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Child Support: Page 6 of 15

IT assumed, for example, that Andersen was readying hardware recommendations, and Andersen apparently thought the same of Children's. A scramble ensued in spring 2001 when everyone realized no hardware had been ordered.

"The hardware specs were rushed because IT wasn't involved and then suddenly--bam!--they were in the hot seat," says Ogawa, who adds that Children's probably overspent on the 16 or so servers as a result. "There wasn't enough early planning about architecture."

What happened next tested the patience of the IT department, Ogawa says: The boxes sat idle for more than six months after they arrived in May 2001 because the contract with Andersen was still incomplete.

For its part, PeopleSoft says it provided Children's with written materials that spelled out hardware requirements, albeit generically. Typically, the company says, the customer consults with its preferred hardware vendor and replies to PeopleSoft, which in turn works with the hardware vendor directly to round out the specs (ideally, with customer input and oversight). After the project is fleshed out and transaction volumes are projected, PeopleSoft recommends another round of assessments to "make sure you have the horses to run the race," Wyatt says.

That final interaction never happened. "As the scope of the project changed, Children's didn't revisit the sizing," Wyatt says. "I can't be sure about what happened. Maybe Andersen was saying the initial sizing was OK. But we did offer to come in."