Oracle America Inc. is being sued by the state of Oregon for a dysfunctional Obamacare website intended to rollout their state health care plan, Cover Oregon, over the internet to its citizens.
According to the suit, Oracle’s work, which they were paid $240.3 million for, was “abysmal” and the system never worked. Oracle on the other hand believes that it is the state that could not manage a complex IT project that is to blame.
It is quite difficult to believe that a multibillion dollar software giant, revered for its solutions, existing in almost every functional country imaginable would falter on such a massive project. Each employee and project manager employed at a software company sits there because they have a proven track record of handling complex projects and have probably demonstrated this a few times over.
Should we not turn our attention to employees in government offices however, who may or may not be trained to process and deliver specific technical requirements? At every change of office or new election we have “new management” that comes straight out of managing the city’s sewers or planning cultural events, suddenly tasked with briefing and managing another area of “expertise”.
This is not an American problem but exists everywhere. In a Democratic system like South Africa, a Minister of Transport can become the Minister of Home Affairs or Minister of Health in the next election.
Should we not stop to ask ourselves how competent and trained each government employee is with handling complex IT projects such as the Obamacare website? Sure, there are external contractors and services that are hired but how well can these processes be managed in the midst of an inconsistent workforce where management always changes?
I am more inclined to believe that Oracle may have required a certain level of competency from state offices that they did not receive. While this may not have been intentional from the State’s side, there is no use squeezing an orange to get apple juice.
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