Completion of Estonia's new welfare information system to be delayed
Development of the Ministry of Social Affairs' new information system SKAIS2, which was scheduled to come online by Jan. 1, 2017, has been delayed and may take several years to complete, according to ministry officials, but all services of the National Social Insurance Board (SKA) will continue functioning and all subsidies and allowances to Estonian residences will continue to be paid out regardless.
"By now it is clear that the deadline of Jan. 1 is unrealistic and a new plan will be necessary to move forward with the SKAIS2 project," said Ain Aaviksoo, deputy secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs for e-services and innovation. "Both the developer and the government have underestimated the complexity of the project."
The ministry official added they would take stock of what they had at the beginning of December and move forward based on that.
Olli Pirttijärvi, head of business development at IT company Tiesto, said that the delay could be ascribed to both changes in legislatin that have taken place over the last two years and the teams that have been working on the project.
"SKAIS2 is an extremely large-scale and complex project which literally depends upon the surrounding environment," explained Pirttijärvi. "Let me assure you that just like Tieto as a whole, Tieto Estonia too is assuming responsibility for the work done. We have made changes to the project management to ensure a quality development process that is consistent with future timelines."
Egon Veermäe, director general of the SKA, said that the welfare authority has made the necessary preparations to ensure the functioning of all services and payouts of existing benefits and allowances as well as the benefits and allowances to be added beginning in 2017 using the existing information system.
"There's readiness to upgrade the existing SKAIS system and keep it in operation for at least two more years so that all necessary work could be completed," said the director general.
Development of the new system started out in collaboration between IT companies Tieto and Icefire in 2014; as of the end of 2015, Tieto Estonia continued on as its sole developer.
The total project cost for SKAIS2 has grown from 7.1 to 7.7 million euros, of which 3.1 million euros has already been paid out.