If 18 large organizations installed, customized and rolled out new complicated software systems, how many rollouts would be relatively glitch free?
Ask any experienced information technology (IT) consultant and they’ll likely answer, ”About 50%,” without blinking an eye. That’s based on facts.
At least half of all software installations fail miserably—over budget, past the deadline and missing key features. Take enterprise resource planning software (ERP)—software that runs an entire enterprise: about 60% of companies installing ERP report receiving less than half the benefits they thought they would get from the software. And customer resource management (CRM) software, which makes it easier to track sales and customer contact—shows a 50% failure rate.
Isn’t it amazing then that 18 government entities have just launched websites using sophisticated software and 17 of them have few if any glitches? I’m talking of course about the new health insurance marketplaces set up by 16 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government.
Unfortunately for millions of Americans, it’s the largest one that has experienced the snafus. The fault lies with the Obama Administration. If it had begun developing the federal electronic health insurance marketplace earlier, it would have had time to do proper testing and removed the bugs before the legal date for opening. Instead, the Administration pussy-footed around waiting to make sure the law wasn’t reversed after the 2010 elections or declared unconstitutional. Similar pussy-footing around is responsible for some, but certainly not all the numerous software failures in the private sector.
So what we have is 17-1 for governments, when the private sector only would have managed maybe 9-9. The real story of the rollout of Obamacare is that government can and often does do things better than the private sector. In this case, what government seems to be doing better is implementing sophisticated software systems.