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UK uni pulls plug on Oracle project

And demands £2m refund

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The University of Northumbria is asking Oracle to give back £2m it paid for back office systems that were supposed to be up and running by 2003. The University agreed to pay £6.5m to Oracle for new human resources, student records and research support software. Work started in 2000 and the system, also called Oracle, was meant to be fully up and running by early 2003.

So far only human resources and research are working. University accountants have cancelled the rest of the project and are demanding a refund of £1.9m out of the £5.2m it has already spent.

David Chesser, deputy vice chancellor of the University, told local paper the Sunday Sun: "Oracle have continually failed to deliver workable software for the student system to the agreed timescales. As is normal with other university projects, the university has reviewed its options and has recently decided that it will halt its plans to continue the roll out of the Oracle student software." Chesser said the university wanted a £1.9m refund and negotiations with Oracle were continuing.

An anonymous source at the university told the paper: "It has been a disgraceful waste of time and money. The computer system is a complete mess. After three years, part of it still hasn't passed the development stage. This has already cost a lot of money and more will have to spent. There are a lot of red faces here."

The University has already chosen a replacement supplier and reassigned staff. ®

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