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  # 1320347 9-Jun-2015 14:58
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JWR:
I think the Green Party is right.

Surely that 'money' would be more effectively used and spent in New Zealand.



According to this NZ Herald article no NZ companies tendered for it though it looks like the company that got the job is setting up a NZ operation  no doubt employing  expensive Kiwis...




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Old3eyes


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  # 1320369 9-Jun-2015 15:25
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frankv:
MikeB4:
surfisup1000:
MikeB4: The company selected has good credentials and a large portfolio of clients similar to IRD, How many NZ companies have that? And how many have experience with projects of that scope?
With out knowing the full details it is hard to make a complete assessment but it would seem to be an appropriate decision.



As soon as the IRD says it is a 1 billion dollar project you know it will fail. 

The project delivery company is irrelevant as the internal/external politics at the IRD will surely kill it off.

Rod Drury had some interesting ideas a while back. Some workable, some not.


 from an experienced Government IT perspective, I disagree,



From an experienced Govt IT perspective, I think it will fail.

The fact that it's a billion dollar project tells me that the previous system wasn't able to grow. Why wasn't 10 (or 50 or 100) million a year spent over the last 10 years to keep the system up to date? My view is that was because it's all been corner-cutting and sticking-plaster fixes to keep the existing system running at minimal immediate cost. Pay enough to retain staff? I don't think so! There's no real IT career in the public service, so, as well as the old system becoming outdated, all the knowledge and skills required has been lost. 

Now the Govt has been sold the idea that if we throw an enormous amount of money at the problem, it will go away.


From another experienced Govt IT perspective, I agree that it is likely to fail.  Just like most other government wholesale system replacement projects.  Doomed to fail when external contracting companies are involved and charging mega dollars because management seem to go all googly-eyed over the powerpoint sales pitch and totally ignore the in-house development teams knowledge and experience when they point out the glaringly obvious issues.
Makes for some "fun" told you so moments several years down the track though.




 
 
 
 


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  # 1320954 10-Jun-2015 10:30
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heylinb4nz: I cant fathom where $1 billion would go into such a project

Id be keen to see a project scope \ overview with a cost breakdown...would make for some interesting reading.
 


The story I heard is one of the enterprise architects at IRD was asked how much it would be to replace FIRST which is the current mainframe that runs the tax system.
FIRSTs book value at the time was $750 million. So the EA said double it. And that's how we ended up with $1.5 billion.

If it were my money I would do what MSD did and pick up all their cobol and transfer it into Java or similar.

Then engage with local schools and universities and say if people want to come join IRD they will pay tertiary fees if they stay with IRD for 5 years.

Would cost a heck of a lot less. Promote young kiwis as part of the knowledge economy.

It's so sensible it would never fly.





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  # 1321940 10-Jun-2015 10:49
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old3eyes:
JWR:
I think the Green Party is right.

Surely that 'money' would be more effectively used and spent in New Zealand.



According to this NZ Herald article no NZ companies tendered for it though it looks like the company that got the job is setting up a NZ operation  no doubt employing  expensive Kiwis...


I believe Capgemini was tendering but they are not a NZ company although has a presence here.




Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

Using empathy takes no energy and can gain so much. Try it.

 

 


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  # 1321948 10-Jun-2015 10:52
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BarTender:
heylinb4nz: I cant fathom where $1 billion would go into such a project

Id be keen to see a project scope \ overview with a cost breakdown...would make for some interesting reading.
 


The story I heard is one of the enterprise architects at IRD was asked how much it would be to replace FIRST which is the current mainframe that runs the tax system.
FIRSTs book value at the time was $750 million. So the EA said double it. And that's how we ended up with $1.5 billion.

If it were my money I would do what MSD did and pick up all their cobol and transfer it into Java or similar.

Then engage with local schools and universities and say if people want to come join IRD they will pay tertiary fees if they stay with IRD for 5 years.

Would cost a heck of a lot less. Promote young kiwis as part of the knowledge economy.

It's so sensible it would never fly.


Funny thing is, I've been involved in a number of software implementation projects around the world. 

It is easier to get a job installing large and complex systems outside of NZ than inside. Because the contracts tend to go to large foreign companies. 

Which is a shame -- were the IRD to go into partnership with a local firm in view of developing an application which can be sold on in the global market.   It would bring possibly hundreds of millions into the NZ economy for the next 30 years. 





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  # 1322358 10-Jun-2015 18:02
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surfisup1000: Funny thing is, I've been involved in a number of software implementation projects around the world. 

It is easier to get a job installing large and complex systems outside of NZ than inside. Because the contracts tend to go to large foreign companies. 

Which is a shame -- were the IRD to go into partnership with a local firm in view of developing an application which can be sold on in the global market.   It would bring possibly hundreds of millions into the NZ economy for the next 30 years. 


Can only agree with everything you have said here. The issue that a local company would face is making it a "product" that could be sold on the global market.

Intergrated Tax collection / Child Support / Student Loan systems are pretty specialized so I doubt there would be a huge market outside of NZ. But we will never know.

We are one of the few countries that until recently had the whole tax system on one system.

If only the IT staff that still work at IRD were treated like assets not liabilities and there was focus on retaining them and helping educate the next generation. Sadly that's not the case.

INCIS, Novapay... And soon (well it will take at least 3-4 more years of non-delivery to really start hurting) IRD.





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  # 1322458 10-Jun-2015 22:04
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I wonder how much we would have to pay the company to lose all the tax records.....cool





 
 
 
 


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  # 1331617 25-Jun-2015 18:01
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What gives me some hope is that fact that IRD or the Government is willing to re-write the tax code to accommodate the new system (as noted in this press release).

http://www.fastenterprises.com/news/newzealand/NZ_NBR-BusinessTransformation.pdf

Nothing good happens when you buy a COTS package and then customise it to meet your business requirements when it might be easier to change your business processes (well in this case the tax code).






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  # 1331839 26-Jun-2015 07:16
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I'm absolutely sure that policy will last till the project is delivered, and definitely not come apart 1 week into it, when that one person insists that their pet rule, which does not fit into the stock product, is a precious snowflake without which the New Zealand taxation system will crumble into Mad Max-style chaos.




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These comments are my own and do not represent the opinions of 2degrees.


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  # 1331927 26-Jun-2015 09:52
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Rubbish,

The FIRST system is 20-25 years old!.. I think they did a good job keeping it going as long as they did.  Have you kept anything for that long that is still serving you well?

It is outdated and it's time to bin it. 

No I don't work for them.




The fact that it's a billion dollar project tells me that the previous system wasn't able to grow. Why wasn't 10 (or 50 or 100) million a year spent over the last 10 years to keep the system up to date? My view is that was because it's all been corner-cutting and sticking-plaster fixes to keep the existing system running at minimal immediate cost. Pay enough to retain staff? I don't think so! There's no real IT career in the public service, so, as well as the old system becoming outdated, all the knowledge and skills required has been lost. 

Now the Govt has been sold the idea that if we throw an enormous amount of money at the problem, it will go away.





Kirk

 


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  # 1331943 26-Jun-2015 10:23
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kharris: Rubbish,

The FIRST system is 20-25 years old!.. I think they did a good job keeping it going as long as they did.  Have you kept anything for that long that is still serving you well?

It is outdated and it's time to bin it. 

No I don't work for them.


 

Nothing wrong with FIRST apart from the fact that  (tongue in cheek here a bit)

- it runs on a highly proprietary platform (COBOL/DMS2/Unisys Clearpath)
- hard to find COBOL programmers now
- costs a fortune to make changes (e.g. Kiwisaver cost a bundle to integrate)

Time to replace it with a decent package that can run on commodity hardware and supports a decent ESB.

IRD and the vendor need to manage scope creep carefully. While the backend rules can't really be changed during implementation since they are part of the tax code, nothing to stop people saying they want screens laid out differently, different workflow etc. that require modification to the base code rather than configuration.




Staying in Wellington. Check out my AirBnB in the Wellington CBD.  https://www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/32019730  Mention GZ to get a 10% discount

 

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  # 1331945 26-Jun-2015 10:30
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lchiu7:
- hard to find COBOL programmers now


Agreed.  And even harder to find Assembler programmers. A significant portion of the back end still uses it.

Like I said, time to bin it.  They have got all the blood out of that stone that they are going to get.




Kirk

 


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  # 1331960 26-Jun-2015 11:04
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kharris:
lchiu7:
- hard to find COBOL programmers now


Agreed.  And even harder to find Assembler programmers. A significant portion of the back end still uses it.

Like I said, time to bin it.  They have got all the blood out of that stone that they are going to get.


I can still code in COBOL :-)  Not something I would do for work now though unless it was really big bucks. Every man has his price :-)

And IIRC Unisys Clearpath doesn't use Assembler per se - they use a language called ESPOL now NEWP. It's an Algol like language that has strict enforcement of unsafe constructs.




Staying in Wellington. Check out my AirBnB in the Wellington CBD.  https://www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/32019730  Mention GZ to get a 10% discount

 

System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR and Plex Server running on Gigabyte Brix (Windows 10 Pro), Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Pioneer AVR, Raspberry Pi running Kodi and Plex, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma, Google Chromecast

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen, Denon AVRS730H 7.2 Channel Dolby Atmos/DTS-X AV Receiver, Samsung 4K player, Google Chromecast, Odroid C2 running Kodi and Plex

 

 


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  # 1332061 26-Jun-2015 13:24
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lchiu7:
kharris:
lchiu7:
- hard to find COBOL programmers now


Agreed.  And even harder to find Assembler programmers. A significant portion of the back end still uses it.

Like I said, time to bin it.  They have got all the blood out of that stone that they are going to get.


I can still code in COBOL :-)  Not something I would do for work now though unless it was really big bucks. Every man has his price :-)

And IIRC Unisys Clearpath doesn't use Assembler per se - they use a language called ESPOL now NEWP. It's an Algol like language that has strict enforcement of unsafe constructs.


Yes but CIF was all written in Assembler and to my knowledge still exists.




Kirk

 


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  # 1332131 26-Jun-2015 14:30
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Like lchiu7 said, the Unisys Clearpath (ex Burroughs B5000/6000/7000 series) never had an Assembly language.
I was a Burroughs software support guy back in the 1970s, and all the system software was written in Algol.    Aahhh, Burroughs! laughing

IRD don't seem to be trying to recruit COBOL programmers.
I think this is a great shame - I'd love to get a retirement job looking after the old system, let the young thrusting types get all over the gucci new tech, while we dinosaurs keep the COBOL running and reminisce over the 'good old days', gradually working from full-time for the next four or five years down to half-time then retirement a couple of years later.
Not that I've written any COBOL in the last 25 years, but I'm pretty sure it's like riding a bicycle and I'd remember fine in a couple of weeks! 

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