The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Critics of OSS, look over there!

This weekend saw Eric Ripper copping flak in the papers over the Office of Shared Services, an overly-ambitious project whereby the many arms of the State bureaucracy will unify business functions like payroll in one database, using Oracle software set up by ASG. Apparently, it’s costing more than expected, yet again.

To use corporate-IT speak, this is Enterprise Resource Planning, and it’s one of the juiciest markets in the industry on account of there always being messy problems requiring specialist knowledge to fix. While cost blowouts are no reason for praise, the journalists and the Liberals who’ve launched this criticism ought to check out the real world, where they’d find the OSS budget but a minnow surrounded by much bigger fish.

Like the HP OpenView deployment I’ve heard about which started in the local IT service desk of a multinational firm, only to be haphazardly applied across the entire business, with attendant stuff-ups and cost blowouts. Or the war stories scattered around the Internet from bottom-rung sysadmins stuck within hundred-million-dollar borked deployments of SAP. Or … well, you get the idea.

  1. Hourann,

    At a former workplace (which shall remain unnamed), I had _lots of fun_ trying to manage MFG/Pro, JD Edwards and Nexus…scratch that – even with sarcasm it was a complete Charlie Foxtrot :-P

    The one glimmer of joy was when I discovered the ERP Graveyard ( – it’s kinda interesting to see just how many products have entered this space. Almost exclusively, the marketing strategy for any ERP product is “grow big enough, fast enough that one of the big boys notices and decides to acquire us, then – PROFIT!” Except, when you don’t get noticed. Hence the graveyard :-)


  2. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if anyone is capable of writing easy-to-integrate enterprise software … but then, I guess that’d kill off prospects for contracting revenue. And the business model you describe sounds very Web 2.0!

  3. [...] the normal guff about “focussing on the future” and “look! wasteful spending, e.g. OSS!” … I fail to see any significant policy difference in the Liberal Party. And with [...]

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