Child support system in contractor bloodbath

The Government of Queensland’s Department of Child Safety hastaken its integrated client management system (ICMS) back in-houseafter dumping Fujitsu Ltd. and Onyx Software Corp. in a bloodbaththat has seen around 20 contractors marched out the door earlierthis month.

In September 2004, Fujitsu, Onyx and Microsoft Corp. werecommissioned by the Department of Child Safety to deliver thedesign of the Carer Directory, the first of three phases of thenew, integrated client management system based on Onyx CRM andMicrosoft’s .Net technology.

This design was delivered to the department in March 2005, butsince then the project has taken an abrupt turn with staff beingdumped to bring the project back in-house and to also use aMicrosoft CRM package.

According to one source on the project, who requested anonymity,the cost of the system has already exceeded A$44 million (US$32.5million).

The Microsoft coup has seen the termination of 20 contractorsincluding programmers, testers and technical writers, the sourcesaid.

“Fujitsu and Onyx made big shows of getting in on this at thetime, but it seems the mid-2005 deadline has been overshot andMicrosoft has now stepped in,” the source said.

The source said although Microsoft was an original partner whenthe first contract was announced, the release of its own CRMoffering compelled it to push to “substitute the Onyx CRM solutionfor its own”.

A Fujitsu spokesperson said Fujitsu, Onyx and Microsoft hadcontributed “significant time and resources” to assist thedepartment in developing its understanding of the full scope andcost to implement all three phases of the ICMS based on thesuccessfully tendered solution architecture.

“In July 2005, Fujitsu was advised that the department waspursuing an alternative solution, leveraging internal resources,”the spokesperson said. “Fujitsu has had no contact with thedepartment or Microsoft regarding ICMS since this time. Thedecision not to continue with the solution, which was designed byFujitsu, was taken by the department, not by Microsoft.”

In addition to its CRM product, Microsoft has also been givenmost of the services work, and is believed to be “burning throughA$800,000 a fortnight”, according to the source.

Computerworld understands that the cost blowout is due to achange in project scope. Initially, the system was being developedfor the Department of Child Safety.

It is now being expanded across four departments includingDepartment of Communities, its disability support agency, and theDepartment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy.

The Queensland government was unable to officially comment atpress time.

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