Feeds

IT industry prepares for the worst over ID cards

'Don't blame us, blame government'

The Power of One Infographic

After years in which suppliers have absorbed most of the blame for government IT failures, the case for there being equal measures of ineptitude in the civil service is gaining momentum behind the concerted campaign against ID Cards.

The latest evidence was submitted as a statement this week by Intellect, the UK's IT trade association, in a thinly veiled case of passing the blame.

It followed a machine-gun of criticism about the feasibility of ID Cards this week, from the opposition, the Lords and anti-corporate campaigners.

The consensus fear is of the costs running out of control and the system not working, both are which are par for the course in public sector IT.

Intellect's members have been on the back foot for the last 18 months as the government's procurement agency, the Office of Government Commerce, streamrollered plans to make them take the bulk of accountability for IT failure.

IT failure is so commonplace that everyone appears to expect ID Cards, should they ever make it out of the Westminster ideas factory, to be an embarrassing debacle.

The problem for Intellect is that the suppliers always get the blame. And it does not suit them.

Intellect director general John Higgins should not therefore be blamed for sounding a little chippy when in his latest statement he says an ID fiasco would be the fault of government, not industry.

That's what he says between the lines anyway. What he actually says is that if the government wants ID Cards to work it should pay attention to all those things that it is known more for neglecting when implementing IT projects.

In summary, it is define a project's objectives well from the start, fix it in stone, give it strong leadership, audit its progress thoroughly, test it properly. That is, avoid doing going the usual way of government projects: plan it on the back of an envelope, ask for the world and plan for it to be built in a day by a couple of blokes found hanging around outside the Job Centre.

Intellect's advice is accepted knowledge in professional and academic circles, but it never fails to stop either government or businesses doing exactly the opposite when they want some IT system put in: they give all the responsibility and save all the blame for the supplier.

The most widely respected authority on this matter - and one that has advised the government over IT procurement - is the Standish Group. The IT failures Standish has studied all have one thing in common, which is a list of common reasons for going wrong.

Most of them regard the amount of preparation, discipline and responsibility taken by the customer. The top three reasons for IT failure are most telling: user involvement; executive management support; clear business objectives.

IT suppliers, being the experts, should do more to make sure their customers pay attention to these things. But pendulum had swung too far out of their favour in recent years. Cut them some slack. It's got a long way to carry in the other direction before we find a happy medium.®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.