Enterprise System Spectator blog: ERP and enterprise system vendor evaluation, selection, and implementation.

The Enterprise System Spectator

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Philly pulls plug on failed Oracle project

For Oracle, Philadelphia is not the city of brotherly love these days. The fifth largest municipality in the U.S. has just killed a project to implement Oracle applications in the city's water department. Furthermore, Oracle has agreed to forgive or pay back a whopping $6.9 million in fees.

The Oracle project was put on hold in October 2005, after the city had spent $18 million with nothing to show for its time and effort. In its place, the city has launched a new project to implement Basis2, a utility billing system from Prophecy International Pty., an Oracle business partner in Australia. The new system will run on an Oracle database and will interface with Oracle E-Business Suite products that the city runs for financial applications. Oracle itself will play no role in the new project.

What went wrong?
There are several hints in a Computerworld story on the situation, concerning the root causes of failure in Philadelphia.

First, it appears that the city did not appreciate the magnitude and difficulty of managing a project of this size, at first putting it entirely under the direction of the users. In light of the fact that their IT experience was limited to a legacy application using punched cards (!), one assumes they were ill-equipped to manage an Oracle implementation.

In contrast, the new project is being jointly managed by the users and the city's IT group. The city's new CIO, Terry Phillis says, "I know it's second-guessing, but the city suffered somewhat by not maturing the organization to care for a project like this." Under the joint-responsibility arrangement for the Basis2 project, he said "We're getting along terrifically. We're singing 'Kumbaya' -- not well, but we're singing it."

Second, the original project included quite a bit of custom software development. Custom development greatly increases the risk in an implementation, especially a large project such as this one, magnifying any deficiencies in project management. In contrast, implementation of Basis2 will require no customization. One wonders why the city didn't try harder in the beginning to find a system that better fit its requirements.

If these are the root problems, then Oracle shouldn't be blamed entirely for the failure, although a give-back of nearly $7 million suggests that Oracle made its own mistakes on the engagement. One suspects that the city had some strong terms and conditions in place for Oracle's performance. If so, at least the city did one thing right.

Related posts
Project management: the missing discipline

by Frank Scavo, 1/16/2007 07:01:00 AM | permalink | e-mail this!

Subscribe!

 Reader Comments:

Post a Comment
 

Links to this post:


 

Powered by Blogger

(c) 2002-2014, Frank Scavo.

Independent analysis of issues and trends in enterprise applications software and the strengths, weaknesses, advantages, and disadvantages of the vendors that provide them.

About the Enterprise System Spectator.

Frank Scavo Send tips, rumors, gossip, and feedback to Frank Scavo at .

I'm interested in hearing about best practices, lessons learned, horror stories, and case studies of success or failure.

Selecting a new enterprise system can be a difficult decision. My consulting firm, Strativa, offers assistance that is independent and unbiased. For information on how we can help your organization make and carry out these decisions, write to me.

For reprint or distribution rights for content published on the Spectator, please contact me.


Go to latest postings

Custom Search

Join over 1,700 subscribers on the Spectator email list!
Max. 1-2 times/month.
Easy one-click to unsubscribe anytime.

Follow me on Twitter
My RSS feed

AddThis Feed Button


Computer Economics
ERP Support Staffing Ratios
Outsourcing Statistics
IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks
IT Staffing Ratios
IT Management Best Practices
Worldwide Technology Trends
IT Salary Report
IT Help Desk/Service Desk Management

Get these headlines on your site, free!


Awards

2013 Best ERP Writer - Winner

Alltop. We're kind of a big deal.
 
Constant Contact 2010 All Star Technobabble Top 100 Analyst Blogs


Blog Roll and Favorite Sites
Strativa: ERP software vendor evaluation, selection, and implementation consultants, California
StreetWolf: Digital creative studio specializing in web, mobile and social applications
Vinnie Mirchandani: The Deal Architect
Oliver Marks' Enterprise 2.0 Blog
Si Chen's Open Source Strategies
diginomica
CISO Handbook


Spectator Archives
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
September 2012
October 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
September 2013
October 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
Latest postings