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NC Takes Back Big Project

IT staff at the State of North Carolina have successfully brought a major project back in house after an $80 million contract with IBM ended acrimoniously.

The initiative, called the North Carolina Window of Information on Student Education (NC WISE), is a Web-based system for collating and analyzing student data, such as report cards and transcripts. It was originally conceived as a data repository for one million students.

But the project, which was designed to replace an antiquated 20-year-old software program called the Student Information Management System (SIMS), was fraught with delays and performance issues, finally dissolving in a war of words between the state and IBM earlier this year. (See North Carolina, IBM Lock Horns.)

Mike Veckenstedt, CTO of the state's Department of Public Instruction (DPI), tells Byte and Switch that the four-month transfer from IBM was officially completed last week, although this was not without its headaches.

"One of the biggest challenges was getting the required skills and staff," he explains, adding that the other big challenge is working with the state's 100-plus school districts and winning their trust.

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