Pharos-Tribune

Columns

November 26, 2013

MARCUS: Confusion in world of computers

It was not surprising to see the confusion and attacks generated by the federal govern-ment’s effort to make the purchase of health insurance easier. We have seen it before. In business, universities, governments at all levels, new computer applications fail before they succeed.

Generally, there is nothing wrong with the computers. They work. The problems most often arise with the people who design and write the complex programs needed to run the machines. This work often involves innocents who think they know what they need and experienced skeptics who know how difficult it is to integrate diverse systems and objectives.

Hoosiers, in particular, should understand these problems. It was our Governor, Mitch Daniels, who brought in IBM to design and implement a new computer system for our welfare programs in 2006. Something went wrong.

Perhaps our people failed to make clear Indiana’s needs to the IBM folks. Or maybe the problems were too complex for the team IBM assigned to the tasks. Whatever the cause, those Hoosiers on public assistance and the employees who worked with them were not well-served by the new system.

Of course, neither the Daniels administration nor IBM could be at fault. The administration was known for its sharp-minded, analytical approach to all matters. And IBM …. What can be said about the most famous and experienced computer company in the world?

Yet, somehow, something did go wrong. This marriage built upon the best intentions, ended in divorce court in 2009, with the state suing IBM for $150 million. That was a modest demand considering the state had already paid $437 million to IBM for its failing effort.

Naturally, IBM counter-sued for $113 million for breach of contract. No alienation of affections was charged, nor did anyone name a guilty third party.

The state kept $12 million in equipment for which IBM wanted payment. Apparently they were not wedding gifts. The judge also ordered the state to pay IBM another $40 million for the break up.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • KITCHELL: Quality of life and leaders both matter It was with some astonishment and much disappointment I read in the Aug. 5 edition of the Pharos-Tribune that one of our local city councilmen was quoted as saying that previous efforts in Logansport to use Tax Increment Financing money for quality o

    August 20, 2014

  • RAMPELL: Here comes Entrepreneur Barbie WASHINGTON — Lego’s groundbreaking female-scientists set sold out almost immediately after it was released this month. But never fear, fans of feminist toys: A new Barbie doll, now in stock, is also shattering the plastic ceiling.Yes, that swan-necke

    August 20, 2014

  • MARCUS: Hoosier workers not gaining on the nation A few readers of the South Bend newspaper have sent emails complaining that either they do not understand my columns or that I waste their time by not sticking to the facts. That I include some of my conclusions from the data seems to be an irritant.

    August 19, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Stock market guru will work for food At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion dollars. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has becom

    August 19, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Craft brewers and vintners return to fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week. When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putt

    August 18, 2014

  • LYONS: Climate change deniers resort to attacks Recently a friend posted a video on Facebook that he asserted would demolish the Godless theory of evolution. On it, a fellow sitting in a pickup and wearing a backward baseball cap smugly explained that Darwinian evolution contradicts the Second Law

    August 18, 2014

  • KNISELY: Heading back to school It never ceases to amaze me the wildly different views my nieces have of getting ready to go back to school and actually going back to school every year. As school time approaches, they are ecstatic about all the stuff they get to do. One of those th

    August 17, 2014

  • Stu Engle P-T columnist sig ENGLE: Motivation that stays year round Every year I hear from students, “I will do better in school when I get paid for it.”My response, “What you are learning today will determine your future pay.”The mind-set for some teens exists in short-term benefits. They live in the here-and-now. A

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • STANCZYKIEWICZ: Mental health and suicide Terre Haute native Tommy John understands all too well how the pain of depression can lead a talented entertainer like Robin Williams to commit suicide.Like Williams, John achieved national fame, posting 288 victories as a Major League Baseball pitch

    August 17, 2014

  • CEPEDA: The matter with class culture ”In every walk of life, there are senseless rules, payoffs and shakedowns, quirks, unjust rituals,” explains Jerene Johnston, the matriarch of the privileged Southern family so deliciously skewered in Wilton Barnhardt’s irresistible novel “Lookaway,

    August 17, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.