Post by Gabe Goldberg
But I've profiled a couple gov agencies technology and I read
http://www.govtech.com/ -- which highlights mostly good news (many
interesting/innovative projects highlighted), though they also sure
cover disasters and project failures. And half the time they're
badmouthing legacy systems. I'm just noting that there's a spectrum of
competence and quality in gov, same as elsewhere.
AMEX was in competition with KKR for private equity take-over of RJR and
KKR wins. KKR runs into trouble and hires away the president of AMEX to
turn it around. IBM has gone into the red and was being reorganized into
the 13 "baby bells" in preparation for breaking up the company. The
board then hires away the former president of AMEX to reverse the
breakup and resurrect the company ... using some of the same techniques
used at RJR
The former president of AMEX then leaves IBM to head up another large
private equity company that will acquire a large beltway bandit that
employes Snowden. There was enormous uptic in gov. outsourcing last
decade, especially to private equity owned companies ... in
intelligence, 70% of the budget and over half the people
private equity owned companies are under intense pressure to cut corners
and do what ever is necessary to generate profits for their owners. In
the case of outsourced security clearances, they were found to be
filling out the paper work and not actually doing the background checks.
Companies in private equity mill are sometimes compared to "house
flipping", except rather than paying off the mortgage as part of the
flip, the loan to buy the company stays on the company's books after the
sale. Combination of factors contribute to over half of corporate
defaults are companies that are in (or previously in) the private equity
this has also contributed to the rapid spreading "success of failure"
culture ... beltway bandits (especially private equity owned
subsidiaries) get more revenue from a series of failures
This all sounds cynical, because it is. Whether or not it's deliberate
is another matter. But you don't have to believe that people consciously
fail to recognize the windfall it brings. Even if they don't know why,
there's a reason people keep making the same mistakes: Failure is one of
the most successful things going.
... snip ...
which also includes a long list of failed legacy system modernization
efforts. Badmouthing legacy systems might just be obfuscation and
misdirection regarding the real source of the problems.
disclaimer: early in the century we gat a call asking us to respond to
an unclassifed BAA (by IC-ARDA, since renamed IARPA) that was about to
close and nobody else had responding to (basically said that the tools
they have didn't do the job). We get response in and then have some
meetings showing we could do what was needed and then it goes silent and
hear nothing more. It wasn't until the above article that we realize
that what was going on (although we wondered why the agency had allowed
the BAA to be released in the first place, possibly some internal
politics were still being played out).
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