Thursday, October 10, 2013

CGI Federal

Who is CGI Federal?  Good question.  As it turns out, they run the most expensive website in history, at a price tag of over $634 million dollars, to design and build the website for the rollout of Obamacare.  Their Wikipedia page lists them as a Canadian multi-national company.  As an IT giant, they've got their own webpage, which tells us that they can
Providing timely, accurate, secure and personalized information through a consistent, easy-to-navigate interface.
Which explains why healtcare.gov has been so easy to navigate.  According to Digital Trends:
The site itself, which apparently underwent major code renovations over the weekend, still rejects user logins, fails to load drop-down menus and other crucial components for users that successfully gain entrance, and otherwise prevents uninsured Americans in the 36 states it serves from purchasing healthcare at competitive rates – Healthcare.gov’s primary purpose. The site is so busted that, as of a couple days ago, the number of people that successfully purchased healthcare through it was in the “single digits,” according to the Washington Post.
This entire rollout looks like waste, fraud, and abuse to me.  $634million is a lot of money to spend on a website that doesn't work.

It may not be all CGI's fault, though.  Silicone Angle reports that other contractors were involved, but that the launch was still an unbridled disaster.  Go read the whole thing at the link, but the site shows a decided lack of planning.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is about as ugly any kind of site deployment gets.  They had three and a half years to get this right, do better and more testing.  They have failed miserably and they are handling it miserably.  There clearly should have been more testing, and with all due respect to Matthew Hancock, discovering these issues was as easy as using some freely available plugins to a free web browser used by millions of people around the world.  That’s pretty sad.  Now, there are ways to fix it using technology – Application monitoring, machine data, DevOps, Big Data – those are all things that could help.

This thing wasn't ready to trot out, but they felt they had to launch it to preserve our President's signature achievement.  So far, that achievement has been a flop, which to my way of thinking perfectly epitomized the Obama presidency.

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