Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ontario - Setting the Global Standard on How Not To Spend 1 Billion Dollars

It is called a "learning opportunity", or perhaps a "teachable moment" - how not to spend one billion dollars.

The Ontario government, through arrogance and folly decided that they new best how to pick the market winners, run their own networks, decide on which technologies to approve and which to ignore. Basically, big brother knows best.

So how did that work out for you?

Typically, one would expect that business folks are best at running efficient businesses, network folks are best at running stable networks, doctors are best at practicing medicine, and public officials are good at representing their constituents. We continue to run into trouble when we start mixing up the deck.

Now, as a leading example of what not to do, other nations are noticing:

On the other hand, McMaster University has long maintained an open-source e-health record system called OSCAR, which is already in use in hundreds of clinics in the country. The technology is based on Java, MySQL, PostGreSQL, Tomcat and Linux and the estimated cost of deploying it in all of Canada’s clinics is CAD 20 million (as compared to 1 Billion already spent on eHealth Ontario).

What is most interesting is that the report is written by the Auditor-General of Ontario.

This raises once again the question of what our own National ID project (led by Nandan Nilekani) would look like. While the government should unquestionably hire contractors, willing to do the due diligence for the project, I see no alternative but to develop the solution in an open-source manner and not enslave ourselves to some code-monkey’s bad software.

Via The Indian digital government.

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