CROS – Expand. Enhance. Empower.
The Centralized Revenue Opportunity System (CROS) replaces the Board of Equalization's (BOE) legacy computer systems with an innovative customer-centered solution.
We anticipate this new solution will maximize the effectiveness of staff operations, generate an annual net increase of $200 million in previously unidentified revenue, and provide efficiencies that will benefit California businesses with:
- Expanded online services for customers.
- Enhanced ability for our customers to communicate with us at any time, from anywhere.
- Empowering technology that reinforces transaction accuracy and security.
The CROS Project Team is using our new Pre-Implementation – Implementation (PI-I) approach to IT modernization that enables us to resolve several issues prior to implementation, gives greater ownership of the new system to BOE employees, and should lower the overall cost of the project.
As we continue progress on the CROS solution, this section provides regular status updates with a brief description of the current phase, our most recent achievement, and the next anticipated milestone.
Project Status: Pre-Implementation Phase
During this phase we update our business rules, clean and stage our data, catalog all interfaces, and develop a system inventory.
Parallel to these vital initiatives, we define the scope and functionality of the CROS solution by drafting a Request for Proposal (RFP).
Once the RFP is approved by the Department of General Services and released to the public, vendors will propose solutions. We will select the best solution for the BOE and our customers.
- Techwire.net, a website and publication focused on the public-sector technology industry in California, has published an article featuring the CROS Project’s Pre-Implementation – Implementation strategy: “Board of Equalization Trying New Approach to IT Modernization” (.pdf).
- The Institute for Quality Public Service highlighted the CROS Project in a May 2014 report. Its website states: “The CROS project at the Board of Equalization stands out for its dedication to planning, teamwork, and continuous improvement.” You can read the full report here: http://theiqps.org/newsfeeds/26
What's Next: Draft Proposals Due Date
In order to clarify key requirements, the due date for Draft Proposals has been changed to October 20, 2014. The other key action dates were changed in Addendum 9, which was released September 2, 2014.
CROS: A Customer-Centered Solution
California Businesses will benefit with:
- A single registration for multiple tax and fee programs
- Access to more information that can be used to improve business operations
- Return filing assistance which helps reduce errors
- Expanded online services with increased account maintenance capabilities, including: access to real-time account information and the ability to track and obtain correspondence with the BOE.
BOE will benefit with:
- Faster and easier implementation of new legislation or program changes
- Greater efficiencies through streamlined business processes
- Automation of manual program processes with real-time access to customer information
External Partners (Federal, State and Local) will benefit with:
- Improved access to internal BOE data
- Improved tools and methods for analyzing and reporting data
While IT modernization can improve compliance and collections for state revenue agencies, recent budget constraints have made it increasingly difficult to fund new IT projects. Fortunately, we are able to finance the CROS project using revenue generated by and attributed to the new system.
This compensation strategy, called Benefits-Based Contracting, has been successfully employed by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), Employment Development Department (EDD), and multiple state revenue agencies throughout the country, including:
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
- New York
Why are we different? – The CROS Distinction
California is the cradle of Information Technology (IT) civilization. Silicon Valley is the home of Apple, Google, Facebook, and numerous start-ups, giving us a wealth of resources from which to draw.
We have reviewed numerous California public sector IT projects and learned from their successes and challenges.
This has enabled us to develop a proactive strategy to mitigate those challenges called the PI-I (Pre-Implementation and Implementation) approach.
We are Proactive: The PI-I Approach
At a high level, traditional projects are divided into two phases: Procurement followed by Implementation. Instead, we have strategically divided the CROS project into Pre-Implementation and Implementation (PI-I), wherein procurement is included as an individual component of the Pre-implementation phase.
During the Pre-Implementation phase, we have discovered issues earlier rather than later, by shifting work that is normally done by the contractor during implementation to BOE employees during pre-implementation. This ensures that preparatory work stays within the agency, and gives state employees greater involvement in, and ownership of, the project.
A Revised Approach to IT Modernization highlights the specific practices we've undertaken with the PI-I approach to address the various problems that adversely affected previous government IT projects and makes recommendations that can be adopted as a model for future projects and incorporated into future Feasibility Study Reports (FSRs).
Our Project Director provided a summary of our PI-I approach during his report at the February 2013 Board of Equalization meeting.
CROS Project Resources
Here you can access project documents, such as the Request for Proposal (RFP), the Special Project Report (SPR), the Feasibility Study Report (FSR), and previous Board Meeting reports from the CROS Project Director.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The Request for Proposal contains the preliminary requirements of the CROS system and reflects our general strategy and short/long term goals for the project. The RFP serves as the BOE's official solicitation of bids from Technology Contractors to build the CROS system.
Approved by the Department of General Services on July 1, 2013.
Special Project Report (SPR)
A Special Project Report (SPR) was developed to realign the project schedule with the (Procurement) Key Action dates stated in the CROS RFP, Section I. The SPR established a new schedule, resource, and cost baseline for the project. The SPR was approved by the Department of Technology on February 28, 2014.
Feasibility Study Report (FSR)
The Feasibility Study Report details our initial project objectives and proposed solution to replace our antiquated legacy computer systems, the Integrated Revenue Information System (IRIS) and the Automated Compliance Management System (ACMS).
Submitted to the California Technology Agency on May 23, 2011
Board Meeting Reports from our Project Director
At each Board of Equalization Meeting our Project Director, Eric Steen, provides an update regarding the status of the CROS project. These meetings are open to the public and ensure accountability by providing transparency to those we serve. We have included an archive of past presentations below, and encourage anyone interested in the CROS project to watch the live-stream feed of our Monthly Board Meetings.