"The Homeland Security Department will award contracts to multiple companies to fix a long-suffering program aimed at computerizing immigration paperwork, after a lackluster job by the current vendor, according to federal officials and internal memos. The original five-year, $536,000 plan for “Transformation” has grown into a potentially two-decade effort that, officials told Nextgov, could cost more than $3 billion if not stopped. So far, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency, has created one online form with the $792.6 million it has spent since contracting with system developer IBM in 2008 It is unclear how much of that sum went directly to IBM. "I believe that the Transformation program is facing a crisis in its ability to execute technically. The most critical issues holding back the program are in the timeliness and quality of the delivery of [system] releases, and the overall productivity of the development team,” wrote USCIS Chief Information Officer Mark Schwartz in a February “procurement-sensitive” acquisition strategy obtained by Nextgov." - Aliya Sternstein, Nextgov, Dec. 13, 2012.
I am skeptical that the new approach of multiple competing companies can get this done any better than the previous attempts. The problem with Transformation was multiple interests within and outside USCIS giving competing and ill-defined demands, and an unwieldy and undecisive command process. I can't see how splitting up the deliverers of the demands will help. Ultimately, what's needed is a forceful but informed top-down construction from scratch. Build a paralllel system for new cases and totally junk the old stuff.