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back to article Avon & Somerset cop computers titsup?

A South-West Tory MP has well and truly put the cat among the proverbials with a question in the House of Commons about what he claimed is the "collapse of Avon and Somerset police's computer system". Raising the matter last Friday, Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater, claimed that the situation was so dire that 30 Indians …

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Anonymous Coward

SAP and Indians

My previous employer went through a lengthy and expensive SAP implementation. During the integration, the on-site SAP consultants demanded admin privileges to the desktops provided by my employer. I later noticed some unusual traffic on our firewalls and identified that the SAP consultants' desktops were being remotely managed using Webex. Once challenged, the developers acknowledged they had installed the Webex remote desktop client and setup access for some development teams in India - without asking or telling anyone.

Having gone though the business of checking the people entering the site and controlling what they can access, these guys had given admin access to systems within our network (with access to personnel and financial information) to unknown individuals on another continent.

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FAIL

As many as 30 Indians, you say?

30's not that many, and given the work permits take at least 3-4 weeks to arrive, it can't be entirely an unplanned knee-jerk response. And of course they are temporary...visas aren't permanent and the staff will get sent back every 9 months or whatever to ensure they don't become 'permanent' in anyone's eyes.

Is SAP being used for frontline policing and intelligence? Or is it payroll and HR stuff? Think I can probably guess, given what SAP does.

Also - big SAP project takes longer than anticipated....what's the news angle here? Or is the pro-Iraq-war, anti-smoking-ban* MP trying to boost his local profile before the election? May be he should justify his £166,109 expenses bill from last year before offering opinions about value for money.

*according to theyworkforyou

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Silver badge
Pint

Unfair!

"the situation was so dire that 30 Indians have been brought in on temporary visas to try to sort matters out."

They should be required to get their support over the phone like the rest of us. I predict the personal visit by the support team from Mumbai will not improve the situation.

//Just power cycle it, sir. Everything will be fine.

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Flame

"SAP implementation"

Folk with a clue don't really need to read any further after that.

How these folks continue to get away with faith-based software sales is a miracle.

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Happy

There is a reason they call it SAP

I think it has to do with the customer base, and how they are referred to when another one goes in.

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FAIL

There is a reason they call it SAP

SLOW AND PAINFUL*

* The initial configuring

* The work-arounds

* Fixing the bugs

* Using it once it is up and "working"

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FAIL

Economies of scale?

Maintenance increases as the square of the system size.

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private eye had the....

...story on "Mrs" Colin Port and her involvement in the procurement months ago - finally (as always) the mainstream catches up with PE

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Unhappy

Liddle Granger's been campaigning on this for ages

He's just got to the point where he has brought it up in Parliament. 'Bout time.

Shame he's not so committed to keeping real work rather than just tourism in Somerset.

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N2

Changing to SAP

Usually means that everythings fucked up because the suits that conduct the analysis dont really understand fully how the business works

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Black Helicopters

Somerset policing

"...and a suggestion that Avon and Somerset may have to cut back on the number of police stations in the region in order to gain maximum benefit from \"streamlining\"."

OK, we've still got a police station in Minehead, but you will be hard pressed to find any police in the vicinity. Even the "Community Support Officers" (who do not even have the power of traffic wardens) appear to avoid it.

So they might as well shut it. Since the magistrates court was closed down (it shared the same building), it's been resembling the never-let business units built by the local council a few years ago anyway.

Please, anybody who has a use for all these empty places get in touch. The town is beginning to look empty!

Is it legal for the town to opt out of the police precept? I'm sure that the hypothecated council tax that gets collected would pay for more police than we see. Or maybe the town can appoint a sherrif with deputizing powers. Currently, all the money for policing appears to be spent in Bristol.

I'm off to my bunker on Exmoor. Without Police, we'll be over-run with all of the visiting druggies looking for money. I'll be OK, I'll just find some deer or a pony or two for food ; )

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FAIL

Local jobs!!

I thought I would be able to get some work close to home as part of Somerset One, but IBM just put all the servers in Warwick. So much for local commitment.

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Alert

Nothing new

Mr Liddell-Grainger has been blogging about this particular case for some years - if I'm not mistaken, it started back in 2007, the same time as our SAP project. He is right to raise questions about the matter, as from comments made by various senior people associated with the South West One project, it would seem appropriate to ask if any civil servants benefitted financially. Certainly someone has.

The actual details of the agreement are of course not available for public view, but most of the figures quoted for savings simply do not add up, and the costs have spiralled way out of control. We actually managed to get our SAP project working last last year - no thanks to the consultants working on the project, but down to sheer hard bloody work by the members of our project team. It still isn't right yet, but we are slowly fixing all the issues thanks to everyone's patience and commitment.

I too am deeply concerned about the security aspects of the various implementations - the consultants seem to take the view that they own everything and expect to be able to gain full admin access without so much as a "by your leave" - but woe betide anyone that dares to question what they are doing. SAP actually have specific processes and procedures that ALL consultants are supposed to follow - yet it is clear that few if any know about these and none seem to follow them.

What is worse is the very heavy reliance on people from the sub continent. These individuals are paid very highly by their standards, rather less by ours - but in most cases, they have at best limited experience of the system and all it's fads and fancies. I regularly see requests on LinkedIn from some of these individuals asking the best way to get an SAP consultancy role and most of them are straight out of college with a BSc that still has wet ink.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the SAP business model is not based upon sellingt the software or licences, but upon the constant demand they generate for consultants. Andy anyone that thinks that it will be different for them is living in cloud cuckcucksheim.

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It Doesn't Make Sense..

Or rather, it *didn't* make sense until the word 'SAP' came. Gives me the shakes just thinking about it.

For any members of the Avon and Somerset police IT body behind all this, here's a handy hint: Buy a proper database and and spend the cash you saved on writing some business logic that actually works *for you* rather than spend a fortune on something that not only makes you jump through hoops but makes it damn near impossible to invoice for those hoops in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting

Funny that the Avon & Somerset plod would want to do a joint venture with their local authorities. When I worked for another county council not so very far from Somersetshire, our local plod had historically used the county's IT infrastructure for back-office stuff, but as soon as it was economically viable to do it themselves (yes, this twenty years ago I'm talking about) we didn't see them for dust!

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Alert

"30 Indians have been brought in"

I guess that will get more done than bringing 30 chiefs in.

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We have also asked IBM for comment on this matter, but at time of writing there has been no response

dude, their email's totally down!

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Happy

"there has been no response"

Not even to say "This Page UnIntentionally Blank" ???

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FAIL

Totally SAP'd

AC as I'm a 'victim' of this particular abysmal SAP implementation, being one of the poor sods at the front end of the system, I can say that SAP doesn't work for us - we work for it. Far from streamlining processes, it has made them more complicated and less efficient. Workload has increased not decreased. For several months, SAP couldn't even do the basics like order goods or pay suppliers. The interface with schools was only one-way so schools had no budgeting information for almost 6 months.

I'm sure SAP is great if your organisation fits the SAP model, if you are a manufacturer or distributor but it really isn't designed for local government, you can't find a placement for a child/vulnerable adult with complex needs in a shopping cart in SAP.

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FAIL

Response time

3-4 weeks to get the visa to allow the Indian's to come over to do the Police work.

So that's bettered the force's average response time!

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Bronze badge
Coat

I'm not bothered so much by the 30 Indians

... than I am by the cowboys who came up with this in the first place

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Anonymous Coward

'We should be catching criminals not spending hours on a computer'

http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news/catching-criminals-spending-hours-says-detective/article-1745886-detail/article.html

"I don't think there is anyone in the force who has used SAP and is happy with it. We just want to get rid of it; it's an absolute nonsense.

"The whole point of it was to reduce admin but it's done the opposite. I've been to police stations and heard people swearing who I had never heard swearing before."

22nd Jan, Western Daily Press/Evening Post

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