* Posts by Robin Saunter

7 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Aug 2014

Onestream slammed for 'slamming' vulnerable and elderly folk: That's £35k to Ofcom, please

Robin Saunter


Is this company linked to Onecom, a Hampshire based mobile phone service reseller who grabbed my Vodafone account a few years ago?

One of Blighty's most-loved charities hands £46m to one of Blighty's least-loved outsourcers

Robin Saunter

Our new membership cards recently turned up - with the wrong names. The first error ever in years of membership. Thanks Crapita

Red flag: Home Office inks £45m border tech extension with IBM

Robin Saunter

Project Semaphore

I have to smirk. I was part of Semaphore's

customer-side development team. We never told senior management exactly what we were doing so they couldn't interfere. We had both operational experience and a good knowledge of the technology. We had a great relationship with the developers and ran what might now be called an Agile project. Thankfully, I left the project before its planned successor went pear-shaped. The name Semaphore came from the system of Admiralty signalling towers which conveyed messages from London to Portsmouth a couple of centuries ago. Simple and reliable. Except when it was foggy.

Home Office seeks Brexit tech boss – but doesn't splash the cash

Robin Saunter

Delivery of What Exactly?

Having been involved in border control technology for some decades, I spent 3.7 seconds looking at this job opportunity before concluding, like most other contributors, that it was a career disaster. It's probably a stitch-up anyway, as the successful candidate/victim is already in the frame. What really made we wonder, is what this job will actually deliver: innovation has never been a Home Office characteristic and any progress (as with our HMRC colleagues) tended to be inspired and delivered by people low down in the organisation rather than by its senior management. Oh dear.

IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Robin Saunter

Ginny is coming. Look busy.

"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."

British government to ink deal for yet another immigration database

Robin Saunter

In my somewhat maverick career in the Home Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Office I constructed several vital immigration systems in a couple of weeks with software I got free from a PC magazine CD. They worked for some years and held the fort until the inevitable hugely expensive and less functional consultancy cavalry arrived. I then became a consultant (hawk, spit...) and the first rule I learned was to get more person-days into the project. The second rule was that the project doesn't necessarly have to be delivered successfully.

e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt

Robin Saunter

But it actually works...

I was with the e-Borders project right from the beginning until just before the contract was awarded to Raytheon. It's a bit of a myth that the civil servants, myself included, did not know what we wanted and kept changing the requirements. I knew exactly what I wanted and sat with the developers making sure it was delivered. What guzzled up the cash were the big consultancies and their 'business change' malarky. The same thing happened with other projects: we delivered cheap and cheerful stopgaps that met business needs until the big boys stepped in and charged a fortune for stuff that was less useful than the system it replaced. When I left government service and became a consultant, the first rule I learned was 'find out how to get more billable work - never mind whether the project is delivered or not."