A number of issues that plagued Children's Hospital Boston could have been avoided through more planning and communication.

January 20, 2003

4 Min Read
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Lovin' the Lab
Just when I was beginning to think you guys aren't relevant to the kind of environment we face as a small to midsize company, you set up the NWC Inc. lab ("A Start-Up Is Born," Dec. 1, 2002).

You're in a unique position to write about making technology choices based on existing business conditions. Too often it's assumed that if a solution is new or has new features, it should be implemented even if your existing solution is working just fine.

I'll be intrigued to hear what other readers have to say about your technology choices. To mirror a "real" company, I think you made an important choice in going with Microsoft Exchange. We live and breathe Exchange, even if it and Outlook create far too much frustration.

The dichotomy between DB2 and SQL Server is typical in midsize to large companies as well because many decisions are tied to implementing a particular application at the departmental level. But you do have to ask yourself whether you could have cut some costs by running everything off Oracle. (In the glory days of the bubble, you couldn't get venture-capital financing unless your application ran on Oracle.)

Thanks again for a thought-provoking "enterprise."

Rich Snow

IT Director; Mount Auburn Cemetery
[email protected]

Value by Numbers
I appreciate David Joachim's effort in writing "The Business Case" (Dec. 15, 2002). The issue of IT spending probably has such a profound impact on the future of Nasdaq that it's important for accountants worldwide to depart from their conventional thinking. It's high time to come up with a way to quantify value-add in a process flow or a way to quantify productivity improvement.We should go by a universal overhead rate and apply it to person-hours saved by adopting new technology. But the issue is a question of acceptance of such methodology as a standard among management consultants.

Sai Akkanapragada
Software Engineer; Xerox Corp.
[email protected]

Less Pain for Gain

Having lived through a big-bang implementation myself, I feel the pain of the folks at Children's Hospital Boston ("Child Support," Nov. 1, 2002). Much of our pain at Health First was self-inflicted, just as much of CHB's pain appears to have been. In my opinion, a number of issues that plagued the implementation at CHB could have been avoided through more planning and communication.

We implemented PeopleSoft 5.12 in October 1997 and have successfully upgraded the system three times without outside consulting. Additionally, we implemented PeopleSoft Supply Chain using only two or three consultants to assist with functional setup. We planned and managed the implementation internally.

We made it our goal to be a partner with PeopleSoft when the contracts were signed, and that relationship has endured. In 1996, when we began working with PeopleSoft, the company had garnered only a handful of healthcare clients. PeopleSoft committed to the healthcare market then and has more than fulfilled its commitment to date. That's why I was surprised to hear of the difficulties CHB experienced during its implementation. I sincerely hope CHB and PeopleSoft resolve the issues.

Your article also suggested there was a great deal Arthur Andersen could have done better on behalf of its client. I don't know the details of the engagement between CHB and Andersen, but I once heard a wise saying: Don't let the consultants do it to you--let the consultants do it for you.

Ginger Bonham
Financial System Administrator; Health First
[email protected]

Too Smooth Cover
I'm appalled that you would stoop so low as to use a cartoon "IT Camel" on your Dec. 15 cover. Obviously this is a marketing ploy to attract FTYATUs (First Time Young Adult Technology Users). It took months of counseling to get my 16-year-old son to stop configuring our home Linksys firewall/router. Yesterday I caught him in his room with a Cisco. This was due in no small part to your magazine cover and quality content. As a geek and a parent, I beg you, please let our children experience technology on their own; stop using a cartoon character to draw them in at an early age. If you don't, I'm afraid with the excellent staff, reviews and tech articles you provide, in a few short years we could be working for our 19-year-old sons and daughters. Do you want to ask your daughter for a vacation day? Stop IT Camel now before it's too late!

Robert Wingerter
Director of IT; Covansys
[email protected]

In "Warding Off WAN Gridlock" (Nov. 15, 2002), we reported that we'd found a bug in the Allot NetEnforcer AC-302 GUI that reversed FTP direction in the most active clients/servers list. It was not a bug--the display was showing the active FTP protocol exactly as defined. Our testing used active FTP, not passive FTP.

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