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back to article MPs bitchslap MoD mega-IT architecture project

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, famous for its stinging attacks on expensive government technology projects, has issued some relatively mild criticism of the ongoing Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) mega-IT push at the Ministry of Defence. The parliamentary report, now available to read online (pdf), offers …

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Coat

DII/Fail!

Having worked on this project prior to it going live the only surprising element of this article is that it's not in flames and plummeting already!!!!!

For those of you working on the SPOC, getcha coats!

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Stop

150,000 terminals?

What, green screens or something?

In this day and age, surely you'd get into the thing (whatever it does) by some sort of thin client from the PC already on your desk? Why does any new system need "terminals"?

Or is this just am excuse to buy 150,000 new PCs??

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Surely "pick any one"

with EDS.

And then take a 50-50 chance that you don't even get that one.

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EDS vs usual Defense suspects

If the MOD thinks EDS is OK, what does this say about their usual suppliers?

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Black Helicopters

re: If the MOD thinks EDS is OK, what does this say about their usual suppliers?

I thought EDS were one of the MoD's usual suppliers - they certainly were making rubbish systems for the MoD over a decade ago

Of course you only look at the history of MoD Procurement over the last 50 years to realise there is something fundamentally wrong in the whole process - mainly no one is held accountable and everyone is more worried about being held responsible for problems than actually doing the job

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Unhappy

EDS again...

How does a company that fouls things up so often keep getting government contracts?

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Pirate

Pfft...

@Martin re: "terminals" - Yes, they're PCs.

For those of us "lucky" enough to have had dealings with this venture, you only need look at the members of the ATLAS consortium to know that this has clusterfuck written all over it: EDS, Fujitsu, General Dynamics, EADS and LogicaCMG... Sure, they'll all play nice together...

My personal view is that EDS in particular (as prime) entered into this with a "less risk averse" (to use the vernacular) approach, treating the MoD as it might a large corporate. Mistake. The MoD is a curious animal and despite NuLabour wishing it were otherwise, is still run by the "Old Boys Network".

I'm also surprised that there's not been a bigger, uglier, more public backlash to the state it's currently in.

Still, it could be worse, it be NHS "Connecting for Health"...

R.

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Coat

mmmmmm Gravy Train

I have been contracting on the DII roll out for nearly 3 years now and the view of myself and most of the other contractors here is that the longer it takes the better !!

i only came in for 3 months and i have been told i am looking at another 2 recession proof years long live Atlas we say

mines the one with the keys to the new Merc in the pocket

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Unhappy

Idiot contractor!

"I have been contracting on the DII roll out for nearly 3 years now and the view of myself and most of the other contractors here is that the longer it takes the better !!

i only came in for 3 months and i have been told i am looking at another 2 recession proof years long live Atlas we say

mines the one with the keys to the new Merc in the pocket"

That's great, people like you paste a great image for the contracting sector! You plank!

I hope you get your contract terminated.

S.

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Unhappy

Accountability ? Nah !....

"How does a company that fouls things up so often keep getting government contracts?"

Easy ! EDS get the contracts because they continually take the heat for cock-ups thereby diverting the attention away from Civil Servants. In turn the Civil Servants know they can blame EDS if anything goes wrong - thereby absolving themselevs of any responsibility ! And because EDS takes the heat every time - guess what, they get the next contract ! The Civil Servants are not accountable for their decisions.

Now if you made the Civil Servants accountable for the success (or failure!) of the projects you'd suddenly see EDS either delivering or losing every contract in sight (accompanied by a load of civil servants who got fired as well)....but it's Government..so it'll never happen.

I love being a tax payer me <sigh>

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Anonymous Coward

Sometimes ...

... organisations like EDS (express an interest - I joined them last year) are the only ones foolish enough to actually bid for govt projects.

And sometimes the problems are not the fault of the implementer (but then I would say that wouldn't I)!

You see, I am currently implementing a system for a govt department where there is an immovable go-live date despite the requirements being changed on a regular basis; or at least with the client trying to change the requirements when they realise that what they asked for isn't actually what they wanted! I've had similar experiences with the public sector in previous companies.

Oh, and before everyone assumes that it's always the govt I have also implemented systems in the private sector where senior managers just assumed that every time they had a "good idea" we could just completely change the configuration immediately. No wonder there were problems when it went live. But there again, private sector cock-ups don't tend to be reported, or even admitted!

All I ever ask is a set of agreed requirements! Why do I seldom get them???

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Dead Vulture

Complete Cockup

2 years late is nearer and still slipping sideways. Since the HP takeover there have been continual and ongoing redundancies so the slippage will only get worse. Many of the applications developed by departments for specific purposes won't run on DII(F) and the MoD is now saying there's no money to fund residual services. EDS is a shambolic joke of a company and the mess they're making is pathetic. Often the service being offered by DII(F) is worse than the service being replaced. Thank the gods I've been made redundant - I can't wait to get out.

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Farce

The whole project is a farce. The end result will be a 5bn+ email system. Sure, it will run Office apps but for any serious work, there will be parallel systems developed with local administrators rather than the remote administration teams that ATLAS want to deploy. Every desktop will have at least two workstations.

EDS get the contracts because the put together very large case studies and the MoD love paperwork. EDS gets contracts because they make deals with Government (Re: Tax office) for contracts. EDS gets contracts because 'It's better the devil you know'

ATLAS were 'suprised' by the level of change to the project. Really? Both EDS and Fujitsu have provided services to MoD and should have more of a clue. The reason they don't is that the upper management do not communicate with the staff, the staff know that there would be a lot more change if the sytems were fully utilised. The systems controlled by EDS and Fujitsu are, primarily email networks. That was not their initial intention but that's how they are used now. They were originally installed to be complete Office Automation systems, what tends to happen now is the locally controlled system with all the gucci tools is used to produce material which is the imported to the wider networks and emailed to the recipient.

I'm sure someone high up in the MoD procurement chain is in for a lovely directorship. The question is, was it worth 5bn+ and all that disruption?

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