Friday, October 25, 2013

The Affordable Care Act Website “Fiasco”

During the early 1950s I worked for a large manufacturing company – I believe there were over 4,000 employees.
The company bigwigs prided themselves on being in the forefront of technology, so the decision was made to upgrade the data processing system, as it was called in those pre-IT days, to take advantage of the new equipment and methods which had been developed during wartime.
After many months of planning by highly trained analysts, a new system for streamlining the order processing, shipping and billing procedures was ready to go. The changeover was scheduled to take place over a weekend. Haha.
Now I am speaking about a rather large system: this company was shipping fifty freight-car-loads and over 200 truckloads of product each day. One can see that any delay would cost big bucks.
For three weeks not one item of product left the plant! Those individuals responsible for installing the system were working over 100 hours per week in order to get it going!
After the system finally was up and running, and it did work well after the bugs were out, those same individuals were working somewhere else.
The point is – the system was a massive disaster at first, but eventually the problems were solved. But it took time.
You can write this as an immutable fact: People who expect a large, complicated system to work from the get-go are only fooling themselves. The analyst can only prepare for those events most likely to cause a problem, but he can never anticipate every possible thing that could go wrong.
Although the above case was relatively large, it is dwarfed by the size of the ACA website. And there is one additional complicating factor: The ACA analysts are working for the government. It is highly likely that by the time they really got into the project, they were faced with innumerable suggestions and demands from countless paragons of self-interest, otherwise known as Congresspersons.
In spite of its huge size, the ACA website does not appear to contain any problems which have not already been solved years ago by, say, the IRS, the Pentagon and numerous other entities, both public and private.
But it will take time.
 My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.


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