Rich Pictures/ CATWOE

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements


1. Answer each of the following questions:

a. Rich pictures are not generally concerned with information systems (at least not directly), so how can they be important for, or even relevant to, information systems analysis?

b. Why is a root definition for a system required to be a single sentence? Wouldn’t this be all
but impossible for real systems of significant complexity?

2. A Problem Situation:

The botched implementation of the Queensland Health IT payroll system is, by any measure, a massive stuff-up by the state’s public service. The $6 million contract to global IT giant IBM is going to cost taxpayers $1.2 billion to fix. Former Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman QC came to that conclusion in his $5 million inquiry report released on Tuesday.
“The replacement of the Queensland Health payroll system takes a place in the front rank of failures in public administration in this country. It may be the worst,” Chesterman says frankly in his report.
Yet the report is almost equally scathing about IBM. It says “Big Blue” may have used underhand tactics to win the lucrative government contract, then walked away with a generous fee despite the
disaster when it “went live”. Three years later, its system is so full of glitches that 800 people are still
employed every fortnight to process 80,000 payslips for Queensland Health.
On Wednesday, Premier Campbell Newman vowed to blacklist IBM from any future government contracts until the company improved its governance arrangements. It was an extraordinary attack and IBM hit back, rejecting the key findings of the Chesterman inquiry, and laid the blame with the former Bligh government for not giving them a proper brief for the project.
“As prime contractor on a complex project, IBM must accept some respons­ibility,” an IBM spokeswoman said. “However, as acknowledged by the ­commission’s report, the successful delivery of the report was rendered near impossible by the state failing to properly articulate its requirements or commit to a fixed scope”.
Whoever is right, the case provides a blueprint of how not to run a big public sector IT project.
In 2002, Queensland adopted the Shared Services Initiative (SSI) centralising administrative services for accounting, human resources and payroll across government departments. A new entity, CorpTech, was set up to help deliver the SSI. But it was clear by 2007 that CorpTech was unable to deliver the SSI on time and budget.
Under-treasurer Gerard Bradley, one of the state’s most senior public servants, was impressed by a review of CorpTech by IT former IBM executive Terry Burns – who, despite an impressive global CV, had no experience of government contracts in Australia – and asked him to fix the problem. Burns told the government to get a private IT contractor to design and deliver the project. The senior bureaucrats jumped at the idea of passing the buck.
As Chesterman noted in his report, Burns, who had gained the confidence of the under-treasurer, became the de facto leader of the procurement process instead of CorpTech. 
Three companies tendered for selection – Accenture, IBM and Logica. Accenture and Logica had been involved in the roll-out of the SSI. Logica had successfully designed and implemented accounting packages to 12 agencies while Accenture had done some work on HR and payroll solutions to the Department of Housing. Yet the government chose IBM, which until then had had little do with the SSI.
The Chesterman inquiry, which examined 60 witnesses over 36 days, casts a spotlight into the murky world of bidding for government contracts. In the case of the SSI, IBM appeared to have an ally in Burns.
“Mr Burns, in the course of his review, displayed a marked and indiscreet partiality for IBM,” the inquiry found. “In the process of evaluating the relative merits of the three tenders, he intervened, as a result of which the assessment changed to favour IBM’s bid.” Burns boasted to the IBM public sector lead for Queensland Lochlan Bloomfield he was a “long-term IBM-er”. He coached IBM that it needed to be more actively involved in the tender process. IBM substantially under-bid for the project, at $98 million, compared to Accenture ($175 million) and Logica ($120 million for one-part of the SSI).
The inquiry heard that during the tender process, IBM employees obtained and misused information from their competitors, sought to use some information confidential to CorpTech and attempted to gain access to its competitor’s bids which had been mistakenly put on a CorpTech G drive.
“This conduct provided substantial and sufficient grounds for excluding IBM from the procurement process,” Chesterman found in his 261-page report. There was a failure of the most basic checks
and balances in the selection of IBM for the SSI and especially for the $6 million health payroll project – the first cab off the rank. There was no probity adviser or conflicts register. Chesterman takes aim at the former Bligh government, which he says was obviously politically motivated in its fast-tracking of the roll-out of the system and its response to the system’s unravelling. The state did not adequately outline to IBM the complex requirements for Queensland Health and its many categories of workers. Then again, IBM did not actively pursue this information to help improve the system, the report found.
When the public relations disaster started to emerge in 2010 – with stories of nurses being underpaid (and, in some cases, overpaid) every fortnight – Anna Bligh and her senior ministers, including health minister Paul Lucas and public works minister Robert Schwarten, were faced with a tough decision. They could either sack IBM and sue them for breach of contract (seeking damages
of perhaps $88 million) or work with them to fix the problems with the IT system which one witnesses to the inquiry describes as a “death spiral”. Against the legal advice of the government’s own solicitors, Bligh chose to work with IBM. The global IT giant was dumped from its control of the SSI across government, but left with fixing the payroll mess in Queensland Health. The Queensland government reached a negotiated settlement with IBM – releasing them from possible legal action arising from the botched payroll system on the condition they helped fix 35 defects.
Yet Chesterman said the rectification of the 35 defects did not give the Queensland government a fully functioning and automated payroll system. “The settlement was driven by the assumption that unless the state settled on the described terms, there was a substantial risk that the payroll system would fail,” it found. “On the evidence available to the state the assumption was wrong.”

Suppose you have been asked to analyze the Queensland Health payroll system disaster to learn from it and with a view to suggesting possible approach(es) that might assist in preventing any similar occurrence in the future at similar events.

a. Construct a rich picture showing the essential elements of the situation that occurred. In developing your rich picture you might take account of the various views of the QLD government, the employees (i.e. Queensland Health), the companies who tendered, CorpTech and anyone else you think are relevant. NOTE: There is no single “right” answer to this! Also note that this is a question to which you may draw by hand, but must be submitted electronically in your tutorial submission.

b. On the basis of your rich picture analysis, what would you identify as the basic problem that caused the health system disaster? Remember, in answering this question, that you are looking for what we referred to in one of the questions in the first tutorial as the root cause(s) 
of the problem, so do not necessarily take at face value the “causes” identified in the description above of the problem situation but rather think more critically and deeply for yourself about what the fundamental issue(s) underlying the disaster might have been.

c. Present a CATWOE analysis for a system (not necessarily an information system), based on your answer to part b, that you would recommend to help prevent this kind of problem occurring again at events of a similar nature.

d. Write a draft root definition for your proposed system.

This question is based on: IBM, Qld slug it out over botched health payroll system – Source: