Sunday, January 2, 2011

When 1 + 1 = 0

Once upon a time (uh oh, here goes another fairy-ish tale beginning?), there was a state government who, in their quest to cut expenses, decided it was time to outsource their IT operations to a commerical contractor.  Everything about it made sense to the financial folks, who, after all are the brains behind most corporate/government braintrusts.  The reduced benefits structuring costs, the eliminated pensions, the laisse faire employment tenants, all combined with an existing "work-at-will" legal framework, made it a no-brainer.  So the wheels were set in motion.

But there were two major problems this created, which led to yet more problems.

First, the financial golf-player suit guys didn't think it was necessary to involve the IT management folks in their decision-making process.  Technical folks obviously do not possess any useful wisdom for making decisions that impact technical operations.  That domain belongs to the MBA/CPA folks.  So they marched onward and when the plan was catalyzed into full momentum, they generously informed their propellor-capped brethren of their wonderous idea.  The net result of this was a mass exodus of those that were either ready to retired, or possessed the skills and experience to land another job quickly.  The life rafts were left with the lesser skilled and unlucky.  Floating adrift in a void economy as they watched their ship of achievements slowly sink below the rough seas.

Second, with the turmoil of the markets of the time (2007-2008), the chosen contractor was dealing with their own contractions in the Washington D.C. metro area.  Contracts were drying up faster than Joan Rivers' vagina in the desert, and jobs were being cut at a dizzying pace.  Ok, maybe that wasn't nice to say about Joan, but she's not known for being nice to anyone, is she?  And besides: they have medication for that now I'm told.  Ok, moving along…   So, when the last bastion of workforce in the DC area was staring into the abyss, they were calmly told to consider jumping onto the impending state IT contract, or close their eyes and jump, hoping for the best.  Again, those that had the skills and experience to market themselves were off to greener pastures.  The rest were left to consider relocation or sucking on the end of a double-barrel vacation.

The vortex this spun created a combination of the left-behind and the left-behind.  Those motivated by fear with those motivated by fear.  You get the picture.  What sort of "quality" meal might anyone with even an eighth of a functional brain expect to see from such ingredients?  Well, you get this.

To be fair, it's incorrect, inaccurate and illogical to extend the blame of this on other parts of either of these institutions.  The storm is relatively focused and distinct.  It resides in Richmond.  Unfortunately, the ship captains have not yet realized the detrimental impacts this boondoggle has had on their respective marketing efforts.  Their credibility is being picked apart by their competitors, the media, and to some extent the public.  For example, even today (January 2, 1011) the Virginia Dept of Motor Vehicles (DMV) web site is out of commission, as it has been for quite some time.  The reduction in DMV brick-and-mortar locations was pushed by the demand for cost reductions and increased leverage of online services.  Now that these online services are offline, and there are fewer physical locations across the state, the net result is an ugly day at work for many DMV workers.

So, I ask that - whether you are yourself a financial MBA/CPA golfer suit wearing person, or if you know one, that you print out several copies of this article, roll them up into a tight bundled tube, encase it with several turns of duct tape, grip it tightly and beat the living shit out of anyone who says the word "outsource" in a positive tone.  Be sure to follow that up with "and a Happy New Year to you!"

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