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Suspicion aroused as Wellington City Council’s IT response raises more questions

Suspicion aroused as Wellington City Council’s IT response raises more questions

Wellington City Council’s response to a number of information requests by IT consultant and commentator Ian Apperley about the Odyssey ICT project seems to raise as many questions as it answers.

“The scope and requirements for Project Odyssey have been reduced, significantly, which is what I based my plus $100m on originally,” Apperley adds.

“In August 2014 the council talked to Computerworld New Zealand and outlined that there were 120 systems to be replaced, that at least four councils were involved, and that Odyssey was part of a 'three legged' approach to replacing IT. Now, it is only WCC and only 70 systems.”

According to Apperley, the costs still seem very lean.

“It cost the WCC over $2 million to replace their website a year or two ago. It has so far cost them $1.4m just to get to this stage, which if added to the $15.1m makes it $17.5m. Similar projects I have seen cost significantly more, so, I don't believe the figure.

“The wider IT transformation spoken about in August 2014, is certainly going to be a hell of a lot more than what the WCC are stating for Odyssey.

The overlap between Odyssey and the wider computer work is very unclear. The real question is, how much is WCC going to spend on IT transformation over the next few years?”

As a result, Apperley believes questions haven't been answered with WCC seeming to either have lost, or simply not used minutes and other forms of correspondence, at least in respect to this work.

“There is, outside of these questions, a belief that "off the shelf" packages are cheaper,” he adds.

“They are almost never cheaper. They take great modification to operate within a unique business environment. This again drives up cost.

“After de-scoping parts of Odyssey the council is very keen to divorce itself from amalgamation discussion and any other IT projects that it is either part of, or leading.. 'Three legs', remember?”

There is no link, in Apperley’s opinion, between this work and Smart City.

“Governance does not explain how the mayor and councillors will take responsibility to ensure this is a success,” he adds.

“Whatever 'this' is. We have gone from $10m, to more than $15m. That overall price may drive it to full council.

“The answer to "how is it that WCC can say this about our high-tech capital' and then make a decision that appears to be at variance with their strategy to build a high-tech capital, isn't answered.”


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