Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Someone has to be accountable for this

234 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 6 7 8 9 10 Newer→ Last

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Nah, doesn't really matter. It'll be inside the firewall and NATed for the most part. Even if they want the Internet self-service gateway to be IPv6, that'll be possible with a reverse proxy (or in the presentation layer).

    Also, changing shouldn't affect anything other than the internet server, which ought to be swappable. Famous last words, though.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    I just don't get the deafening silence from almost all quarters.

    The reason I think is, that notwithstanding the comments on this thread.... no one is surprised.

    I see it clearly now, the savings of a Super city only made sense only if you hid the true cost of making it happen.

    That was always the strategy (as far as strategy projected beyond cock-up).

    The reform was also argued for using errant nonsense, such as 'we need one Council in order to compete with the large cities of Australia'. Ignoring the fact that NZ's councils were already huge by Australian, UK and US standards. Just try telling someone that the population of Sydney City Council is about 110,000 people, that the population of Perth City Council is about 15,000 people, or that there are around 28 councils in Melbourne, plus a State government with an upper and lower house! We seem to have forgotten that the purpose of local government was to be, you know, local!

    There was never any intention of allowing facts to get in the way of this argument.

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    They're always the ones that come back and bite you :-D

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2933 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That is correct on the IPV6 Russell. When the original RFP document came out (around Nov/Dec 09) IPV6 was out of scope but PCI compliance (ACC was still smarting from losing theirs due to their parking machines being compromised) was originally in scope.

    The network design included *27* internal firewalls in the end as ATA/ACC staff refused to implement an new layer 2 network, in parallel, and migrate all legacy orgs to a new IP schema before the cutover. Simple and pragmatic but instead we ended up with costly and complex.

    And yep, the chance to put in a IPV6 compliant network went begging.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Flense in high places...

    We seem to have forgotten that the purpose of local government was to be, you know, local!

    I think they follow the modern interpretation of local or Lo-Cal - they are certainly stripping the fat out of this whale-of-a-city - while someone else sups the cream, I don't doubt...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Frédéric Bastiat,

    Mr Brown clearly has cognitive difficulty in working out the difference between transition costs (the costs to keep the door open on day 1) and other longer term costs.

    The 10 year costs outlined in the Herald story cannot be transitional. The fact that they will be going into the long term plan is a sort of a give away that they are not transition costs.

    Mr Brown runs a shock horror line at the costs – heads must roll.

    Unfortunately Mr Brown is too quick to the guillotine.

    Local Government in the region used to spend around NZ$90million per annum on IT anyway. 90 x 10 is what?

    Yes big numbers probably tough to comprehend.

    Is Mr Brown claiming that none of the existing IT would have needed replacement or upgrading over the next 10 years?

    It does seem odd that ongoing staff and customer demand for better and better IT and more services over the next 10 years should be in anyway a transition cost.

    I assume that ratepayers will demand more and more online services for example that demand would be present whether one had eight councils or one.

    But I cannot wait for his complaint to the Auditor General. And the witch hunt – who knew what, when, and where.

    On the other hand we could accept what Mayor Brown and Auckland Council CEO McKay are saying – no blow out, no crisis.

    And Mr Ford’s observation that IT spending is ongoing; subject to choices and prioritisation. Mmmm sounds way too grown up.

    Since Jun 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Frédéric Bastiat,

    Yes big numbers probably tough to comprehend.

    Is Mr Brown claiming that none of the existing IT would have needed replacement or upgrading over the next 10 years?

    It does seem odd that ongoing staff and customer demand for better and better IT and more services over the next 10 years should be in anyway a transition cost.

    My view -- and it is informed by the views of people with direct knowledge of this system -- is that decisions were taken that have exposed Auckland ratepayers to huge, unnecessary and unbudgeted costs.

    Also, that poor technical decisions have been taken, in part because constituent councils' IT managers were ignored. A number of these have been covered in this discussion -- again, by people with direct knowledge of the process.

    The implications of the decision to build an entirely new system have been signalled in the massive difference in the cost of transitional systems between the one managed by the ATA ($56 million) and Auckland Transport ($2.2 million). And no, the Auckland Transport COO is not small. It accounts for two thirds of rates revenue.

    And yes, at the very least, I regard any spending to get the Auckland Council to the point where it can send out rates bills, for example, as transitional. By the most conservative measure, the costs are several times those presented by Rodney Hide last year. A series of IT professionals in this thread have expressed shock at the figures.

    I was told last year that:

    - Cabinet and Internal Affairs were alarmed at the costs being generated by ATA decisions.

    - That there was a deliberate effort to bury some of those costs until after a council was elected, thus making the costs the responsibility of the new council.

    - The ATA was being aggressively secretive about these issues when approached by journalists.

    Given that this story involves $300 million in unbudgeted costs to ratepayers, I am inclined to believe that the warnings I heard last year were correct. And that we were lied to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Looks like the opposition have finally picked up the scent.

    And ComputerWorld's Darren Greenwood is on the case too. For good measure, he's name-checked PAS.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Frédéric Bastiat,

    Good afternoon Frédéric Bastiat,

    the unbudgeted cost will come from where?

    Just deal with this years, $43.2 Mill, next years, $86.5 Mill and the following years $77.8 Mill.

    Thanks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Now you've done it Russell...
    stirring up the undead... sequestered beneath the Institute for Liberal Values, Frédéric Bastiat stirs - old articles are dug up:

    I think what Fred was trying to say up thread is:

    That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen
    By Frédéric Bastiat
    In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause - it is seen. The others unfold in succession - they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference - the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, - at the risk of a small present evil.

    or something like that....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Frédéric Bastiat,

    Russel

    “that poor technical decisions have been taken, in part because constituent councils’ IT managers were ignored. A number of these have been covered in this discussion – again, by people with direct knowledge of the process”


    Well that’s your simple assertion. I assume some of these people were not retained by the Auckland Council. I assume other experts (who got the jobs) disagree.

    It’s not unusual for techies to disagree. That happens all the time. IT like life is full of choices. Two dogs fight over a bone – so what.

    A minimalist approach was taken by the ATA, I guess from a range of IT options from minimalist to big bang. The longer term upgrade of IT was rightly left to the new Council.

    Ongoing upgrade of the Auckland Council’s IT cannot be a transition cost.

    Over the next 10yrs the Auckland Council and it’s CCOs will have a turnover of in excess of NZ$40 billion. It’s a seriously large complex organisation. One would expect its IT spend to be in proportion. At even the proposed under NZ$500million spend that is not wildly out of proportion. And all of this when staff and customers are expecting more and more IT services many of which will have to be online.

    And you still cannot get away from the fact that the existing TLA spend over the same period (assuming previous trends continued) would have been around or in excess of NZ$900 million.

    Looks more of a beat up than a story.

    Since Jun 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Frédéric Bastiat,

    I assume other experts (who got the jobs) disagree.

    Wrong. The decisions were made by consultants and ATA, not by former CIOs who subsequently got Council jobs. Nice try though.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Frédéric Bastiat stirs –

    Ah, a Trustafarian.
    Don’t you just love the self entitlement of them?
    I believe our Oily friend is of that ilk

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Frédéric Bastiat,

    that is not wildly out of proportion. And all of this when staff and customers are expecting more and more IT services many of which will have to be online.

    I just don't see if that the expectations of staff and customers are driving the IT budget blowout.

    As a ratepayer no one asked me about what I wanted and no one seems to have had much regard to council staff.

    IMHO cost overruns in pursuit of the enhanced customer experience is code for consultants swilling as long and as hard as they can whilst their snouts are in the public/ratepayer funded trough.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    May I suggest a new political movement, 'The New Luddites"
    I mean. How much new stuff do we need? why do we need this "Growth" (back in my day we had those sort of thing removed on the National Health you know) Like, you know I can program my PVR and choose what music I want to listen to over the whole house audio system from my mobile phone and we need GROWTH ?

    New Luddites say Enough is Enough!!!

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to DexterX,

    IMHO cost overruns in pursuit of the enhanced customer experience is code for consultants swilling as long and as hard as they can whilst their snouts are in the public/ratepayer funded trough.

    My thoughts exactly. It’s not so much the amount of money involved or the overrun itself, rather it has Jobs For The Good Ol’ Boys Network (TM) written all over it. Or should that be Project for a New Aotearoan Century?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Project for a New Aotearoan Century

    doubleplusgood

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Frédéric Bastiat,

    On the other hand we could accept what Mayor Brown and Auckland Council CEO McKay are saying – no blow out, no crisis.

    Ahh, don't tell me, I know this, you went to the Crosby Textor School for Ambition at any cost?
    A beat up?
    No, that's what we got and are still getting.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    An interesting story by Anthony Doesburg in 2009, shortly after Mike Foley was appointed as the ATA's IS chief:

    The royal commission that dreamed up the new council studied a similar amalgamation in Toronto, where it took 10 years to unify IT systems. A piece of wisdom from the Toronto transition team was the advisability of using one of the merging organisations as the core entity into which the others are absorbed.

    That could be an argument to take the best of existing IT systems and use them as a base for the new city. For core systems, such as those for managing rates collection, payroll, geographic information and licensing and permits, that probably makes sense, so long as they can cope with the Super City's size.

    Naturally, Foley decided to do the exact opposite.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Here's the relevant part of the Royal Commission's report, based on talks with officials in Toronto:

    33.27. City officials expressed the view that it was better and less disruptive to use one organisation as the core entity into which others are absorbed. This insight may be relevant to aspects of the Auckland transition, for example, the proposal that the best of existing IT systems should be used as the base for the Auckland Council system.

    It really does need to be emphasised that Foley ignored both internal and external advice -- and exposed Auckland ratepayers not only to very significant costs, but to a much longer transitional process. It's fairly staggering.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This Computerworld story from last September covers the way the plans inexplicably changed:

    Given the time pressure, the choice of SAP made sense from a cost and complexity perspective, says one source. A limited tender process was then run to select the implementation partner to deliver the ERP solution. A consortium consisting of SAP, Deloitte, Hewlett Packard and Soltius won the tender. But it is what followed that has raised concern among senior IT people within the council.

    Concerned staff say that instead of leveraging existing investment, as outlined earlier, it was decided to build a new SAP system from the ground up, involving extensive use of consultants, which has driven the cost up. They claim this approach does not support the earlier decision to select SAP without a formal tender process – because that decision was based on the intention of leveraging existing systems in order to keep costs and complexity to a minimum.

    So SAP/Deloitte got the job without any competitive tender -- on the basis that existing SAP installations would be leveraged in pursuit of a quicker and cheaper transition -- and then promptly got the golden prize of a greenfields system.

    The comments under the story are worth reading too. The more I know about this, the more troubled I am by it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    FFS, I’m still perfectly happy with cock-up trumping conspiracy but damn… Foley’s birth must have been a hell of ride, what with those clown shoe-ready feet and all. Speechless.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So SAP/Deloitte got the job without any competitive tender – on the basis that existing SAP installations would be leveraged in pursuit of a quicker and cheaper transition – and then promptly got the golden prize of a greenfields system.

    Hi Russell. Not quite correct. When, after realising what some of us had been saying for several months was correct, the ATA came to the realisation (October 09 timeframe) that the Council would need an ERP for day 1, a process started to review if an existing ERP solution in use by one of the councils would be suitable for the basis of the new Council’s ERP environment. This review was done by Deloitte (nothing at all wrong in this) and peer reviewed by EY. (from memory) Additionally, from memory again, there was general support from the CIOs. This was inline with, where possible, leveraging existing council IT investments as part of the merger process. (No different to what a commercial organisation would do)

    The ATA then had a competitive tender for the implementation of SAP, which a consortium led by Deloitte won. The selection was, I believe, made by the steering group which had no CIOs with Local Govt SAP experience on it (ARC, ACC and WCC). Obviously the steering group agreed with Deloitte’s approach of a green field implementation.

    So the bigger issue is one of governance from the ATA and not including subject matter experts on SAP implementations from the councils on the steering group.

    I have been told that there was an architectural assessment made by staff from ACC that was critical to the approach but that this was not provided to the steering group and that ACC managed to avoid releasing to media who made LGOIMA requests for it – using semantics to not release it rather than following the act and the guidelines from the Ombudsmen (If you know what they want, even if they have name wrong or some other detail, and there are no valid reasons not to release it then release it)

    From the Ombudsmen

    Section 12(2) of the OIA (section 10(2) of the LGOIMA) states that a request must be specified with “due particularity”. This means that the person receiving the request must be able to identify the information requested.

    Also, and this was an argument I had with ACC staff, any request you make for info from a council e.g., when is the next rubbish day in my street?, is a LGOIMA request!

    You do not need to use legal language when requesting official information.
    A request does not need to be in writing – you can make requests in person or by the telephone.

    You do not even have to state that your request is being made under the OIA or LGOIMA (although it may be helpful to do so). Any request for information to an organisation covered by the OIA or LGOIMA must be treated as an official information request.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to John Holley,

    ACC managed to avoid releasing to media who made LGOIMA requests for it

    Lodging official information requests about that process of refusal might be interesting.

    Unless elected members were involved it seems unlikely that any "frank advice" exclusions would apply, and a commercial confidentiality defense also seems unlikely to hold up.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Wearing my woolly ER hat...

    For what it is worth, I have put a notice of motion up at the forthcoming Waitemata LB meeting dealing with this issue. I'm not happy at all about this issue, particularly when $300m has to be found from somewhere - it's not an insignificant amount of money. This amount is likely to impact budgets for some time to come and I don't think it fair that the ratepayer should bear the cost without questioning it first.

    Doffing said ER hat...

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 6 7 8 9 10 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.