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Accenture Faces Mid-March Healthcare.gov Deadline Or 'Disaster' 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-you're-looking-forward-to-continued-drama dept.
PapayaSF writes "TheHill.com reports that Accenture has two months to fix HealthCare.gov by building a 'financial management platform that tracks eligibility and enrollment transactions, accounts for subsidy payments to insurance plans, "provides stable and predictable financial accounting and outlook for the entire program," and that integrates with existing CMS and IRS systems.' The procurement document, posted on a federal website, states that if this is not completed in time, there will be 'financial harm to the government' and 'the entire healthcare reform program is jeopardized.' Risk mitigation (which pays insurers who enroll a higher-than-expected number of sick patients) must be accurately forecast, or it might put 'the entire health insurance industry at risk.' Accenture will also have to fix the enrollment transmissions, which have been sending inaccurate and garbled data to insurance companies. Because the back-end cannot currently handle the federal subsidies, insurers will be paid estimated amounts as a stopgap measure. The document also said that officials realized in December that there was no time for a 'full and open competition process' before awarding Accenture the $91 million contract. What are their odds of success?"
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Accenture Faces Mid-March Healthcare.gov Deadline Or 'Disaster'

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  • Open source (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:16AM (#46003603)

    Why is government software like this thing not open source? What is the motivation for it being closed source?

    • Re:Open source (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @03:04AM (#46003775) Homepage

      Money.

      • by hey! (33014)

        This is bound to be true, but not necessarily in the way people think.

        Suppose you're the Department of Health and Human Services, and you've been tasked with developing and fielding Healthcare.gov. You turn to your crack team of in-house developers of massively scalable consumer-facing web data processing systems.... except you don't have one. You don't even have people experienced with *procuring* such a system. This is for your whole agency a once-in-a-lifetime event.

        So, you turn to contractors. Howev

    • Who are Accenture? (Score:5, Informative)

      by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @03:16AM (#46003807)
      Accenture, from the multinational corporation formerly known as Arthur Andersen, changed their name after the Enron scandal, formerly residents of tax haven Bermuda, now residents of tax haven Ireland http://www.forbes.com/sites/taxanalysts/2013/11/06/if-ireland-is-not-a-tax-haven-what-is-it/ [forbes.com] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Andersen#Enron_scandal [wikipedia.org]
      • by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @04:01AM (#46003941)

        Accenture worked on the Australian Taxation Offices "Change Program", which cost billions and was a debacle. From the moment that they got the contract it was all about trying to progressively descope so that they had to deliver less and less. They delivered a fraction of what they said they would and many years late.

        But then they have a habit of employing smart young non-techies and then putting them in technical positions, and work practices that border on a cult.

        Why anyone would throw money at these clowns is anyone's guess.

        • by Tom (822) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @04:59AM (#46004071) Homepage Journal

          Why anyone would throw money at these clowns is anyone's guess.

          Because they are highly respected in management circles. You get the tech view on them and I have to agree that I would never, ever, ever hire them unless you put a gun to my head or something equivalent. But management thinks differently. From what I've grasped, they deliver excellent work, as far as management is concerned - that means regular status updates in easy-to-digest powerpoint slides, solid contract work, and instantly available expertise (if you tell them you need an expert on your big-ass storage system, tomorrow, they'll fly someone in and send you a bill).

          All of these and many similar things are like miracles to a beleaguered manager who needs to save his neck from the management layer above him who's asking for his head in order to save their own.

          • by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @06:19AM (#46004271)

            True, although the expert will often as not turn out not to be, and they will make decisions that will haunt you for years.

            Not that the competition is any better.

            • Management is a very different skillset to technical work, but I'm in the camp that says you can't manage something without enough of a clue about how it works to at least hire good specialists at the top of the tree.

              A lot of the time, what we see in these kinds of situations is government people who are experts on general management and/or politics trying to hire commercial people who are experts on building technical tools, but actually hiring commercial people who are experts on sales tactics, contract l

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @06:54AM (#46004369)

            Good at management? Ok here is a story from Norway, I won't name names but I personally know the lead developers of the project. Accenture was hired by DNB to work on a pension system, worth "billions". The application was utter crap, atleast the lead developer said so. So one day DNB (which had employees in Accentures offices due to the project) came and had some change requests – Accenture's management estimated it would require 2000 man hours to complete the task (pulled a random number out of their frickin' management ass). At the same time DNB's person in Accenture's offices had contacted the lead developer and asked him about this change also. He fixed the issue even before Accenture's management had the opportunity to talk with him, 8 hours spent.

            Accenture is nothing but a fuckin' scam, good at snake oil talk – officials working with this company is probably very very incompetent or even worse corrupt.

          • by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @07:53AM (#46004517)
            I worked with a customer that used them for building a new data mgmt system. Instead of guiding the team to starting with the basic structure and build on it, they wanted to map every conceivable use. A huge amount of time/money wasted on hypothetical data structures and unneeded complication. But, as you said, they had executive mgmt sold that they were the right company. They have good salesmen.

            Unless they are replicating an existing system, I wouldn't use them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          My wife used to work for Accenture.
          The culture is typically bounding "consultants" which jump into a project, and then within 1 month jump to another project, in order to pump up their list of successful projects & plump up their personal resume .. without ever contributing any real work to a project.

          This project is doomed.

        • But then they have a habit of employing smart young non-techies and then putting them in technical positions

          They were one of the few companies that hired people with no experience and trained them on the job. Not sure what you talking about cult work practices. From what I saw people would eventually leave the company after a few years to get a better salary.

          • They were one of the few companies that hired people with no experience and trained them on the job.

            Actually, it's their customers who train them on the job, while paying a kilodollar a day for the privilege.

            Not sure what you talking about cult work practices.

            Maybe the expectation of you doing an 80 hour week (they'll bill the customer for every minute) while paying you a flat salary. Or the up-or-out mentality, where it's all about becoming a partner - at which you get a cut from all the little peopl

      • by jonbryce (703250) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:43AM (#46004193) Homepage

        Andersen Consulting split off from Arthur Andersen a few years before the Enron scandal.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @07:48AM (#46004501)

        Nice paranoid conspiracy theory. The same Wikipedia article to which you link contains the facts: Accenture is not Arthur Anderson; it's the renamed Anderson Consulting, which split off from AA in 1989, 12 years before the Enron scandal. AC had nothing to do with the Enron contract; that was all AA. The renaming of AC to Accenture was due not to a PR decision by AC, but to a 2000 court order in AA's favor, awarding AA all rights to the "Andersen" name. AA subsequently renamed themselves "Andersen." all this took place the year before the scandal came out.

        The Enron scandal took down AA; their involvement as the actual shredders destroyed their reputation. Accenture, having nothing to do with it, was largely unaffected and unharmed.

      • Accenture changed its name from Andersen Consulting and broke from Arthur Anderson in Jan 2001. The Enron scandal happened in October 2001.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Spy Handler (822350)

      Are you insane? What free software contributor would want to wade through 10,000+ pages of Obamacare? Somebody actually printed it out, and you need a forklift to move it around. And that's just Obamacare, there are mountains of other gov't health/tax/payroll regulations to go through before you write a single line of code.

      Open source is only possible for software that developers want to make, where the developers determine the features. Nobody in the universe is masochistic enough to sit through meetings d

      • Re:Open source (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:25AM (#46004141)

        Are you dense? Do you think Open Source means that people work for free? Accenture (or some other contractor) would implement it, get payed by the Government and put it on Github for example. Anyone could identify problems and point them out. The requirement of open source and an open process would be a requirement from the Government.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        ..its entirely possible for the government to put a simple line into the RFQ...

        *implementation must be open source and the contractor hands over all ownership and copyright of the product

        now, without that line.. they have them by the balls, basically. and the headline is incorrect.. it's not disaster for accenture at all, it's a disaster for the government only.

    • Re:Open source (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Gumbercules!! (1158841) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:22AM (#46004133)
      I would assume the simply tendered out the process and got a bunch of quotes (tender responses) from companies on the government preferred supplier list. Any companies not assumed "big enough" were discounted out of hand. Then they would have had 2 or 3 left over (because at the very start of the process, they would have decided to immediately short list down to 2 or 3 people at most because bigger numbers than that is too hard to comprehend) and had some presentations from them about their success stories and then asked themselves "who was the cheapest?" and "who have I heard of before?".

      That's how it works here in Australia, anyway.
    • by knarf (34928)

      Knowing the company behind this boondoggle I guess the reason the code is not open source is to protect the innocent developers who might otherwise happen to get a glance of said code to their eternal detriment and damnation. Snow crash for real...

    • I suspect the real reason is about avoiding criticism and related issues... they (both the government and the contractor) don't want bloggers going through and finding all the skeletons in their code closets and them looking like a bunch of idiots. Especially considering that even good code can be criticized, and the government much less the news outlets are hardly capable of telling valid criticisms from nit-picky ones.
  • How do you fix a Rube Goldberg foundation under a building? You demolish it and start over.

  • Two months? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tftp (111690) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:21AM (#46003619) Homepage

    Two months is barely enough to understand the problem and to start reading top level documents. Not even looking at the code. Most of those tasks are system-level, and it will be essential to understand what data formats each of those entities wants - before some poor code monkey is given signed requirements to generate that data.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Accenture isn't a technology consultancy they are a management/operational excellence company, they farm technology work out to Avanade. This has no chance of being a complete success, but Avanade is decent.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Two months is not even enough to organize the people doing it. For a project this size, it is amazing if anything productive gets done after 6 months.

  • 0% (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nova Express (100383)

    No chance at success. Just like the rest of ObamaCare, a misconceived piece of legislation that managed to take a market plagued by serial distortions of preferential tax treatment for third-party insurance and actually make them worse by larding on an individual mandate and even larger subsidies to insurance companies.

    And the worst is yet to come, when some 80 million additional employer-sponsored policies are cancelled [foxnews.com].

    The failure of the website is just the cherry on top of incompetent conception, plannin

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by reboot246 (623534)
      In other words, it's working just like it was planned. The goal was to destroy the health insurance companies and then go to a single-payer system. The disaster will come when that is realized. When your health care is in the control of the government, the government has you by the balls. Sounds great, huh?
      • Re:0% (Score:4, Insightful)

        by abirdman (557790) * <abirdman@main e . rr.com> on Sunday January 19, 2014 @11:22AM (#46005369) Homepage Journal
        I fail to see how placing control of health care in the hands of government is more scary than having health care in the hands of piranha-capitalist medical care organizations. Healthcare Inc. is an extremely powerful and vicious adversary, bankrupting millions every year, and basically preying on the weakest and sickest among us. I've worked in a side industry (medical malpractice insurance) for 20 years, and I know the entire medical industry is a vicious money-grab from bottom to top.

        I'll take my chances with the government over any possibility of getting a fair deal from the likes of big-pharma, big-hospital, big-insurance. The logic of this choice becomes more clear the closer to retirement age we get, or the less healthy we get. A thirty year-old who contracts a leukemia that would have been fatal 30 years ago may likely be saved from the disease today, but their finances will likely never recover-- even if they're insured. By the time we're 75, we'll basically be signed over to the system, healthy or not. Would you rather petition the government or UnitedHealthcare? I'll take the former, though I respect those who choose the latter.
    • Re:0% (Score:5, Informative)

      by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @09:13AM (#46004701)

      ...And the worst is yet to come, when some 80 million additional employer-sponsored policies are cancelled [foxnews.com]

      Is this a realistic prediction? I ask because your link is almost two months old, it's a Fox News story with the usual bias against the administration, and the underlying "facts" come from the American Enterprise Institute, of whom George W. Bush gushed, '"I admire AEI a lot--I'm sure you know that," Bush said. "After all, I have been consistently borrowing some of your best people."' And we know how that administration turned out.

      I'm not looking for Rachel Maddow's take, but how about something within the last month, from a source that's not rabidly anti-Obama?

      Thanks.

  • Slim..... and None (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kenwd0elq (985465) <kenwd0elq@gmail.com> on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:24AM (#46003627)

    Especially for Accenture, a company with a fairly consistent record for failure in large IT projects, especially for government IT projects.

    But at that, the chances of something that can be spun as "successful" are greater for Accenture than for Deloitte. Not by much.... but some.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:25AM (#46003629)
    It's Accenture. They write contracts DESIGNED to make a profit if they fuck up.
    I know the name change had reasons other than getting away from the bad reputation of Andersons, but it did have that side effect. If they have a front page for a week fuckup it won't kill them but I bet they'll change their name.
  • Close to 100% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:26AM (#46003633)

    It'll be "good enough". Accenture built the California site, which works fine, and the insurers really want it to work, so they'll accept less than perfect.

    Of course, the summary is designed to make everyone say "THERE'S NO CHANCE!!" It's kind of insulting in its blatant demagogy, but I've come to expect that here.

    • If they really plan on doing it in two months, then the only way they can reach that deadline is by tacking together pre-existing parts, or by debugging code that is mostly working already.

      If they are planning on writing major pieces of the system, or even relatively minor pieces, then there really is no chance they will succeed. At two months, if they are planning to design, code, and test more than 20,000 lines, it's going to be very difficult.
      • Re:Close to 100% (Score:5, Interesting)

        by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @03:37AM (#46003861)

        Two months isn't a real drop dead date. They'd certainly like it to be done by then, but it's not like everything gonna go down in flames if the insurers only get estimated payments, with adjustments coming in a couple quarters.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ganjadude (952775)
          Exactly. Obama will just decree that they can have more time, breaking his own laws once again
          • by ganjadude (952775)
            why would this be modded down? Obama has a history of breaking the law. He cannot simply grant extensions and wavers from the law, or grant extensions to the law yet he continues to do so in regards to ACA. Between delaying the employee mandate, to delaying the signup date.

            someones sig says it best, troll != i disagree
            • Not to burst your bubble, ganjadude, but the reality is that Obama is not "breaking the law" in making the changes he has. Specifically, the law itself - you know the actual legislation - does not have all of these dates hard-coded. Typically, it just allows the secretary of HHS to establish them. If not, the House Republicans would already be drafting their impeachment articles.
  • Disaster for who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jaymzter (452402) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:40AM (#46003677) Homepage

    I think the headline writers are a bit confused on who exactly is facing the disaster here, and it's certainly not Accenture.

  • by The Cat (19816) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:48AM (#46003707)

    There is no longer any point to these discussions of American inability to accomplish anything useful.

    1. Fifteen years ago, Americans cheered as their neighbors were fired en masse while their retirement accounts were savaged by the dot com crash and corporations helped themselves to armloads of taxpayer cash.

    2. Eight years later, Americans cheered as their still unemployed neighbors were thrown from their homes by bald-faced institutional fraud while corporations helped themselves to armloads of taxpayer cash.

    3. Now, Americans cheer as their government passes, then ratifies a plainly unconstitutional monstrosity which deprives millions of families of affordable health care while corporations help themselves to armloads of taxpayer cash.

    Americans once valued education and competence. Americans followed people they respect. American leaders took care of the people they led.

    But the word "American" no longer has any meaning to the people who live in this country. The average person is embarrassed to claim the name "American." Those who do are reviled, jeered and looked on with suspicion.

    We have completely forsaken our integrity, our parents, our country and everything it ever stood for. Flying the flag over the narcissistic wreck this country has become is nothing short of blasphemous.

    The men who died at Appomattox, and Normandy, and Lexington and the Somme died for nothing. We have abandoned our neighbors to the winds and freed our government to claim any power it wishes and to use it however destructively it wishes without even the slightest electoral consequence. America no longer has a soul.

    And that is why all the king's horses and all the king's men can't build a web site.

    • Lot's gets accomplished in the US.

      It's the US government that can't accomplish anything but ever grander clusterfucks.

    • Why is Obamacare unconstitutional?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by The Cat (19816)

        1. Under the tenth amendment, the Federal government has no constitutional authority to manage or otherwise regulate the health care market. The Supreme Court directly and unanimously rejected their Commerce Clause justification.

        There is no such thing as an interstate health care market. In fact, practicing medicine across state lines is a felony in all 50 states, even if you have a medical license elsewhere.

        2. The only way the Supreme Court could possibly ratify the Affordable Care Act was to declare it

        • 1. Under the tenth amendment, the Federal government has no constitutional authority to manage or otherwise regulate the health care market. The Supreme Court directly and unanimously rejected their Commerce Clause justification.

          It wasn't unanimous. Some of the justices accepted the commerce clause justification [wikipedia.org].

        • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @11:30AM (#46005419)

          But... you sound like one of those "The government doesn't have authority to levy income tax" whackos.

          If the supreme court ruled it was legal, there is zero chance the supreme court is going to come back and say it tried the case illegally. Even if you are correct- which you probably are not.

          And if the supreme court said it's constitutional- then it's constitutional. Full Stop.

          It may suck in other ways. It may be poorly implemented. It was definitely passed in a slackdash way.

          But you are wasting your life energy and merely looking irrational continuing to pursue this particular line of argument.

          • by khallow (566160)

            And if the supreme court said it's constitutional- then it's constitutional.

            No, it merely means that they said it's constitutional and official processes mostly stop - unless Congress cares enough to start removing Supreme Court justices. At this point, it'll have to be at the ballot box. Frankly, I think the process will take a long time, if ever, because resistance is diffuse and uncoordinated, and a lot of people are ok with unconstitutional law as long as it favors themselves.

    • by khallow (566160)

      ...Americans cheered...

      Didn't happen. Looks to me like your definition of "cheering" is so loose that even you can be considered to be "cheering" for these things.

  • by IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:50AM (#46003711) Homepage
    How is it that we landed men on the moon in ten years, but we can't write some web applications in six years? Or consider that the US involvement in the second world war was just four years, enough time for us to develop two different kinds of nuclear weapons, as well as build vast numbers of ships and airplanes that actually worked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      1) Both World War II and the Apollo program had larger budgets and
      2) the delivery deadline was not flexible and was not adjusted even when it was clear the project could not be delivered as expected. E.g. D-day airdrops over Normandy were delayed because of fog. Might have been more expensive (in soldiers and $$) if the airdrops were performed regardless of the weather because the political cost of delaying it was considered too high.

      I guess it's Slashdot so there are a lot of poorly thought-out quips by

      • by khallow (566160)

        but really, why is everyone taking this as proof of US Gov't ineptitude?

        Because it is a demonstration of US government ineptitude.

        Anyone with experience in large projects should know it's, at best, a 50-50 chance that any given project will succeed.

        Why do you think such failure is not a sign of ineptitude just because it is common?

    • by Megane (129182)
      Because landing men on the moon was done by engineers, to solve a problem based on scientific principles like orbital mechanics. This is being done by non-engineers, to solve a problem based on legalese crap crammed in by lobbyists. (But they're the best non-engineers that money can buy!) It's all about the A-ark types vs the B-ark types.
    • by gweihir (88907)

      Landing somebody on the moon is easier. Simple as that. There is a reason 50% of software projects still fail.

    • by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @09:38AM (#46004801)

      How is it that we landed men on the moon in ten years, but we can't write some web applications in six years?

      NASA engineers didn't have non-technical stakeholders telling them what features the rockets should have. And the NASA engineers were employees at the top of their field not a collection of consultants put together by an outside firm.

      Have you ever seen the episode of the Simpsons where Homer designs a car? Imagine that, except with a committee of politicians. Reckon you could fly to the moon in something they had a hand in?

  • The government has a real chance of learning the lesson that pieces of paper containing the words 'A will do B or else C' for various combinations of A, B and C, are nowhere near as effective as an imaginary fairy with a wand when it comes to actually getting stuff done. If real fairies with real, working magic wands were an option, it would most likely work much better than the current approach, but alas all the fairies were driven out long ago by the forces of insistent scientists demanding that fairy magic has no place in a modern scientific world. 'Suit yourself,' said the Fairy Queen, 'we thought we were doing you a favour, seriously, it's better where we come from, magic works properly there, and we're only too happy to oblige!' So the Fairy Queen and all the magic fairies and their magic wands disappeared into the sunset, and the US government was left with only paper, letters and no magic spell power besides 'contractual terms' to allow the pieces of paper to have any useful effect.

    • The government has a real chance of learning the lesson that pieces of paper containing the words 'A will do B or else C' for various combinations of A, B and C, are nowhere near as effective as an imaginary fairy with a wand when it comes to actually getting stuff done.

      Yeah, the government might learn it, but then those people will leave office. The question is, will the American public learn it?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, it's a $91 million dollar contract on a two month timeline.

    Let's say there is a profit margin in there, of 50%, so cost is 45.5 million

    Let's say it's really important, and everybody works 60 days.

    That is over 750,000 per day.

    If we average $4,000 (total guess) per day per project team member, we have 190 people on the team.

    Who the hell can organise 190 people on a two month project.

    How has this been estimated?

    Can anyone else make the numbers work??

    • by gweihir (88907)

      The numbers do not work. A project this size needs something like 6-12 months to become organized and start to be productive. And that is with all experienced and capable staff.

      This will take at the very least 2 years. Even if given that time, the odds are strongly against success.

  • ... tiny. Minute. About the same as for any monster project, e.g. here in Vienna the project that was retrofit the entire IT landscape, software and hardware, in one giant project. Awarded to IBM. Who majestically botched it.
    • Typo. I omitted half of the project description. It should read "... the entire IT landscape, software and hardware, of the city's main hospital, which is publicly funded.
  • Besides the jokes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:14AM (#46004111)
    Accenture (and the like) image in IT departments (technical side) is often illustrated thanks to some jokes, like the famous Why did the chicken cross the road? [math.kth.se]. While the IT department usually delivers practical and tangible services, these "consulting companies" made their way up to the management. The management, IT illiterate, is always keen on overpaying some comforting but useless lengthy overpriced reports from such a consulting company, stacked later on at the bottom of a cabinet, having a sticky note inserted on page 3/1000, page where the reader gave-up reading. Useless reports aimed at influencing high level decisions at the management level, that may not have a direct or lethal impact on IT productivity. Besides the heavy cost embedded in the management budget, usually no one really cares. The problem arises when a big entity, IT illiterate, does not have a solid IT structure yet, and assigns full responsibility to such a "consulting company" to manage a new IT service, from A to Z.
  • It's very easy:

    From Accenture's managerial point of view, it will be a huge success.

    From the government's point of view, it will be a massive failure.

    And the real losers are the american citizens.

  • Let the one who has never missed a deadline throw the first stone...

    Large healthcare IT ventures are notoriously hard. Yes, screwups were made, but lets not stamp everyone that worked on this project into the ground. It's good to level criticism at those involved to show them we are not pleased at what was delivered, but they are humans, and despite what you believe there are plenty of hard working, smart people working at these boring and incredibly hard government projects.

  • It's very hard to automate a broken idea.

  • Even reasonable tests for bugs would take longer than they have, modeling, prediction, fixing architecture, design and implementation - no chance at all. I would estimate this will take at the very least 2 years and possibly as long as 5. Even if it takes 5 years, there is a real possibility it will have completely failed at the end.

    I predict that Accenture will fail to deliver, but will make off with the money anyways, possibly after having gotten significantly more.

  • by BlackHawk-666 (560896) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Sunday January 19, 2014 @10:03AM (#46004925) Homepage

    Good old Accenture. I remember having to work with those clowns on the London Stock Exchange website. Our small company had been running it since day 1 but due to a deal between Accenture, Microsoft and HP we were slowly being pushed out of our position. They decided to let the Accenture guys handle running the website which led to a few funny events, the best of which were:

    1. Our team noticing the website had stopped serving pages for price information. We rang their team who were supposedly monitoring it 24/7 and told them. They asked what they should do...uh, so I said "Just IISReset the server, it should come back up". Their highly paid tech then asked me..."how do I IISReset it?"...oh god, no!

    2. Accenture wanted to push a change out to part of the site. They let their best and brightest do the work. Instead of copying over the files he somehow managed to delete the 15 minute delayed price site. They then tried to blame that on us, but when I mentioned in the emergency meeting that we no longer logged on to perform maintenance and we could simple check the security log to see who did it they clammed up.

    3. The same idiot who deleted prices went and deleted the entire website by mistake. We laughed, a lot.

    What's that old line..."Accenture, taking the freshest recruits straight from college and putting them in charge of your billion dollar enterprises." :D

  • "What are their odds of success?" We're talking about Accenture, so it's an easy question to answer: Zero. Worst company I ever worked for by far. In six months, people are going to miss CGI.
  • I still call them Anderson Consulting, because they don't deserve to get away from the stench of the Enron disaster.

    -jcr

  • by us7892 (655683) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @11:40AM (#46005529) Homepage

    * Accenture will realize the problem is much worse than they first realized, or that they chose to admit (by choice.)
    * The first two months they will have actually done very little. Perhaps created a plethora of new documentation.
    * Accenture will have extended the contract several more times, the new total amount will be near 250 million dollars.
    * Additional exceptions to the law will help to extend the contract so that changes can be implemented, and deadlines will simply keep moving.
    * The whole system will operate in pretty much the same way it does today.

    Accenture will not be at fault, however. They were just trying to fix the problem. And there just was not enough time and money. Then begins another year. Start the whole process again...

    Eventually,this will all go down as a miserable failure. But don't underestimate the amount of dollars that can be wasted along the way.

    Then begins phase 2, under Hillary Clinton most likely. Give it another try, why not?
  • I know of at least one project bunged up by Accenture. That why they're called Accidenture: http://accidenture.com/ [accidenture.com]
  • I'm sure they'll bring the same level of skill and professionalism to this task as they do all their other contracts!
  • follows the "Hollywood Blockbuster" management style. You know where the guys in the trenches try to tell the higher ups what's going wrong and are ignored.(And if they were listened too there would be no problems and the movie would be over in the first 15 minutes.) Only through heroic efforts by the grunts do things work out and only in the last 15 minutes of the film, err I mean the last 10% of development time. I would bitch about that but then I'm reminded I work for a company that isn't part of the go
  • Accenture has two months to fix HealthCare.gov

    Two months? For large, non-trivial projects, two months is nothing. A month will go by just trying to learn what the fuck is going on under the hood, and a few more weeks just to get everybody to get ready for the first milestone out of many that need completion.

    If this shit can be fixed in two months, theneither the previous contractor was close to finishing (and thus it made no sense to add more uncertainty and risk by changing contractors), or this shit is/was trivial to begin with.

    The other possibil

    • Yup. Two months is insane for such a project.

      Smacks of decrees from non-technical executives who know nothing about the technology they are "leading".

      Isn't this the reason the original project was such a mess? Bizarrebitrary deadlines imposed from the top with no recognition of engineering reality?

      At least it will be a quick march to the death (only two months) not a protracted one.

  • It would only be worse if it was Infosys. Accenture people are merely incompetent, while Infosys people are both incompetent and lazy.

  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @06:37PM (#46008497)
    If you know competent Accenture employees, persuade them to quit.

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