Canadians Decide To Force More People To Use Big, Slow, Annoying Computer System
from the fallacy-of-sunk-costs dept
We've had plenty of reports of bungled government computing projects, that always seem over-budget, slow, difficult to use and rarely do the job they're supposed to do. There was the system for the (irony alert) Federal Technology Service that took 15 steps to save a document and made people cry "hourly." Then, of course, there was the famed FBI computing system that was tremendously over-budget and useless at fighting terrorism, which was eventually scrapped. It appears that up in Canada, they have their own incredibly over-budget government computing system, but they seem pretty determined not to have to scrap it. Instead, even though the system is described as "slow, clumsy and difficult to use" they're now going to make it mandatory for government agencies to use. On the positive side, part of the reason that the system is having trouble is that the security is apparently somewhat advanced (at least according to the article). However, when the system is so cumbersome and annoying to use (no matter how good the security is), all you're doing is begging people to find workarounds. Forcing uptake by mandating usage by departments won't change that -- it will just make things more annoying, and the workarounds even more questionable. It's great that the system is supposedly quite secure, but in making it slow and annoying, you're actually decreasing the security by ensuring people look for alternatives. Instead of fretting about the below expected "take up rates," and thinking up ways to push those rates higher, shouldn't they be looking at why no one likes to use the system? Even worse, by mandating that everyone use the system, it pretty much guarantees that things won't get any better, because there will be no incentive to actually improve the system or to create a better, more efficient and more useful system instead.