Think your IT project is a nightmare? Check these out and you'll feel better

Pro tip: You know there's a problem when all your users show up for work wearing red

There are many ways to gauge satisfaction with a new computer system, but when the people who have to use it show up for work wearing red and declare it "Code Red" day, you probably don't need to bother with a survey.

That's exactly what's scheduled to happen this Thursday in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, where government workers plan to protest the one-year anniversary of a controversial new computer system.

Ontario's Social Assistance Management System (SAMS), installed a year ago this week by the province's Ministry of Community and Social Services, was supposed be a more efficient replacement for its outdated case management system.

It hasn't quite turned out that way.

Numerous bugs have plagued the system, lengthening rather than shortening many work flows. It now takes longer for people to qualify for social assistance than it did before, and some $20 million in erroneous payments have apparently been sent out.

The cost of the system, meanwhile, has reportedly increased from $240 million to $294 million as the province struggled to make it workable.

"Code Red for SAMS" day was organized by two employee unions, according to Bill Atanas, director of the Business Transformation Team for Hamilton's Community and Emergency Services Department. The kicker is that this will actually be the second such protest day to take place.

"Since implementation, there have been significant impacts to staff, clients, community partners and internal operations," Atanas said via e-mail. "Although the turmoil of the initial months when SAMS launched has subsided to some extent, staff frustrations continue with navigating the system."

Tales of frustration are plentiful in the tech industry, of course, but the past week or two have been particularly fruitful.

Here's another: Connecticut's Department of Motor Vehicles installed a new computer system earlier this year with the explicit goal of shortening wait times at DMV offices.

Want to guess what really happened? That's right: Wait times actually got longer. Instead of half an hour, some patrons have had to wait as long as three hours, according to a CBS report on Monday.

South Carolina's Department of Social Services, meanwhile, is looking at an 18-year delay -- that's right, 18 years -- for a system to track deadbeat parents, according to a report Friday.

The state is said to have had to pay more than $120 million in fines for blowing its extended 1997 deadline for complying with a 1988 federal law requiring such systems. Along the way, much like the state of Michigan, it's been embroiled in litigation with vendors including HP.

The system is now expected to go live in October 2019.

Similar delays and woes now reportedly beset the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems" (MIDAS) project, which was envisioned a decade ago and is reportedly now $140 million over budget, two years overdue and only 20 percent operational.

Then, too, there's the ongoing saga surrounding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' system, which is reportedly denying healthcare to some 29,000 or so combat vets.

Finally, you've got to feel for those involved in the launch of National Health Services Scotland's shiny new system late last month. The technology was reportedly already two years late and £41.6m over budget. Launch day finally arrived, and what happens? It crashes, forcing staff back to pen and paper.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?