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Where's The Love?

5:55 PM -- There's a nasty little storm brewing down in North Carolina as state officials get ready to duke it out with IBM over an IT contract gone bad. (See North Carolina, IBM Lock Horns.)

Should this really be happening? Regardless of who is to blame, surely there has been plenty of time to get the contract back on track. After all, the original deal dates back to 1999. Once again, though, this highlights the fact that technology only plays a part in any given IT contract. Once personalities and organizational cultures get involved -- all hell can break loose.

I fear that we have only seen the start of the mud-slinging in this spat. After speaking to state officials and IBM today, I sense that this could be a messy one. Both sides seem prepared to dig their heels in and battle it out. This may be one of those entertaining-from-a-distance spectacles, but what about the hundreds of thousands of students and teachers struggling with the state's archaic computer systems? .

Yes, another cautionary tale that in the world of big bucks and big bytes, it's way too easy to overlook the toll on the actual end users.

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch