back to article UK govt Matrix has unenviable task of consolidating several different ERP systems

The UK government has kicked off procurement of an ERP system for eight Whitehall departments which consolidates nine different software systems – a project potentially more complex than a snake's wedding. According to civil service chief operating officer Alex Chisholm, the group, dubbed Matrix, is the "trickiest one" among …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Comes to mind


    They also need to build a bigger station for all those gravy trains.

  2. BearishTendencies


    How many more times are they going to try this (and not succeed yet again)?

    1. fidodogbreath

      Re: Again?

      How many more times are they going to try this (and not succeed yet again)?

      They'll keep going until they you run out of money.

  3. Philip Storry

    What a boost for the hospitality industry!

    I suspect that the expense accounts of Oracle, Microsoft and other are about to take one hell of a battering.

    The hospitality industry will likely be the only beneficiary from the initial phase of this project...

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: What a boost for the hospitality industry!

      You forgot the lawyers. Whenever there's a bloodbath it's the lawyers who benefit.

  4. johnB

    Shared services - not an encouraging track record

    Shared services have an appalling track record - does anyone remember the financial bloodbath in SW England ?

    This seems to be a whole order (or two)

    more complex.

    I predict delays, cost overruns, only partial at best implementation.

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Shared services - not an encouraging track record

      Shared services yes, but a common ‘is not shit’ ’ straightforward platform with standard interfaces/API’s as most speak to the same agencies and supplies has merit.

  5. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Just a tax payer

    I have no knowledge of these things, beyond what I've read about earlier disasters- so just thoughts and questions. Like;

    What problem are they trying to solve

    Do the needs of all the different departments match enough to combine the software

    Is there enough knowledge and understanding of what these system do and how they need to do it

    Are the problems they're trying to solve ( above) sufficient to require the cost and disruption this will cause

    Is it too complex for anyone to get their heads round

    Has the cost included the retraining of all the staff (This last bit I have experience of, albeit on a small scale, and the answer is usually no.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just a tax payer

      1. Budgets to burn, political sponsors to please

      2. They have no idea, almost certainly not

      3. Certainly not

      4. Absolutely certainly not

      5. It always is, but that's never been an obstacle

      6. Are you having a laugh?

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Just a tax payer


        You are Simon Case* and I claim my £5!

        Just a shame you cannot post in your own name, really...


        "Simon Case was appointed Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service in September 2020."

  6. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Requirements analysis etc?

    I wonder whether they will specify the correct security requirements when they do the analysis, or just try to 'bolt it on afterwards' when they realise that they need some segregation of data, applications and access? Strikes me that the requirements analysis for amalgamating the IT of 8 government departments including the treasury will be fraught with difficulty. Each department will want (certainly should have) a 'senior user representative' to ensure they can still perform their functions. Groups of eight trying to agree on something contentious have a history of long term deadlock.*

    Oh well, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed.


    "A computer modelling exercise, which used mathematical theories to calculate how quickly committees of different sizes were likely to reach agreement, singled out the number as uniquely bad for decision making...."

  7. ColinPa

    Lessons will be learned!

    Perhaps they need a meeting or two to review major projects over the last 20 years to work out why some worked - and some did not work, and actually apply the lessons learned!

    Simple lessons like

    Agree the major requirements (and users) before you start, rather than half way through.

    Do not add on "if we add this... function - we can do this clever nice to have at 10* the original cost."

    How many millions of records in the database, and what end user response time is expected.

    Prototype it at scale before you start coding.

  8. sgj100

    For this to work requires not just the Departments to buy in to it but the political policymakers and legislators. Until they take account of the practical implementability of proposed policies government IT failures are inevitable.

  9. NeilPost Silver badge


    Come back CCTA, all is forgiven.

  10. phuzz Silver badge

    Migrate an ERP system - Nope, been involved with that before, it's a nightmare.

    Migrate from seven different ERP systems - Double nope.

    Migrate from seven different government ERP systems, from different vendors and with different requirements - Hell no!

    Sounds like a hell project for all concerned.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      My suspicion is that serving 7 sets of highly entitled-feeling senior bureaucratic types, with an even more entitled-feeling ( and possibly titled too) top bureaucrat leading each one is going to be horrific. Each and every one is going to want their pet foible built into the system. Each and every one is going to want to take credit for some "improvement". Every rivalry and resentment is going to played out.

      There isn't enough popcorn in the world.

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