Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

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
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Littering shows disregard for surroundings Numbers tell a sad story about the disregard many Hoosiers have for their surroundings. Too many in Indiana don't care enough about the environment to prevent them from cluttering the countryside by carelessly tossing litter along the side of roadway

    April 18, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 18, 2014

  • PETERS: Grizzly bear may help human medicine I've gained 5 pounds since last summer. My body mass index (BMI) is still fine, but I need to stop gaining to keep it that way. Grizzly bears put my weight gain to shame. In the late summer, they eat some 50,000 calories per day and gain more than 1

    April 18, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Lawmakers fail to act on the issue After several years of fretting over Indiana's ongoing methamphetamine problem, the Indiana General Assembly continues to struggle for a solution. The issue seems to come up every session, given that Indiana leader the nation in meth lab seizures. Bu

    April 17, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Feelings of the flowers I took one of those fun tests on Facebook to see what kind of flower I am and lo and behold, it said I was an orchid! That is so wrong because I have always thought I was the exact opposite of an orchid. I'd characterize myself as a daisy. You know,

    April 17, 2014

  • HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: there are many reas

    April 17, 2014

  • PARKER: It's time to take a joke, America In selecting Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as host of the "Late Show," CBS has waged war on America's Heartland -- or so proclaims that Palm Beach font of heartland mirth, Rush Limbaugh. Don't you believe it, Heartlanders. But wait, ther

    April 16, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Constitutional convention won't work today There seems to be a growing idea that we need a Constitutional convention. That, of course, is the other way to change the Constitution. Amendments have been used 27 times to make changes, ranging from limiting the president's term of office to the d

    April 16, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Forum about adding answers, subtracting questions A week from tonight, Logansport residents and those outside Logansport who purchase electricity from the Logansport Municipal Utilities will have a chance to find out some things for themselves. A free forum at McHale Performing Arts Center will feat

    April 16, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: The people are losing control of its government The people are losing control of government President Obama and progressive Democrats and Republicans are changing the landscape of our country by bypassing our Constitution and what our forefathers fought and gave their lives for. Their philosophy c

    April 16, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
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.