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Software Government The Almighty Buck The Military United States IT Technology

US Air Force Scraps ERP Project After $1 Billion Spent 362

angry tapir writes "The U.S. Air Force has decided to scrap a major ERP (enterprise resource planning) software project after spending $1 billion, concluding that finishing it would cost far too much more money for too little gain. Dubbed the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS), the project has racked up $1.03 billion in costs since 2005, 'and has not yielded any significant military capability,' an Air Force spokesman said in a statement. 'We estimate it would require an additional $1.1B for about a quarter of the original scope to continue and fielding would not be until 2020. The Air Force has concluded the ECSS program is no longer a viable option for meeting the FY17 Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) statutory requirement. Therefore, we are canceling the program and moving forward with other options in order to meet both requirements.'"
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US Air Force Scraps ERP Project After $1 Billion Spent

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  • Ouch. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sorthum ( 123064 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @01:29AM (#41988759) Homepage

    Seems that this is a common theme with ERP rollouts-- scope creep tends to get them all in the end. Granted, most organizations seem to wave off long before the $1 billion mark...

  • jobs program (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @01:38AM (#41988807)

    I know lots of programmers who can get the same result for half the price.

  • Re:Ouch. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:13AM (#41988945)

    I love how each branch of the DoD gets to pick it's own ERP solution. It says Oracle won it over SAP, not that i have a preference but SAP has a showing of being successful in the market via is use in the Navy. With all ERP solutions there are going to be issues, but overall the Navy has been very successful with their SAP deployment.

    Again, why isn't this pushed from the top of the DoD vs. every branch figuring it out and reinventing the wheel each time?

  • That's nothing! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by grumpyman ( 849537 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:30AM (#41988989)
    Compare to our Canadian (1/10 population) gun registry [] it cost up to $2B and scrapped.
  • Re:Ouch. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:35AM (#41989007)

    One has to wonder if the Navy was all that successful or just willing to handle a portion of the job, or willing to settle for half the result.

    You will never know, because those who do have too much ass to cover, and they will be slipping in fixes and upgrades for decades, before deciding the whole thing is too top heavy.

    Systems of this size are grandiose and seldom successful. Not only government fails at systems this big, private industry does as well. But private industry learns from their costly mistakes faster. Google is a good example. They hold a house cleaning each spring and just arbitrarily kill off projects that have no chance of a ROI.

    Its amazing that two world wars were fought with this kind of stuff being handled by people.

  • Re:New project (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:44AM (#41989049)

    Are the victims of drone attacks complaining much about the quality of service?

    Most drone attacks are done by the CIA, not the Air Force. If the Air Force launched the attacks, the results could be second guessed by CIA analysts evaluating satellite photos. But if the CIA both launches the attacks and evaluates the results, it is all wrapped up in a neat little package with no loose strings of accountability.

  • Re:those billions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ThermalRunaway ( 1766412 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:53AM (#41989089)
    Why should it go to social programs? Why cant I just keep my hard earned money for my favorite social program: buying ME beer...
  • Sipping the Kool-Aid (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mschaffer ( 97223 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:02AM (#41989349)

    I wouldn't be surprised that the DoD is encouraging this. In this way, each branch picks their own solution because they need to satisfy so many domestic "interests". (Yes, SAP America contributes to political campaigns and PACs, just like every other large ERP company in the US). Besides, the only reason that anyone has been successful is probably because they are sipping more Kool-Aid and sitting in a circle "reassuring" one another.

  • by mschaffer ( 97223 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:23AM (#41989433)

    ERP is dead because word is on the street: Too many failed or seriously delayed implementations.
    I have seen (first hand) too many institutions decide to implement ERP, pay a tremendous amount of cash, and watch it fail. If it ever does get fully implemented (in a way that was originally envisioned) the institutions have spent so much time and effort to get it running that the institutions have lost their focus because senior management was distracted or the cost of full implementation has affected the bottom line. In some cases, the institution was irreparably damaged or failed.(often surpassed by their competition).

    In theory, ERP is a wonderful thing. In actuality, it can kill.

  • Re:Ouch. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bfandreas ( 603438 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:31AM (#41990145)
    All organizations should streamline their operation before even considering to introduce ERP. They all end up with a massive disaster because their procedures are inconsistent and there are a lot of differences how departments handle the same processes.

    Once you have modelled the 5th separate way to order stionary and the umpteenth vacation policy for a department of 5 you know that you are screwed. I wouldn't speak of a system as such but rather a set of specific exceptions.

    It is always the same pattern. And since you never start small and you never start flexible you will end up with a bloated, slow hairball that approximately does was the customer wants. Not what he needs.
  • Re:Ouch. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:29AM (#41990367)

    "Its amazing that two world wars were fought with this kind of stuff being handled by people."

    World War II was fought using IBM punched card accounting systems. For example, a status card was punched for every US soldier every day.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @12:31PM (#41992493) Journal

    Oh, c'mon ! Pakistan isn't an "allied country". Them Pakis actively support the Talibans.

    We have active drone campaigns against our "allies" Yemen and Somalia.
    Our "allies" in Saudi Arabia, Quatar, and the UAE are notorious for funding terrorism.

    That should tell you a lot about the quality of our "allies" in the Middle East and Asia.

  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian,bixby&gmail,com> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @12:47PM (#41992683)
    And our "ally" Israel has launched terrorist attacks against Americans on US soil, attempted to bomb the offices of a Muslim US senator, has repeated been caught carrying out espionage against our intel agencies and businesses, deliberately feeds false intel to the State department, sells weapons to our enemies, sells our military technology to China, attempted to bomb the Mexican parliament, and boasts about carrying out false flag terrorist attacks so that the US will retaliate against their enemies for them. Hopefully Netenyahu shot himself in the foot with his open endorsement of Romney.

VMS must die!