Saturday, 28 February 2015

Does your software have wider application?

Some time ago I was talking to a Council department which had a problem.

They had been presented with a new business requirement, and did not have appropriate systems. Budgets were tight, and the purchase of new software was not on the Council’s priority list.

However the department did have an old system, purchased some years before. This did not have the required functionality, but with a bit of squeezing it could be used to record the absolute minimum of information needed for the new function.

So, for the moment, that is what they are doing. They are storing information in their ancient system, against the day when the department gets the software it requires. Which is not ideal, but at least it helps.


In the meantime however, another department did get a budget for new software. The departmental managers looked around and, quite reasonably, bought a modern system with many exciting features. However (as is only too common) they did not consult other departments while selecting their software. Their new system was purchased and installed a while ago.

Then one of the IT staff helping with the installation noticed that the new system had the functionality required by the first department!


Being a Council, however, it is not a straightforward matter to proceed from this point. Ownership of the new system relates to one department, and, after all, the other department is managing to store (but not process) the information in their old system.

So what is going to happen? I don’t yet know – it is too early to tell. Please send me your thoughts on this!


One thing is clear. It never occurred to anyone that the two departments should put their resources together and get a new system which met their common needs.

Would this have happened in business, rather than in a Council?

I wonder.

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