Sounds bad already
The replacement for the community health index already has a name - and by the seems of it will do something different? I'll call it out as a catastrophe right now.
NHS Scotland is dragging its big iron software into the 21st century by putting out a call for suppliers to replace some very dusty applications, which in some cases are a quarter of a century old. A contract notice for the Mainframe Solutions Transformation Programme was published in the Official Journal of the EU, and the …
A twenty-five year old system must surely be incredibly basic - the state of the art desktop computer back then was the Intel 486DX. Replicating that functionality with modern tools will be quite straightforward.
Of course then some idiot will come along and add tons of superfluous features, and ten years down the line they'll be tendering for the replacement of a thirty-five year old system.
That's actually pretty impressive, to get 25 years out of an application (or applications). Even though they say it's expensive to maintain you can divide the total cost over all those years and I believe you'd be seeing good value. Do you think that could be a requirement in the new invitations to tender? Must last a quarter of a century?
Our company is running a 28 year old MUMPS based accounts system, which we're looking at migrating away from now. The problem I can see coming up is not how to implement a new system that performs the same functions better, in fact I'm looking forward to it. It'll be getting the existing data out of a system that's extremely densely programmed and structured, with few if any comments. Its data is effectively stored in a massive multidimensional array, some fields are obvious, others not so much.
The original developer (it's one bloke) is still around, so should be able to help with some of this. I wonder how many people currently actually administering those NHS systems actually know it inside out? And it's not the only one by a long chalk. I still see terminal sessions when I use my local NHS services.
Some of the ladies as well as the guys that look after it are the same folks since the 90's and are also now retiring one by one, but they have a strong training program for any new comers and their documentation is second to none.
A lot of systems don't need any new fancy screens put on them and that's why there are still Green Screens flying about, some screens have been modernised where it was felt the resources were worth it since we were working in that area anyway. After all screens are just a layer to access the data and nothing more and indicates no fitness for purpose or not
As you say still lots of systems out there, and they are the workhorses so to change any of them is a decision not taken lightly.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022