back to article UK council dodges £100k hosting bill, opts for £6.5 million ERP migration

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is tendering for a new £6.5m ERP system after balking at the £100,000 annual price hike for continuing to run its hosted Oracle E-Business Suite solution. The council is in the market for a hosted software system that will support a more user-friendly UI and improved business …

  1. DavCrav

    "UK council dodges £100k hosting bill, opts for £6.5 million ERP migration"

    "The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is tendering for a new £6.5m ERP system after balking at the £100,000 annual price-hike for continuing to run its hosted Oracle E-business suite solution."

    So which is it? £100k bill, or £100k increase? Paying £6.5m to avoid £100k/year feels silly, but paying £6.5m to avoid a bill that goes up by £100k/year from a presumably quite high base, is incredibly sane.

    1. Robert Grant

      Yeah, the headline is written by an Oracle contractor, I assume.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Have I missed something, why don't they do as Brent did?

    3. Tomato Krill

      The artie explains they currently share hosting costs with a other borough and that borough is leaving the deal so they'll be left with their share of hosting costs too - an additional 100k.

      Which, frankly, doesn't strike me as a lot for hosting the ERP handling operations of an entire borough council but what do I know...

      1. DavCrav

        "The artie explains they currently share hosting costs with a other borough and that borough is leaving the deal so they'll be left with their share of hosting costs too - an additional 100k."

        That again is a different statement from both of those. So now there are three mutually exclusive statements in the article. Nice.

  2. Chris Hills

    A new one will not help

    I have seen it time and time again, companies changing back and forth between systems over time. If only they maintained the system they had properly, they would not need to keep procuring a new one. Whilst in this case they claim the cost is the reason, I expect the cost is down to all the bodges they have put in place rather than having competent people working on it who understand the data and processes properly. Switching your ERP is a massive undertaking, costly and prone to unforeseen problems. If they actually save any money over the first 10 years I will eat my hat.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: A new one will not help

      I blame the management. So it's boring running a perfectly good IT system that's been snagged, bedded in and everything's ticking over nicely. Just keeping an eye on things simply isn't as attractive on a CV as 'managed a £50m IT/ERP transformation programme generating millions in cost savings'.

      Then making sure to jump ship with that freshly embellished CV, and before it becomes obvious what a shit-show the migration ended up being.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        and everything's ticking over nicely

        ... except for some legal or regulatory change, security flaw or something that can't be fixed when the vendor or upstream maintainer stops providing support at any price. This is a problem, but it's not normally caused by gung-ho, oh-shiny obsessed management; they'd rather run systems well past their use-by-date into the ground and maximise the return on investment (even if that means an increasing manual workload on the staff making do with the zombie corpse of a once adequate system).

        Not helped by the fact that phase 2 never happened anyway. The one with all the really useful improvements to make things easier/more accurate/etc.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: A new one will not help

      A typical procedure for vendors is to make the initial price cheap and then ramp up the costs over the years as they think you don't have the stomach to move to another vendor.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A new one will not help

      You need to understand local government. They most likely do or did have competent people looking after the system, yet a new director will come in who'll convince the council (councillors) they can save them money by moving to a new system. The current system admins will point out "No you can't" will be silenced or "Made redundant" and a new system will be ushered in.

      It will expose exactly what the admins said, that its more expensive than the old system. The new director will keep throwing money at the new system to hide the ever increasing costs. The councillors want to be re-elected so also keep quiet that they agreed to piss away local paying tax money.

      IT management leave because they are not being listened to by said director, so are replaced with a person who has no fucking clue and is just a "yes" person. The admins just need to a job so stick it out. Some manage to break free and move on to where they are appreciated.

      I've sat and watched this exact thing happen. With a move to GSuite, in local government. If anyone showed any sign of the dislike of the move, they were suddenly made redundant. It has been a few years now and in private the said director has admitted on occasion that maybe Gsuite wasn't the best solution. But we all know they won't back down now, they have pissed away too much money. Its been shown moving to Office 365 is cheaper and would save money. But they need something to put on their CV to make them look good so are holding out hope.

      "Successful migration to Gsuite with a saving of blah blah. Implementation of in-house low-code to avoid being tied to external providers. (I won't mention the low-code is quite basic and will never replace everything so we're paying providers twice and also won't mention we now have to pay an external provider to hold our SQL databases. Despite it being our data they flatly refuse to allow us direct access to the SQL database anymore via SQL manager and force us to use the shitty low-code to create an interface to be able see that data instead. I'll also avoid pointing out the GSuite migration actually increased costs after all)"

      I'm only still there because the pay is good and I really need the job. Of an age now where I'm unlikely to be hired over the young ones moving into the sector. Despite it being illegal, age discrimination still exists.

  3. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    Having been involved in projects like B&D's at the time they procured it, this doesn't surprise me. "Data sharing" was the mantra. Continuing with the current system would probably make them data controller for a lot of data they don't want, that belongs to people from other councils, placing them on dodgy legal ground. So I'm guessing this is going to be as much about data protection / GDPR / not getting sued by the general public as it is about anything else.

    That way, any missing data is "ah sorry, migration issue, we can fix that". And data they shouldn't have is also a migration issue. Anything else would require someone to take a decision that might have to be relied upon in court, which is the one thing councils hate having round their necks. Much better to blame an impersonal, but flawed, algorithm than a specific member of staff...

  4. AdamWill


    "You must be Barking and Dagenham, the east London borough"

    You could just say "you must be Dagenham", which is already (fairly obscure) slang for "completely mad". The (possibly apocryphal) story is that it was a nickname of Margaret Thatcher's, because Dagenham is two stops on from Barking...

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