back to article Northern Ireland hands deal worth up to £87m to Fujitsu: Now keep our 15-year-old Oracle HR system up and running

The Northern Ireland government is paying Fujitsu up to £87m to roll over support for an Oracle HR system that dates back to 2006 in a contract awarded without competition. In a contract award notice published today, the country's Department of Finance explained that its current £185m strategic partnership with Fujitsu, which …

  1. Unicornpiss

    On the surface..

    ..this sounds like a horrible idea to maintain this old, probably somewhat insecure, lumbering beast of a system. And it was incredibly shortsighted and lazy to wait until the 11th hour to do this. But hearing the horror stories of other companies' transitions to SAP or even newer versions of Oracle, or to different 3rd-party providers, it may be the wisest thing they can do, at least for the moment. They'll still need to modernize everything eventually, but at least it won't be like a family trying to move apartments in the middle of the night while bombs are falling. Still, whatever management waited this long to modernize really needs a review.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: On the surface..

      But there have been so many breakthroughs in payroll processing in the last 15years that there is no way this old system could be expected to cope - they probably now need massively parallel GPU based supercomputing or quantum computers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On the surface..

        In Northern Ireland you probably do.

        I remember my startup simultaneously employing less than 10 and more than 30 people to qualify for different grants. Just shift temp staff/contractors/founders on/off the books as required

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    Ulster Says No

    To the tendering process.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ulster Says No

      TITSUP - Tied In To Supplier's Ulster Payroll ?

  3. arthoss

    Oracle or Peoplesoft?

    Oracle is not known for HR suites, really, except from the point where they swallowed people soft (2004). So what are we talking about here? Peoplesoft? Peoplesoft was technically obsolete in any version, compared to SAP. But it did look nicer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle or Peoplesoft?

      Well I can’t know for sure, but I’m guessing the HR elements of e-Business Suite?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle or Peoplesoft?

      PeopleSoft makes sense. It was one of about five tools that was approved by the US government for use by government agencies (one of which I was working for (in house) around that time.

      Like NI, we hired a consulting firm with experience in installing and operating the package. Like other posts, I assume the contract will add on pounds.

      But there's a difference between maintaining something that works and putting in something new. A new package might work better after several months of customization but that's a hard sell for someone who isn't getting the right payment.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a transfer of intellectual property rights"

    What is this nonsense ?

    Oracle has the rights to its product, but it's the government/company/department that has the rights to its processes. As a contractor, when I go to a customer to write code or correct issues, I have no IP rights over the code I write or the fixes I apply.

    I fail to see how Fujitsu can be considered having any IP rights whatsoever on a product that it does not own.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: "a transfer of intellectual property rights"

      I assume that Fujitsu have the IPR to the bits that were "heavily customised to align with the NICS HR policies and procedures."

      Having worked on government systems that start with COTS software and then build on it and twist it into shape to match existing processes rather than doing a full system redesign because it's the government, I can imagine the baroque and grand guignol nature of the structure that sits on top of the Oracle part of it. I wouldn't be surprised if there was no tender process because there were no takers when the initial feelers were put out and Fujitsu are being forced to eat their own dog food, albeit being well rewarded for feeding from that particular bowl.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "a transfer of intellectual property rights"

      The clue's in the article: "The current contractor has acquired the intellectual property and know-how to maintain and develop the system over the last 15 years to reflect the varying requirements of the NICS departments and their associated bodies."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "a transfer of intellectual property rights"

        "The current contractor has acquired the intellectual property"

        Patent, copyright or trade mark? The term "intellectual property" could mean many things.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cue Crapita in the wings

    as the outsource delivery partner when this all goes tits up.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The UK would be safer if FJ didn't 'win' government contracts

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I wonder just how far back the origins of the system go. It might well descend from something running on ICL kit and ICL had enough NI manufacturing to be looked on as a local company to be supported. In that case Fujitsu could have inherited it along with any other worthwhile bits of ICL.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Judging by what survived, the worthwhile bits of ICL were VME and everything that ran on it. It seems that the only bits that were worth keeping were the bits that George Felton breathed on.

  8. pardo_bsso

    I came here mislead into thinking this was related to NCIS.

    Still looks like the start of an interesting plot

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