Monday, 25 May 2009

Auckland Super City IT Costing

These two statements seem well out of step.
Merging council IT systems to create an Auckland "supercity" will cost
the best part of $200 million and could take eight years to complete,
according to consultancy firm Deloitte.

The [total] estimated integration costs have been assessed
to range in total between $120 million and $240 million over a
four-year implementation time frame from the Royal Commission Report
Did the Royal Commission ignore the costs of systems? Are IT
organisations and consultants taking the opportunity of change to gold-plate systems or
include the cost of deferred maintenance and upgrades?
While each organisation might have a different system for rating, dog licences etc., the business functions that these systems support are the same before and after implementation of the super city. The business of the new Auckland Council is an amalgamation and hopefully a slimming of the business of the existing authorities. While the changes for IT are not trivial, I suggest that the line by line examination of budgets does not stop at central government and someone asks hard questions along the lines of "why can't one of the  existing finance sytems, dog licencing systems etc be scaled up to cater for the increased population?".

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Heading into the clouds

I am taking my first steps into the Intalio Cloud. As an individual and for my small business, I like the concepts of cloud computing and use the Google family of services as part of my normal daily operation. This started as a Google Doc. Having an interest in the use of BPMS to formalise operations within and between organisations, I have been following the Intalio BPMS offering for some time and, despite some ragged edges, I find it a good approach.

Intalio Cloud is an interesting prospect. Where do you place it in the taxonomy of the cloud? Is it providing storage, compute power, platform, value added services ... ? Not only all of the above but apparently a range of hardware and services so that you can be your own cloud provider. An interesting scalability equation, I can operate somewhere in a blackbox datacentre with 2 users for free ; expand into a productive organisation at $x per user per month; form my own cloud service datacentre (using surplus power and cooling capacity of NZ South Island) all without changing the operational business processes.

So I will be doing a bit of tyre kicking and a much thinking about the security and other risks associated with putting the fundamentals of business operation out into the cloud. One problem with adopting a business solution in the cloud is that you may not pay much attention to what is going on to give you the results. You may trust that availability of the underlying components in the black-box data centre will be sufficient for your needs as you grow, and that your operation is secure. That last one is a bit problematic ... out of the box Intalio has you logging on with userid/password across http rather than use encryption (even https would be a great advance).