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Oregon Withholding $25.6M From Oracle Over Health Website Woes

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.

Oracle 132

itwbennett writes "Oregon is holding back $25.6 million in payments from Oracle (out of some $69.5 million Oracle claims it is owed) over work the vendor did on the state's troubled health care exchange website. The site was supposed to go live on Oct. 1 but its launch has been marred by a slew of bugs and it is not yet fully functional. This week, Cover Oregon said it had reached an agreement with Oracle laying out 'an orderly transition of technology development services, and protects current and future Cover Oregon enrollees,' according to a statement. Oregon officials reached the deal with Oracle after the company reportedly threatened to pull all of its workers off the project and essentially walk away."

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Good if they succeed. (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 7 months ago | (#46412203)

Too many companies deliver sub-standard software without any risk at all, especially in big projects.

Mistakes do happen, but underbidding is too common.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46412277)

Too many governments deliver sub-standard public services without any risk or recourse, especially in big projects. It's not the contractors fault, it's the contract manager's fault.

Re:Good if they succeed. (0)

thaylin (555395) | about 7 months ago | (#46412353)

I will disagree wholeheartedly. There are issues with developers sometimes not getting the proper information, however many development processes aer geared directly towards getting that information. This lands squarely in a poorly developed product on the developers end, as the article implies functionality that was given to the developer, and a slew of bugs.

Re:Good if they succeed. (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#46412445)

A lot depends on what the developers are given to work with. It sounds like Oracle salesmen talked Oregon into buying a hodge podge of stuff that supposedly bolted onto Siebel. When that kind of technical decision is made based on what the salesman gets a commission on it usually doesn't turn out well.

Re:Good if they succeed. (0, Flamebait)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46412921)

It sounds like Oregon didn't know what they were doing, had incompetent contract managers, and no accountability increasing the chances of success. After all, if the project failed, most people will still get paid, keep their jobs, and continue to be promoted. It wasn't even their money that was wasted, and they know where to get more.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 7 months ago | (#46413429)

I see you got modded down for telling the truth. You should know better.

Re:Good if they succeed. (3, Insightful)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | about 7 months ago | (#46413635)

No. It sounds to me like there were competent contract managers who simply asked for things to work out of the box like the sales droids said they would. When they failed that test, then they applied the stick to the carrot.

Oracle (Bless their little hearts) got a bit peeved that they would now have to earn their money rather than just grab the money and run. Things came to a head. Some negotiation happened and a way forward was worked out. Oracle will get paid when they deliver a product that meets a defined level of quality. In exchange, Oregon will lower the level of quality appropriately.

This sort of thing happens all the time in government contracts. I get to deal with these things reasonably regularly. When money is tight, even governments expect value for money. The IT firms sometimes have some adjustment to do.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 7 months ago | (#46414249)

  • competent contract managers
  • who simply asked for things to work out of the box
  • like the sales droids said they would

Not to be cynical, but at least one of these doesn't quite make sense.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 7 months ago | (#46414399)

I can see one that makes sense in an "And they all lived happily ever after." sort of way.

But, yeah, the other two are not very sensible in relation to this thread.

Re:Good if they succeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412821)

however many development processes aer geared directly towards getting that information

What processes would those be? I haven't had the (mis)pleasure of dealing with a state government, so maybe there's some wicked juju I'm not aware of.

But in the all-too-common agile kanban waterboarding scrummy bullshit that's taken hold in the industry... Yeah, no*. Processes are largely dependent on having information, but make no allowance for the politics necessary to get that information. If the client isn't playing the game, your project will turn to shit quicker'n chili laced with castor oil.

(* I forgot - everybody is doing "it" wrong, whatever fanciful self-help style bullshit metholodgy is "it" at the moment. EVERYBODY. NOBODY IS DOING IT RIGHT. YOU GUYS.)

Re:Good if they succeed. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412395)

Too many public services that were privatized under the guise of saving money now cost the public more money than when they were publicly run. Turns out 'privatization' is a euphemism for 'funnel money in to my campaign contributor's pockets'

Re:Good if they succeed. (1, Informative)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 7 months ago | (#46412621)

You are only PARTIALLY correct. The "Public Sector Services" part is designed to enslave voters to a single party so that any "cuts" (by cuts, we mean slowing growth of programs) becomes a sledgehammer to bang over the head of the other party.

Meanwhile our governments are going into further and further debt, maintaining services that are often overlapping by 10-12 times with other "public services" and there is no will or even intention of ever cutting out the cruft.

And make not mistake, the lining of politician's pockets occurs with "Big Government Contracts" that aren't "privatization", these are no-bid contracts, public works projects that provide "bridges to nowhere".

IF all you see is the otherside being the problem, you're part of the problem yourself. Until we get past (D) good, (R) bad (or visa versa) there will be no solution to the ongoing nightmare called "government".

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 7 months ago | (#46414439)

IF all you see is the otherside being the problem, you're part of the problem yourself. Until we get past (D) good, (R) bad (or visa versa) there will be no solution to the ongoing nightmare called "government".

Thankfully, more people are realizing this every day.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46413349)

Are you telling me it would have cost less to train and hire an army of programmers and such that would have done the job instead of Oracle or other contractor?

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 7 months ago | (#46413797)

Considering the overhead sure it would. The problem with a lot of these projects is the client supposedly does not have the experience in-house to evaluate if the programmers know what they are doing or not. Nor to they know anything about project management. So they get a contract with an established brand name which often just shoves guys fresh out of college with no experience at the job. I'm looking at you Accenture.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

Vanders (110092) | about 7 months ago | (#46413901)

Why not? Do you think Oracle paid their developers and managers in promises and unicorn farts? Why couldn't Oregon simply have paid for those developers & managers themselves?

The point of hiring contractors is that they're supposed to bring instant expertise to a project. If they don't actually do that, why bother with the extra expense of the middle man?

Re:Good if they succeed. (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46412915)

Clearly you've never worked with Oracle. The states biggest mistake was hiring them.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 7 months ago | (#46413455)

Their biggest mistake was paying them. They should have told them to skip. I'd rather pay twice the money than have someone fuck me like that.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

organgtool (966989) | about 7 months ago | (#46413155)

It's BOTH of their faults. It is the government's job to know what the hell they want and to provide solid requirements. If the government is not doing a good job of providing concrete requirements, it is the job of the contractor to extract those requirements from them or come up with their own requirements and get the government to formally approve them. If that is not done, then the requirements continually change, the project drags on way past it's deadline, and since time is money, the project goes way over budget. In those cases, the contractor is usually the one that looks bad, so it is to their benefit to demand concrete requirements rather than forge full-steam ahead on loose or incomplete requirements.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

dnavid (2842431) | about 7 months ago | (#46413301)

Too many governments deliver sub-standard public services without any risk or recourse, especially in big projects. It's not the contractors fault, it's the contract manager's fault.

Technically, its both of their fault. However, there's a presumption that the client has far less knowledge and competency in the subject of the contract than the contractor who is presumptively being hired explicitly for their knowledge and competency. A client that fails to keep its contractors in check is guilty of being naive or lazy. A contractor that fails to deliver on its contract is guilty of professional misconduct. The penalty for the former is and has always been getting substandard deliverables. But the penalty for the latter has traditionally been nothing, and in my opinion it should be extraordinarily high, because they have an actual professional responsibility not to be incompetent.

I have zero compassion for contractors and consultants who over-promise and under-deliver. Particularly large ones that think they are untouchable, and most think they are untouchable.

It always amazes me how almost every government boondoggle is implemented by a private sector hijacking, but almost all the negative attention is focused on the government that should have done better, and not on the thieves that walked away lining their pockets with taxpayer money. Its almost as if there's a belief that governments have an obligation to serve the people and should be judged on that standard, and corporations have an obligation to rape customers and should be congratulated for their efficiency in doing so.

If I was the governor of the state of Oregon, as soon as this project was done I would by executive order ban Oracle from bidding on any state government projects for the next thousand years.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

unimacs (597299) | about 7 months ago | (#46413551)

No recourse?

Elect somebody else.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46414217)

Yes elect somebody else, and watch the unstoppable social project fail for generations. We've never seen that before have we?

Re:Good if they succeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46413871)

Yes, you're entirely right. If I hire a plasterer, and he fucks up my walls, it's obviously my fault.

No wait, that's not right at all is it?

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46414209)

No, if you hire a plasterer and fail to keep tabs on progress and quality control, fail to give them adequate instructions, and then you pay them before the job is completed without checking and verifying the product, then it is your fault that you have shitty walls. But at least it was your money that your stupidity wasted, and your house that was ruined, not someone that trusted you with their money, or was forced to give it to you under the auspices of public benefit.

Re:Good if they succeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412537)

What is mind-blowing is that this is Oracle. If this were some no-name NoSQL database where the designers were on acid as opposed to having an ACID compliant product, that would be one thing. However, Oracle is something that has been around longer than most Slashdot readers, and they have the expertise to implement far bigger projects than this.

Disclaimer: I have no connection with Oracle, just have been in the industry long enough to know that one can't get fired for speccing/implementing their solutions.

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

liquidpele (663430) | about 7 months ago | (#46414265)

Honestly, while oracle boasts a slew of awesome sounding features, I've yet to ever see a large Oracle-backed system run well... maybe just me but I've never seen nearly enough benefit given their cost (and the cost of hiring consultant after consultant to debug issues).

maybe it would be better for Oracle to have left (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 7 months ago | (#46412623)

since they left a festering mess behind. and then Oregon could sue for all the money back.

Re:Good if they succeed. (2)

zoomshorts (137587) | about 7 months ago | (#46412771)

Can anyone explain exactly wh we had to build a health care systen from the ground up? Canada has a successful system, why could we not simply copy it and give proper attribution to Canada?

Use what works, and ObamaCare simply does not work. It will never work.

Reducing the military is a good idea, with smart munitions and rifles that can shoot accurately for 2000 yards, the saved money could be dumped into health care, without much fuss or muss.

The workers who used to admin the military, could be re-trained to do health care. I feel that one government employee with a computer can admin 500 citizens, and we have 4 million of those types, so re-task them.

Re: Good if they succeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46413369)

Because most of the work in developing a health system is in the details, not the overall plan, and for what it is worth, they also have provincial systems.

Re:Good if they succeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46413087)

Oh, come on, This is what Oracle DOES. I defy anyone with direct experience working with Oracle (especially more than once) to tell me that Oracle isn't FAMOUS for pulling this sort of thing.

Whoever is the Oracle project lead will get a raise; after all, $160 million if pretty good pelf for a single project...

Re:Good if they succeed. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#46413383)

underbidding is too common

Underbidding can happen for two reasons:
a) fraud
b) poorly written specifications

If it's a) then expect to be in court (or pay the bribes necessary to the corrupt officials of whichever organization is paying). If it's b) then perhaps you shoud have paid a real project planner and requirements people to do their jobs. $2200 doesn't cut it.

Cover Oregon... (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46412255)

...at least had great propaga...I mean, advertisements.

Re:Cover Oregon... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 7 months ago | (#46412367)

Yeah, methinks they should have checked to see if the website actually worked first.

Re:Cover Oregon... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46412617)

Most products/projects are advertised before they're done being put together and tested. Hell, we have a CostCo advertising in this area when they haven't even finished bulldozing the lot yet.

Re:Cover Oregon... (-1, Troll)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46412885)

Yeah, but the store is going to work and you will be able to buy stuff when it opens, and no one will force you to shop there. And you weren't forced to pay for it.

Re:Cover Oregon... (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 7 months ago | (#46413119)

You're absolutely right, but pre-announcement should have been preceded by some kind of risk assessment. I'm sure that was a line item and I'm sure it got crossed off, but clearly it was inadequate.

The snarky side of me wants to say, it's Oracle -- what did you expect? But I won't say that. Except I just did. That's the problem with meta-conversations.

Sounds Nice (3, Interesting)

johnnyb (4816) | about 7 months ago | (#46412279)

Must be nice to be able to fail at a project such that they owed you $69 million, but you don't actually have to make it work.

Perhaps states should make a rule stating that large projects must be broken up into deliverables of $1 million increments.

Re:Sounds Nice (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#46412401)

Perhaps states should make a rule stating that large projects must be broken up into deliverables of $1 million increments.

In unmarked bills.

Re:Sounds Nice (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46412627)

Nonsequential too.

Re:Sounds Nice (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 7 months ago | (#46412531)

Hand up.
I'll take a project I don't need to succeed at for $1 million :)

Re:Sounds Nice (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 7 months ago | (#46412551)

Heck, even if they withhold 37% I'd still be happy as a clam.

Please let Oracle go... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412287)

Working with Oracle has been a joke. Their software designers are a far cry from the quality you usually find in the US. Most of their designs are heavily influenced by people who don't have the technical skills to implement things.

Re:Please let Oracle go... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 7 months ago | (#46412553)

What do you expect from a company that routinely campaigns for more H-1b visas?

Sounds like a good idea to me (4, Interesting)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46412293)

Just one more thing though.
Oracle should pull all of its workers off the project and walk away after giving back all money already paid.
If you don't deliver what you've been told to deliver, you shouldn't get paid.

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412345)

And outsource the project to India .

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 7 months ago | (#46412577)

I'm not convinced that they haven't.

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412583)

If you don't deliver what you've been told to deliver, you shouldn't get paid.

Depends. If the customer is in the private sector, then your 27 million percent right.

However in this case the customer is in the public sector, which has no constitutionel right to exist, therefore the contract is null and void.

--
roman_mir, king of slashdot

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 7 months ago | (#46412751)

If you don't deliver what you've been told to deliver, you shouldn't get paid.

Poor Larry would be living in a cardboard box on the sidewalk in a week if Oracle had to issue a refund every time they failed to meet a delivery.

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me (1)

msauve (701917) | about 7 months ago | (#46413121)

That's hardly fair.

Where's Larry going to find a cardboard box with a zen garden and koi pond?

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 7 months ago | (#46413363)

More to the point, who could afford the cardboard box that looks good on his 1/2 billion dollar island [forbes.com] ?

Real estate like that, you don't just slap down any ol' appliance box.

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 7 months ago | (#46413531)

Oregon should put a lien against it until the SOB finishes the job.

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46413449)

No... they should be compensated fairly for the WORK that is COMPLETED...
obviously the enter project was not... and the new IT lead Oregon hired out of Oklahoma at least has his ducks in a row and is competent, unlike his predecessor who appeared to be instated much like a cabinet member to who a political favor was owed...

Oracle Services (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412377)

I don't have any personal experience with Oracle the company. But I've spoken to a half-dozen or so of their clients, and not one of them has ever had a successful completion of a project, and they've all gone over budget. Purely anecdotal evidence, I know.

I'd be interested to hear if someone has had a good experience working with Oracle...? But if the overwhelming consensus is negative, how do they continue to gain new clients?

Re:Oracle Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412519)

But if the overwhelming consensus is negative, how do they continue to gain new clients?

Because they actually have a good database product...despite what most slashdot commenters would probably say, because they don't have much real world experience and they choose to listen to the pundits claiming it's a waste of money (in some cases it really is, in some cases it's really not).

If you're a manager at a big company that is successfully running an Oracle Database (managed by your own DBAs and developed on by your own developers), then you're least likely to be fired for choosing Oracle for a new services contract.

Re:Oracle Services (1)

swv3752 (187722) | about 7 months ago | (#46413113)

But if the overwhelming consensus is negative, how do they continue to gain new clients?

Because they actually have a good database product....

Yeah, it's called MySQL.

I have professional experience dealing with Oracle, both on Solaris and Linux, including Oracle RAC and working with MySQL Clusters. Oracle works well enough, but I would rather have MySQL.

Re:Oracle Services (3, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | about 7 months ago | (#46412835)

But I've spoken to a half-dozen or so of their clients, and not one of them has ever had a successful completion of a project, and they've all gone over budget. Purely anecdotal evidence, I know.

I could tell you from a West Virginia perspective it isn't good:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/... [slashdot.org]

And that's not anecdotal evidence.

Re:Oracle Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46413257)

I only glanced at it, but that article appears to be about Cisco, not Oracle...?

Re:Oracle Services (2)

johnnyb (4816) | about 7 months ago | (#46413099)

It has been over a decade since I last worked with Oracle, so things may have changed. But when I worked on an Oracle project, it cost a huge amount of money, took way too long, didn't work well, and required double the number of staff to manage the application. After Oracle left, a second company came along behind who specializes in fixing stuff that Oracle broke. This company, I don't remember its name, literally does its business as cleaning up Oracle's trash. They didn't even promise good results, only "I know how much pain you are in, we'll make it not hurt quite so much." Interestingly, this particular project wound up as a "success story" on Oracle's website.

Still profitable.. (2)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 7 months ago | (#46412385)

Even without the $25m owed in the contract, Oracle is probably still profitable on the deal.

I bet they maintain 60-70% margins... and that's on the services side...

Re:Still profitable.. (2)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 7 months ago | (#46412603)

Even without the $25m owed in the contract, Oracle is probably still profitable on the deal.

I bet they maintain 60-70% margins... and that's on the services side...

Probably, but at least Oracle has a $25m incentive to make the damn thing work. Maybe if more government entities did this then big contractors might realize there is incentive to actually make what they're building work. The real question everywhere else should be...why the hell is [companyX] getting paid for something that's not usable? Or are those contracts written so horribly that the company gets paid for a nonfunctional product?

Re:Still profitable.. (1)

johnnyb (4816) | about 7 months ago | (#46413133)

"Or are those contracts written so horribly that the company gets paid for a nonfunctional product?"

The problem is that a lot of these types of contracts are written with a clause such that launching them publicly is an implicit acceptance of the project as a finished product. So, since they at least tried to launch it, that means that the project is "finished", and everything else is billed hourly on top of it.

Re:Still profitable.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412767)

This is on top of the $90M already paid to Oracle.

Explain this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412463)

2 things...

I know this sort of thing is a fairly monumental undertaking, technically, and from probably every aspect of legislated legalese, and external db comptability/communication (API's...?) being a major headache, but how can Oracle fall so far behind with the schedule? Is this just corporate expectation of cost 'overruns' on a project, and they expected Oregon to throw more money to get things up to speed? Oracle has been in business what, 30-40 years? Don't they specialize in this sort of exact scenario with their database?

That said, Oregon yanking on their 'payment' seems to me that they screwed up their contract with Oracle for promised results on timeframes. No?

Meanwhile, the general public is left watching from the sidelines....

ps: yes, I might have a bias against Oracle, but it's because I expect that they have the ability to pull off great things if they really want to. Apparently not when it comes to this particular project though.

Re:Explain this please (1)

NMBob (772954) | about 7 months ago | (#46412579)

Well, they've got that sailboat to support. Those things suck up a lot of time (and money).

Reinvent the wheel much? (1)

ItUsedToBeBroken (2794719) | about 7 months ago | (#46412503)

"It's also possible Cover Oregon will use software developed for other state exchanges or Healthcare.gov, according to this week's announcement."

It took them a year and over sixty million dollars to determine that's it's cheaper when every deployment doesn't reinvent the wheel? Yeesh. Fail.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 7 months ago | (#46412591)

Well some states purposely wanted to balloon the costs, or make the law look like a failure (hey look at what those dems cost us)

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (1, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 7 months ago | (#46412789)

Well some states purposely wanted to balloon the costs, or make the law look like a failure (hey look at what those dems cost us)

The President of the Oregon Senate and the Speaker of the House are both Democrats. The Governor is and has been a Democrat. Yeah, I sure see how the Oregon government has acted to make those dems look really bad. Oregon has been progressive in its health insurance systems for a long time. Of any state where you could express this kind of paranoia, Oregon is about the last one it would apply to.

On the other hand, a lot of the people in the rest of the state (Portland and Eugene are concentrations of "dems" who tend to drive the rest of the state who aren't) have seen first hand how much "those dems" cost us on a daily basis. But it's not from sabotage from "those repubs", it's "those dems" shooting themselves (and indirectly, us) in the foot. Or rather, pocketbook.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 7 months ago | (#46413239)

I was not being partisan in my statement, and was not specifically talking about Oregon in this case, I said "some" states...

On the other hand there are also many cases where "those repubs" do the same thing you are saying about "those dems".

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 7 months ago | (#46413387)

I was not being partisan in my statement,

Well, yes you were. When you refer to people who want to point the finger at "those dems", that's a partisan statement.

and was not specifically talking about Oregon in this case,

While you weren't being specific, you replied to someone who was, and you're in a discussion that has the title "Oregon withholding ..." so "some states" does include Oregon. I just told you that you should exclude Oregon from "some states" and your paranoia about this being sabotage by people who want to accuse "those dems" for the problem.

On the other hand there are also many cases where "those repubs" do the same thing you are saying about "those dems".

Not in Oregon. Dems in charge. Even if you were referring to Oregon only implicitly, I was explicit and limited to Oregon in my comment.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46413489)

Well some states purposely wanted to balloon the costs, or make the law look like a failure (hey look at what those dems cost us)

This is about the stupidest ignorant statement ever made on this topic.

In other news:

You can bet that this same project in the private sector would NOT have cost $5 million, let alone $60 million.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 7 months ago | (#46413729)

Yes, that is why in my state it is actually happening... But I agree with your second statement.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46414351)

FY azzhole. The gov is the same Johnny Taxhaber that was governator starting in 1996 for two terms.
When he started in 1996 our entire state budget was $10 billion. Now it is $30 billion plus.
Just our phuking public employee retirement system is over $3 billion a year.
So my statement is totally partisan and based on facts, the dems have phucked us, super hard.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (1)

mikelieman (35628) | about 7 months ago | (#46412815)

If the wanted to SOLVE the problem, they would have just rolled out Universal Medicare and the VA's VistA system and use all the existing infrastructure.

But that's not the goal.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#46413439)

That's essentially what Obama first proposed and what was passed by the House. It was blocked by a handful of Democrats in the Senate- namely Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Blanche Lincoln, and Mary Landrieu. To be fair to the last three, the bill was not popular in their rather red states and voting for it would have probably cost them their jobs.

After that failed, they went to Plan B which was the shitty compromise that we have now. It's still a nice step up from what we had before.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46414367)

It's still a nice step up from what we had before.

Sure is if you count that my health insurance cost is now double what it was before, along with twice the deductible. Thanks Obama, wish I hadn't voted for you.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#46414555)

Sure is if you count that my health insurance cost is now double what it was before, along with twice the deductible. Thanks Obama, wish I hadn't voted for you.

Did you actually shop around or did your insurance company just tell you that your costs would double?

And how exactly is Obama responsible for the actions of 6 Senators?

Way to go Oracle! (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 7 months ago | (#46412533)

Oregon officials reached the deal with Oracle after the company reportedly threatened to pull all of its workers off the project and essentially walk away.

So Oracle bluffed, playing games with the lives of Oregon residents. Good job, Oracle! You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training.

Re:Way to go Oracle! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#46412589)

Best of the best of the best, Sir!

"Non-profit" organization contracts (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 7 months ago | (#46412585)

Oracle gets these contracts seemingly easily. Do you know what it takes to land a contract with a supposedly "non-profit" organisation? Find a way to get a subscription to something like UNGM and look at the insanity that passes for RFPSs there.

70 pages of various legal requirements (shouldn't use child labour, something about land mines, blah blah blah, document formats, timelines etc.etc.)

The requirement: build a database driven website.
Deadlines:
* Project award: 25 of March.
* Expected a completed, fully tested and operational system: 1 of April.

Then some more weird nonsense about saving millions and millions of lives. I am not surprised that these projects end up costing tens of millions and more and deliver nothing.

Re:"Non-profit" organization contracts (1)

rhodium_mir (2876919) | about 7 months ago | (#46413003)

In this day and age just try to find a successful website that doesn't make liberal use of landmine technology. It can't be done. Anyone who believes otherwise should be converted to biodiesel.

mod do3n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412601)

abysma7 salTes and

On a somewhat related note... (0)

prezkennedy.org (786501) | about 7 months ago | (#46412653)

Oracle recommends that I install the Ask toolbar every time there is a new Java update.

Probably a sign of the kind of technical expertise Oracle has and why they should be avoided at all costs.

Re:On a somewhat related note... (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 7 months ago | (#46412719)

It is not about technical expertise, it is about the money from Ask. If you pay them enough you may be able to get a tool bar on their as well.

what is so hard about this? (3, Interesting)

mattis_f (517228) | about 7 months ago | (#46412761)

It's an honest question. I am a programmer of embedded systems and microcontrollers, my expertise is at the other end of the computing spectrum.

As much as I like to blame Oracle, the state may have added serious requirements at the last minute that complicated everything. These articles doesn't say anything about it. Same seems to go for all the troubled exchanges - so what's the problem?

Is there anyone on here with some insight?

Re:what is so hard about this? (1, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 7 months ago | (#46412955)

As much as I like to blame Oracle, the state may have added serious requirements at the last minute that complicated everything.

Uhhh, no. I don't think "have a button that you can click on to enroll online" was a last minute decision. That's what was lacking -- you could browse all kinds of things, you just couldn't sign up online.

You could download a 19 page form to fill in and send back so they could send you another form to fill out to enroll, so no worries mate! Nobody died (yet) from not being able to meet the mid-December deadline for signing up for insurance to start on Jan. 1. But the nurse I talked to earlier this year was very sad for some folks she was seeing. They had regularly scheduled appointments they were keeping but they hadn't been able to get insurance yet after the plan/company they liked and wanted to keep dropped them at the end of the year. The ACA and the failure of Cover Oregon was costing them a bundle of money.

And the receptionist reminded me that I was very lucky that my co-pay was only $5 instead of the $100 some people had. Yay ACA!

Re:what is so hard about this? (1)

Drago3711 (1415041) | about 7 months ago | (#46412963)

As much as I like to blame Oracle, the state may have added serious requirements at the last minute that complicated everything. These articles doesn't say anything about it. Same seems to go for all the troubled exchanges - so what's the problem?

It's basically a waterfall [wikipedia.org] design where you have a group of non-technical people (state and federal government) writing the requirements document [house.gov] . That seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

Linking with all the insurance companies (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 7 months ago | (#46412991)

This web site is a front end that is supposed to federate all the suppliers of health care insurances. Since there is no clear and complete standard interface, most of the work goes into making "glue code" to get all the insurers hooked up to the system. The visitor has to be able to experience all of this real time. Try interfacing with over 50 slightly different but very similar complex computer systems that each have their unique protocol. Writing good requirements documents is an absolute nightmare, let alone unit tests, full flow tests, regression tests, security tests and whatnot. Once you have that, you might get to writing code and discover that your performance will suck horribly due to all the special cases you have to account for....

Re:what is so hard about this? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46413011)

No, Oracle the devil. As much as I dislike government, I know how Oracle works and this is EXACLY what they do. I've seen it over and over... first hand experience. They will tell you they have a software product that does exactly what you're looking for, it's all integrated with their other systems... sell it to you... then you find out they bought the product from some other company 2 months ago. Lies lies lies.

They actually sent an "Expert" in to train our employees how to trick their support employees into working our tickets faster. How screwed up is that?

Re:what is so hard about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46414227)

The response from dutchwhizzman is the best short answer. I'd add that whatever requirements those non-technical bureaucrats create will be incomplete and internally inconsistent. Now, that situation can be problematic even when dealing with contract development for internal LoB software for some corporation, but there will be someone at the company with the authority and the desire to sort it out. When dealing with the government, you probably cannot get direct access to whomever has authority, and everyone else will be unwilling to make a decision, because there is no upside to making that decision - if it is "right", nobody above them will care, but if it's wrong, they're the ones who will have to take the heat. In short, government contracts tend to suck because government bureaucracies (both state and federal) tend to suck.

None of this is intended to excuse Oracle's services arm. I've never heard anything good about them from anyone outside of Oracle itself.

- T

Oracle? This is chump change (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46412797)

Oracle reported $ 9,275 MILLION in gross sales for the last quarter in the records. Their profit was $2,553 MILLION.

Holding $25.6 MILLION back is Chump Change for them. Larry Ellison probably has a larger petty cash budget.

Sure, somebody at Oracle will likely loose their job, maybe even a few will, but this is down in the noise for Oracle in general.

Re:Oracle? This is chump change (1)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | about 7 months ago | (#46413053)

Oregon does not need to change the behavior of Larry. Two trophic levels are directors whose bonuses will be badly dinged when the check does not arrive from Salem -- getting their attention will be helpful.

Re:Oracle? This is chump change (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46414051)

25 million is not chump change to ANYONE. It will need to be reported, their stock may take a slight dip. No business owner says '25 million? we don't need it.

They may determine their efforts to get 25 million will cost more then the actually 25 million, but that's a business decision that has nothing to do with chump change.

Re:Oracle? This is chump change (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46414213)

This is barely 1/2 a penny to the earnings per share in a QUARTER. They spend more on paper clips and staples. Heck, Ellison and the board likely spend more than that on travel expenses for one meeting.

I'm not saying that Oracle won't try to collect the remaining funds or that stern faced bosses won't wag their fingers at middle management for it and cut their bonuses and raises. I'm saying that except for the bad press, Oracle won't care much. After all, they got 2/3'ds of the money already and can realize the revenue for that. The stock price won't change, at least for this. Now if this starts to be a pattern, where high profile customers start holding back payment on a regular basis, THEN Heads will roll at the executive level and the stock will have an issue.

HAHAHAHA (5, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46412799)

As a customer of Oracles, and having these very same products including Sieble... all I can say is "You should have asked me first"

This is exactly what we're going through. They sold us a suit of "integrated software products" that were in no-way integrated or even related. They charged us to configure the software, then when the software didn't work, told us it was configured wrong. Then when it was time for a new contract tried to exempt themselves from liability for "Configuration changes" and threatened to not renew and not fix the issue unless we did sign. (we didn't and almost ended up in court)

Then when they were making changes their support teams would log into their software through various back doors and make changes without notifying us, leaving a trail in the audit log with "NULL" in the place where the user account that made the change was supposed to be logged. They remotely modify white lists into the application suite without permission despite specific contractual agreements that they would not. We've got Oracle Employees whitelisting their home DSL accounts and logging in at random at all times of the day.

Oracle is the worst Vendor I've ever worked with. They are incompetent, malicious, vindictive and will outright lie, con and steal from their customers. They literally deprecated our ODBC connection to a SASS once because we weren't going to renew our contract and they wanted to charge us to move the data off their systems. Luckily we had planned for such a thing and already had a replication database in-house. God I hate Oracle.

Re:HAHAHAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46412899)

Rule of thumb for picking a stock

If a company can alienate that many customers and still make money
      they must have something folks really want.

What is it that Oracle has?

The amount of money spent in Oregon should have covered the whole country.
    Why is the problem that hard?

Re:HAHAHAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46413929)

Momentum, marketing, lawyers, status (other people use them so they must be good), and the people making the choices to use Oracle or not don't have technical the knowledge required to properly evaluate the options (and don't listen to those who do or those people aren't willing to stand up for the right choices).

Blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46413061)

The blame game begins. We'll be hearing about these for years in state after state.

MOre government agency's (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46414041)

should do this. Oracle is a nightmare to work with, never seem to deliver as promised, and always have a reason to charge for fixing their bugs.

All too common (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46414043)

It's caused by poor management, duh. The buzzword industry is killing off good business left and right... The pushers of "risk-management" or any part of the Toyota-Production-System concepts ( Lean, 5S, kanban, agile, funky flow-charting, hocus-pocus etc.) are fools! It's an excuse to not manage the project, because the 'system' is managing it for us. LOL, crazy... Keep it simple, manage your unique team!

This one's boring, try the civil war one (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 months ago | (#46414513)

Welcome to Oregon Trail!
Please enter your name: Jimmy
Welcome, Jimmy!
Jimmy, you have 3.9 million people.
How much do you wish to spend per person for a computer government medical insurance system from a contractor?
> $17
The contractor screws up, drags ass, and whines for more money. Pay?
> Sheee...no
>I don't nderstand.
> No

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