Cover Oregon Diagnosis: Oracle Overdose - InformationWeek

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Cover Oregon Diagnosis: Oracle Overdose
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David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
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3/14/2014 | 5:00:28 PM
Re: What's your diagnosis of Oracle's role in the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange?
To me, the most damning thing in the report is that Oracle Consulting Services wasn't particularly good at configuring Oracle products to work with other Oracle products. Yes, you might assume that products from the same vendor would work well together, and that consultants employed by the vendor would be the best experts you could get to configure and integrate them.

Doug makes a good point that the report shouldn't be taken as gospel and may contain its own biases. Still, it's a scorcher
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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3/14/2014 | 4:50:03 PM
Lack of transparency, over sight; shades of Montclair State University
Montclair State University in N.J. had some similar problems as it tried to automate student registration and other campus functions. There's an element of the two sides not being able to talk to each other, combined, I think, with some arrogance toward the customer that brings these disputes and failures about. See  http://www.informationweek.com/applications/oracle-sued-over-alleged-erp-project-cost-overruns/d/d-id/1097907
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
3/14/2014 | 1:40:11 PM
Re: What's your diagnosis of Oracle's role in the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange?
The implication seems to be that Oracle took advantage of the opportunity to pack every element of its portfolio into this project, whether it was the best match for the job or not. On the other hand, a friend I discussed this story with made the point that it's Oracle's job to sell as much software as possible -- and the customer's job to know when to say no.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
3/14/2014 | 1:36:58 PM
Baltimore switching to Connecticut platform
Story of another troubled project: Maryland may dump its health insurance exchange in favor of one developed for Connecticut, says Baltimore Sun http://buff.ly/1kRtk8d 
D. Henschen
IW Pick
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
3/14/2014 | 1:33:40 PM
Re: What's your diagnosis of Oracle's role in the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange?
Keep in mind that this is a federally funded report, and we saw the same "blame the vendor" reflexes in Minnesota when it came to that state's dealings with IBM. I'm not at all surprised to see an Oracle-centric product mix in an Oracle-led project. The money line in the federal report is this: "...there are other State Based Marketplaces utilizing elements of the Oracle product portfolios, without doubt, but CO has, without doubt, the most complex mix." What I would want to know is what are the pieces that are proven in this role and which, if any, pieces seem to be ill-suited to the task at hand.

Siebel plays in plenty of high-scale, consumer-facing Web environments, but what's really surprising here is the lack of project and development management capabilities and controls -- if the federally funded analysis is to be trusted. CO is ultimately responsible for making sure that it delivers what's promised. The question I have is did it really vet the technologies and vendors the successful state-based marketplaces have used?
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
3/14/2014 | 12:00:28 PM
What's your diagnosis of Oracle's role in the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange?
I tried to pull out the details most interesting to IT executives and project managers, but I'd be interested in your analysis of what's most significant in the federal report on what went wrong.

The journalists at the Oregonian deserve credit for uncovering this report, the existence of which state officials had been trying to keep quiet. TV station KATU dug up the Oracle case study I cite, mentioned in a January feature on how the state's grand vision complicated the project.


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