No one gets fired for buying Microsoft? Not at the London Stock Exchange!

Simply a great story reaffirming how the failure of technical leadership and fundamental understanding about the need to have a robust underlying technical architecture for something as fundamental stock trading. Compare that fiasco with how the New York Stock Exchange sustains it’s leadership so much so, that the CIO himself is willing and able to go on camera to attest to the robustness of Linux and related technologies. Years ago, it used to be said that “no one get’s fired for buying IBM” and then some tried to replace IBM with Microsoft. Big FAIL.

I am hoping that the decision makers who awarded the Standard Operating Environment of the Singapore government are reading this blog and following those links. I suspect that they are not for they are so blinded and entrenched in a MS worldview. I continue to hear of major defects in the project, massive cost overruns (“oh, that part is not budgetted for.”) and general annoyance at the end user level. Try talking to anyone about the progress of SOE and all you get are snarls and a string of explitives. Wonderful. Almost a billion dollars plunked down for questionable and low quality proprietary software. No empowering of the local economy to help with the system. Wasted tax dollars. #fb


  1. Make a fuss
    Harish, with your deep connections into Parliament could you find a way for your buddies to raise this problem to the masses, as a further example of money not being “well-invested”? This needs to get out further than the techie blogososphere. Thanks.

    • Re: Make a fuss
      Well, the depth is there, but am not sure if they can help. Sad, isn’t? A classmate of mine was lamenting some time back when we got a 2nd classmate become elevated to be a minister that, if this was not Singapore (meaning any other country), we (as in us classmates) could have been milking away with opportunities. Heck, you don’t need a classmate as a minister – a classmate who is a LTC or a BG is enough. But then, this is Singapore. That does not work.
      We need to have a concerted grassroots, non-techie movement to understand and appreciate what is going on. On the whole, there is good governance, but the downside of this is extreme complacency. Complacency to the extent that career civil servants are not challenged enough to see what is irrelevant and needs changing. Perhaps the top leadership (at cabinet-level) might have a clue, but as decisions get made, the translation of that into action by ooh-so-comfortable civil servants gets watered down.
      Singapore’s problem is that we have money. The powers-that-be don’t seem to think twice in spending it on stuff which, despite numerous representations otherwise, can be achieved in far better means (both in terms of cost and architecture).

      • Re: Make a fuss
        Thanks Harish. Traditionally that might’ve sounded like a very uphill challenge i.e. overcome the agency problem and lack of accountability. But then we saw, in the Aware counter-insurgency operation, what can be achieved when a large number of Singaporeans become mad as hell and ain’t gonna take it anymore (TM).
        What the issue needs is the right messaging “hook” and sustained publicity with some “celebrity” sponsors in the right places to achieve critical mass? (see Oh-Oh-XML)

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