that are commensurate with the underlying risks.
DPS, MNIT, and FAST are on track to meet the project implementation deadlines in law. However, two proposed vehicle licensing and registration changes and data conversion uncertainties could put those dates in jeopardy. OLA also found that the intended decommissioning dates may be difficult to meet because those dates are too close to the final system implementation dates. Finally, OLA did not find any issues or concerns with current stakeholder engagement efforts.
Our review found three risks and concerns that currently do not have complete mitigation strategies:
RISK 1: New legislative requirements could impact the ability to complete the VTRS project on time and within the budget.
RISK 2: Moving data from MNLARS to VTRS could be challenging due to existing data integrity issues.
RISK 3: Detailed decommissioning project timelines and budgets are still under development, but may not meet the intended target dates in state law.
1Laws of Minnesota 2019, First Special Session, chapter 3, art. 2, sec. 35.
2Laws of Minnesota 2019, First Special Session, chapter 3, art. 2, sec. 34.