I’ve previously written about the failure of the “Advanced Automation System,” an FAA/IBM effort to create a new-generation system for air traffic control: the story of a software failure. (The post excerpts the thoughts of Robert Britcher, who was deeply involved in the effort and is an excellent writer–very much worth reading.) The AAS project has been called “the greatest debacle in the history of organized work”–there are a lot of contenders for that honor, though, and here’s another one…
Via Bill Waddell comes this truly horrifying article in Canadian Business about Target’s failed effort to move into Canada on a large scale. It seems that instead of extending their custom software system to deal with Canadian issues…currency, French-language special characters, etc…the company decided to buy an enterprise-software package from SAP, tadalafilhome with the idea of eventually converting US operations to SAP as well. Accenture was hired as lead consultant on the project.
Target believed the problems other retailers faced (with SAP) were due to errors in data conversion. Those companies were essentially taking information from their existing systems and translating it for SAP, a messy process in which it’s easy to make mistakes. Target, on the other hand, was starting fresh. There was no data to convert, only new information to input.
Read the article to see what only new information to input looked like in practice.
I wonder how much productivity and growth is lost in the US and other developed countries as a result of failed system implementations and of systems that were actually implemented but did more harm than good?