If an IT Project Wastes $16B, is It the CIO’s Fault?

Separate medical facilities are in charge of providing service to people who live in the same country. While these separate facilities are in charge of the medical services, people are partaking in a healthcare that’s nationally provided. Dr. Jim Anderson, an individual who strives in transforming failing CIOs, believes that healthcare records should be held in a single database.

The Lorenzo System

In 2002 the decision was made that Lorenzo, a National Health Service program, was going to be created. The goal was to contain all of the customer information in a single database.  At the start of the project the system was predicted to store information of about 2250 trusts, costing $4.96B. Well then came some complications. The final contract for the project was likely to cost $3.52B and cover only 22 trusts. People may ask, where was the CIO?

Issues that followed

Firstly, the CIO position has been changing quite frequently, so it’s hard to get a grasp on who’s actually in charge. Then the project began to fall behind schedule and over budget. In an attempt to get something out of the failing system, they threw in separate management and accountability structures. That ended badly as well; the new structures began to present several errors and failures. The CIO should have renegotiated the original contract while following any delays or problems that appeared. The biggest issue in the Lorenzo care record system was that the CIO did not play a major role, leading things to tumble out of control.

Learning by example

The incident of the British attempt to create a single database provided us an example of what not to follow. After $16B, a working system is still not there, and the issue was the CIO. The CIO should be responsible for every contract the IT department signs, preventing the poorly worded long-term contracts.  Dr. Jim Anderson believes the case should have been handled differently, as he states:

“What should have happened is that given the importance of information technology, professional contract negotiators should have been brought in to handle the creation of the IT contracts. People who do this for a living would have never signed the contracts as they stand today. A CIO always needs to know when to reach outside for assistance.”

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