Novopay? Chickenfeed compared to Qld Health project

This week’s Queensland Health billion dollar payroll system bungle makes NovoPay fiasco seem trivial:

IBM has found to have acted unethically during a bid to win work developing a new payroll application for the Australian state of Queensland’s Department of Health, but has not been held directly or solely responsible for the $AUD1bn blowout in costs on the project.

IBM’s been under the microscope for its role in this project because it started life in 2007 as a $6m job. That became $27m and has now reached over a billion dollars, because the application is a dud: staff have been overpaid, underpaid, forced to repay money and sometimes not paid at all. With the health sector having a colossal and unionised workforce, those stories and the blowouts became political dynamite. 

That the only way to get the application working was to throw people at it – as of May 2012 1,010 people worked with the app and handled 92,000 forms a fortnight – meant the system had increased costs instead of producing savings.

Worst of all, despite the mess Queensland’s government decided not to pursue IBM for damages, a scandal that meant when a new government formed an inquiry into the matter was a fine idea from both governance and political perspectives.

That inquiry’s final report (PDF)emerged today and is not pretty reading for IBM or the State of Queensland.

Sometimes out problems seem so much bigger than they really are.

 


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