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More innovation please, we’re Canadian!


November 18, 2011

Doug Hadden, VP Products

Been thinking about innovation recently? Innovation for government?

It’s been a recurring theme for me – especially given the strides made by agile software companies like FreeBalance compared to leading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) vendors. Where “innovation” seems to have a very liberal interpretation.

Replace Rust with Rust?

In 2010, the Auditor General of Canada identified the dangers of “aging information systems”. Rust.  The government of Canada is now focused on “shared services” in search of efficiency and agility. And, the get rid of the lack of sustainability of legacy technology.

Many are suggesting that the Government of Canada should standardize on leading ERP vendor products.  Whose technology is 30 or 40 years old.

It’s like Y2K and COBOL déjà vu.

Except with proprietary technology.

No Risk with the new Rust?

Gartner analyst, Andrea di Maio recently asked whether government data consolidation makes any sense, especially in the new era of cloud computing. He points out:

“it appears that shared services are having a hard time. Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria have all had their fair share of issues with shared services, and this is happening quite consistently in other parts of the world. More recently, many have been looking at the bold consolidation decision by the Canadian federal government, which has set a rather aggressive timeframe to consolidate over 300 data centers into 20 and over 100 email systems into one.”

And, data centre consolidation is considered “low hanging fruit”.

I’ve suggested that shared servers isn’t shared services.

The risk of legacy technology shared services is one theme of my Financial Management Institute of Canada (FMI) presentation next week: “seizing the shared services opportunity”.

A similar attempt in a G7 country has so far cost over $1 Billion. With a “B”. So far.

Moving the  Innovation Goal Posts

Some of you may wonder what I’m on about. Surely, these large vendors have the most modern whizz-bang stuff. The four leading providers are entrenched in legacy technology. Three of these vendors struggle with integrating their own products. The other seems to have challenges integrating with the web.

None of these billion dollar vendors have re-designed core software for the modern era.

We have.

None of these billion dollar vendors have designed software specifically for government shared services.

We have.

We applaud Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s commitment to innovation:

“I think it’s an exciting time for vendors. We’re asking for their assistance, we’re asking for their participation, their ingenuity, their innovation and creativity, we’re asking for all those things and we want them to be partners with us as we move the goalposts.”

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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