[LINK] Australia’s Digital Economy : Future D i rections

Frank O'Connor foconnor at ozemail.com.au
Wed Jul 8 08:03:10 AEST 2009

Yo Leah.

At 4:34 PM +0100 7/7/09, Leah Manta wrote:
>At 14:24 07/07/2009, Frank O'Connor wrote:
>>At 8:12 AM +0100 7/7/09, Leah Manta wrote:
>>>At 07:13 07/07/2009, you wrote:
>>>>2. They will attempt to reinvent the wheel and impose their own
>>>>(depressingly low and non-open) standards. If it can be done using
>>>>proprietary standards it will be done using the most inappropriate,
>>>>expensive, proprietary standards.
>>This relates to the technology choices they will make.
>>>>5. They will mirror, rather than reinvent or improve, existing public
>>>>service processes.
>>This relates to the bureaucratic processes they will elect to automate.
>>>Bit of a conflict there Frank!
>>No conflict ... but perhaps a need for elucidation. Thanks for the 
>>pickup.     :)
>Frank, Frank, Frank.
>We are talking about government people.  The neither make choices 
>nor elect.  We choose and we elect them!  Remember!

Yeah ... but the ones responsible for implementing policy are the 
public servants - and they're the ones who mess up what the 
politicians don't.

Bottom line: Policy doesn't stand a chance. Systems don't stand a 
chance. Nothing works.

>As for elucidation, you need words of 2 syllables or less.  Really. 
>Or you have to write a Tender Document for a definition and debate 
>it till the next election.

Better than 2 syllables for Link I think ... and you only need tender 
documents to include consultants and/or that proprietary technology 
and standards I mentioned earlier in the mix - and we know how useful 
consultants and proprietary standards and products are.

You then need system specifications, written by a veritable horde of 
public servants, with Arts degrees rather than IT or other useful 
qualifications, after interminable meetings that take place over 
months and years. You need sign off by another level of ignorant 
people further up the food chain because EVERY IT initiative 
qualifies as a major system in the public service and has to go 
through a major systems development process.

You then have to hire consultants and developers to develop what you 
want in the proprietary 'off the shelf' product that was sold to said 
tender document and system spec document creators as the best 
alternative for your particular problem (consultants, developers and 
the like who you will no doubt re-hire later in a vain attempt to 
integrate your shiny new application with other applications run by 
your department/enterprise). Siebel, SAP and Oracle  and the like 
would die on the vine without these consultants ... and we can't have 
that can we?

Of course by this stage what had originally been an application 
useful to your retail clients/taxpayers etc has now become yet 
another MIS of limited use to anyone but the suits, which will fall 
over and die when it goes into production because said clients and 
taxpayers now get nothing useful from it and because the system is 
doing so much back-end MIS processing that the front end gets only 
one CPU cycle in 100,000 and dies in the ass anyway.

Then you hand off the specs to developers who get about 5 hours to 
read the useless specifications and an hour to code the system ... 
because all the money ran out on the travel and long lunches budget 
in the previous stage.

By this stage you have about 150 bucks left to spend on hardware ... 
so you whack the database, the application and the Web server on the 
only low end Intel box you can now afford to run it, zot that up 
behind your firewall and the security regime that's gonna make the 
system so user unfriendly that usage will sink to zero within a week 
of going into production, and Bob's your proverbial uncle. Doesn't 
scale for crap ... but given that nobody will use it, who cares?

Then you need to test the system but since the budget has run out so 
there's no money for same ... and at this stage the bureaucracy 
decides to do some market research that should have been done before 
the system was specced, because the expected flood of clients hasn't 
happened ... but what the heck ... you get the picture.

Hey Man ... we're in production.

Same system works in any bureaucracy - public or private ... and is 
the reason for the plethora of IT white elephants and disasters that 
we observe out in the wild.

Gotta love it ...


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