* Posts by neilo

52 posts • joined 25 May 2019

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Team behind delayed ERP project was aware of problems but didn't inform Surrey County Council for months

neilo

Re: Scope Creep

My thoughts exactly. If there are new requirements, you add the time for those requirements onto the project timeline. Any extra time in the project timeline is there for existing functional testing issues to be reported and resolved.

Scam, pyramid scheme, environmental disaster: Vivaldi boss shares his thoughts on crypto-coins

neilo

Re: Wall Street?

"I'd be more impressed with block chain if its supporters could demonstrate even one beneficial use."

To be clear, I am not a crypto supporter in any way. But the blockchain concept I can see having uses in logistics. As goods move from manufacturers through distributors to retailers, I can see a blockchain that tracks the movements of specific good. Tie the goods to something important at the manufacturing stage - say, the lot id - then dealing with product recalls, food contamination etc. suddenly becomes a lot simpler, because the movements of goods are in the blockchain.

Is it worthwhile? I don't know. Society seems to be fine with 20,000 pounds of ground beef being recalled and destroyed, so maybe the economic costs involved aren't worth it.

But I do see this as a good use-case for blockchain technology.

Insurance giant Lloyd's hires DXC to migrate org off legacy mainframes to AWS cloud

neilo

Should have checked with Games Workshop

Lloyds should have checked in with Games Workshop to see how well DXC was handling that migration

https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/13/games_workshop_launches_05m_at/

Side note: I migrated a company from Sage Line 100 to Axapta 3 using ODBC and Excel / VBA. Speaks to the quality of the consultants remaining at DXC they it gets botched this badly.

West Sussex County Council faces two-year delay to replace ageing SAP system for Oracle

neilo

Re: Rule 1 for SAP

This is true for any ERP, though. A new ERP with new processes and functionality is a business-transformative event. It's not like installing the latest version of Word.

Many years ago, I worked on a site where the ERP system (Dynamics AX 4) had been extensively modified to run like its predecessor (SAGE Line 100). It was, predictably, full of bugs and awkward work-arounds. Naturally, the users hated this Dynamics AX 4 thing.

Tech Bro CEO lays off 900 people in Zoom call and makes himself the victim

neilo

Re: What a cowardly little shit.

Go and watch the video, then come back here.

What makes this sickening is this:

1. He assured people he wasn't going to cry this time

2. He's doing this a few weeks before Christmas / new year, making it very hard for people to find new jobs fast

3. He did this after receiving almost a billion-dollar cash infusion.

Other comments he's made about his employees shows he's a slime-ball.

As for doing it to 900 people at once over a zoom call, surely it would be better for their managers to have simultaneous meetings to deliver the news to smaller groups. How he did it was cold.

Finally, and as others have said, companies demand a two-week notice period, yet fire 900 people on the spot like this. This CEO sack-of-slime has just tole the remaining employees how much notice the company is willing to tolerate, and this will backfire badly.

This is AUKUS for China – US, UK, Australia reveal defence tech-sharing pact

neilo

Re: buy gold now

Under what circumstances do you feel that French agents entering the harbor of a peaceful nation they are not at war with, sinking an unarmed boa and murdering those on boardt is remotely justified?

France committed an act of war against New Zealand that day. That NZ did not retaliate is due to the level-headedness of that country's government.

There are things to admire about Greenpeace, and things to despise. Neither justifies murder.

So the data centre's 'getting a little hot' – at 57°C, that's quite the understatement

neilo

Worked for an Air Conditioning manufacturer once

The server room was small; three racks with mostly switches, a handful of actual servers and a big tape library system.

The cooling for the room was a wall mounted unit. It was a nightmare; every hot day it would fall over, allowing the server room to quietly cook. "But this was an A/C manufacturer" you say. It certainly was, and too cheap to actually put a decent unit into the server room. Heck; we had to book service calls for that unit! And we were staff!

IBM's 18-month company-wide email system migration has been a disaster, sources say

neilo

Re: Bean counters?

BetaCam and BetaMAX have practically nothing in common, except that the name starts with “Beta” and both come from Sony. BetsMAX looked better because of the ringing added to areas of high contrast which gave the impression of higher detail on the screen.

WTH are NFTs? Here is the token, there is the Beeple....

neilo

So too bad when the embedded URL goes bad. Then what do you have? An NFT of a 404 doesn't seem that valuable to me...

With so many cloud services dependent on it, Azure Active Directory has become a single point of failure for Microsoft

neilo

Re: This was noticed by potential customers

Dynamics 365 is a mess, in terms of how the various technologies are being welded together. Once the factions within Microsoft can agree on a common data structure things will improve.

On-prem Dynamics 365 is possible... but you don't want to do it. Literally the first line in the on-prem plan is "implement Azure in your datacenter". And even assuming you have the horsepower to do that AND get D365 up and running, you **still* need Azure service bus to make things work, and you **still** need Microsoft Azure-hosted dev systems. So you can go down the expensive Azure approach, or go down the monumentally expensive on-prem approach.

neilo

Re: "we will never be able to avoid outages entirely"

Not me. My client was lulled into believing that AzureAD was the way to go. I stay the heck out of infrastructure, and stick with Dynamics 365.

neilo

Re: "we will never be able to avoid outages entirely"

"This isn't the first Azure outage in recent months and senior people are beginning to notice how Azure has issues while applications running on AWS are unaffected."

It's not like AWS doesn't have issues. All manner of weird stuff stops working when AWS fall over.

From talking with my clients, this whole "embrace the cloud" push is starting to lose steam. My locally-hosted email server falling over doesn't stop my locally-hosted ERP from running. My locally-hosted ERP falling over doesn't impact AD. AD falling over IS a problem... but having a backup AD controller solves that.

"While it's unlikely to alter decisions in 2020 when spending is tightly constrained, it is affecting planning for spending in 2021."

Oh yeah. And with one client alone that's a potential million dollars.

neilo

This was noticed by potential customers

I have a client running (mostly happily) Microsoft Dynamics 2012 R2. They're considering a Dynamics 365 migration (the cloud ERP beastie), but yesterday, for the bulk of their working day, email, Teams, OneDrive, Office 365, Azure AD and some Azure DNS stuff was offline because of this outage.

It hasn't killed talk of a D365 migration dead, but it's certainly on ice now. They are buying some local servers to allow for AD authentication and DNS now, and bringing Exchange back in house isn't out of the question.

Microsoft will survive this outage, and my client will get back on the D365 bandwagon. But they are a whole bunch more skeptical now than the day before.

All that Samsung users found on UK website after weird Find my Mobile push notification was... other people's details

neilo

In the US, too

I heard from Samsung-owning friends this happened in the US, too. Exactly the same symptoms.

Tabletop battle-toys purveyor Games Workshop again warns of risks in Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP project

neilo

Re: ERP == Enterprise Reduction Programme

A couple of things you forgot to add to your list: "sacrifice a virgin at midnight on the day before switch-over" and "hope like hell".

There's always that. But nothing beats a dress rehearsal run a few days before the actual go-live.

I was involved in a client rescue a few years back. They had implemented AX2012 with a vast swath of customizations that sorta-kinda worked ok, but they never wanted to test the data migration code. They assured us that their code was perfect. So come the go-live, and their system starts spitting out JSON files the size you've never seen before. The AX code groaned under the load, but dutifully processed the data. As you might have guessed, their data was wrong, and every single journal and customer state they shipped in had issues.

Every. Single. One.

So rather than abort the go-live, they decided to press on, and thus began the cleanup work. A year later, the original team started to break up for varying reasons, and I was brought in to keep going with the cleanup. That's the we discovered that not only was there bad data screwing up current transactions, there was bad code writing vast amounts of junk to the database causing further problems.

The remediation work took another six months, until the new CFO of the company in question said to his finance team to just journal out whatever the issues were and move forwards. We got the system mostly debugged, but by then the company, which had been acquired by a much larger company, decided to break away and found a new partner to continue with.

Our PM didn't stand up to the customer PM enough to demand go-live testing. And this was the result. For want on 30 minutes of go-live testing, the entire project and customer was lost.

neilo

Re: ERP == Enterprise Reduction Programme

Don't all ERP systems cost at least three times what the initial quote was?

Yes... but there is inevitable scope creep, things take longer than expected, data migration takes longer to get right... the number of things that can go wrong on an ERP project is pretty huge.

So, how do you deliver an ERP project mostly on time and near the budget? Good project management on both sides to begin with. The smallest consulting team you can have. As much experience as you can pack into that team.

Stuffing greenhorn consultants into these projects slows them down. It's great to build skills, but there is a cost. That's why partner selection is so critical. You can go with the "big" names, like DXC - but you're not buying a lot of skill because the good people left a long time ago. The smaller partners may cost a bit - but only a bit - more, but you're more likely to get a skilled team that already knows how to work together. Don't underestimate the value in a team that already fits together.

The other thing that can help is to have a very clear project document that lays out expectations. Knowing what is in scope (and what isn't) for the implementation phase is critical.

Finally, having a client-side testing team is critical to success. Initially, the team needs to be small and consist of just the SMEs, but before the final go/no go decision you need virtually the entire client company to do a "day in the life" sort of exercise. This is an unbelievable way of wringing out all sorts of integration bugs.

That's what I've learned about successfully ERP implementations.

neilo

Depends on the partner and the PMs

The success or failure of these projects comes down to three things: choice or partner, effective partner project management and effect client project management.

If the partner is DXC, for example, they are screwed. But any other D365 partner should be more than capable.

Project management is where these projects succeed or fail. If the client PM doesn't understand the business (ie. GW just hired a PM or hasn't done a full requirements document with complete gap analysis), the chances of success plummet because of all the moving parts within a company and the PM's ability to align the company. If the partner PM is weak (ie. they can't say "no" at appropriate moments to defer a new pet requirement to post-go live), then the project will collapse. If the partner PM can't marshal the necessary development and testing consultants, and ensure those consultants understand the company, the project is doomed.

Yes, ERP transitions and big and complex, the opportunity for failure at every turn. Good project management from the client and partner can make even the sketchiest situation succeed.

Y2K quick-fix crick? 1920s come roaring back after mystery blip at UK's vehicle licensing agency

neilo

Re: Why

And even that is small potatoes compared to the deeper problem with those databases: record size. A lot of the tables in those systems are close to (or at) their maximum record size. Inserting another 2 characters is simply not possible.

And even if you could simply insert another two characters, there is an unknown amount of code that parses the records starting at the nth character... all of that code would have to be examined and tested.

Resizing database columns would be a painful couple of days. Full regression testing of some of these systems? Weeks and weeks.

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How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still

neilo

Another one with no problems here

Install was smooth. I made sure my critical apps were updated ahead of time. Lightroom Classic, Office, EndNote all work fine. Dark Mode is a joy. Apart from news.com.au stopping loading images are a free page refreshes (this has been an issue since I bought my 2018 MBP), this has been smooth and seamless.

Sure, some apps are borked (TomTom: I'm looking at you!), but these are 32 bits apps and I knew ahead of time trouble was heading that way.

DXC has picked a brand new people person: Finch lands as freed Mason preps to depart

neilo

"Our employees are key to achieving our goals and aspirations"

You know, I'm sure I heard that before somewhere... Maybe when Mikey and Jo were talking about the CLEAR values during the initial induction and yearly refreshers. Nah; couldn't have been them, could it? That would mean they were saying thing they didn't actually believe in.

But to the point here, show me a CEO who doesn't, with a straight face, say exactly this.

I'm surprised he is even continuing with "digital transformation" as a phrase. Why not go back in time and talk about reengineering the company? I mean, "Reengineering the Corporation" started with (then) CSC. Why not dust off that concept and try to sell it again?

neilo

(I always thought 'cutting steak' was a rather odd euphemism, but there you are.)

You're confusing "euphemism" with "weird stuff that actually happened".

Mike drop, DXC-ya later! Lawrie immediately ejects as CEO from IT outsourcing giant

neilo

Re: his pedigree

Exactly: Accenture. From reading, it seems like he was a hatchet man there, laying off vast swathes of employees and offshoring whatever he could.

This guy is no savior for DXC.

neilo

Re: THANK YOU JESUS!

Why on earth are you celebrating? This guy was hand-picked by Lawrie. What makes you think, given his pedigree, that he will do anything remotely helpful to employees remaining at DXC?

Now, if the board had fired Lawrie and brought this guy in to sort out the mess, sure; maybe. Bu that's not the case. And Lawrie's cold, dead hand is still there...

Another 3,900 staffers gone, 3 data centres to be closed, and yet DXC revenues keep falling

neilo

CLEARly, DXC is a people-first company

"It is taking longer to eliminate the head count as we automate activities."

Yup; eliminate people first.

Not all heroes wear capes: Contractor grills DXC globo veep on pay rises, offshoring, and cuts to healthcare help

neilo

Re: Thanks from the missus

... it would be delicious if she ends up contracting for DXC ...

Do not, under any circumstances, become a DXC contractor.

Contractors get royally fucked every possible way. Note that, in the US at least, contractor invoices are paid 90 days after the invoice due date.

So consider this: She's finished up with DXC as an employee, and has lined up contracting work with the client on behalf of DXC. She does her first week of work, dutifully invoices DXC, and won't see that money for several months.

Avoid DXC. Just don't do anything for them. They are a toxic cesspool the fucks anyone and everyone over. Contract to the client directly if possible. And the client will be better off without DXC anyway.

neilo

Re: BS

... and even then the counter offer will be limited to a maximum of 10% more than your current DXC salary

That tidbit I did not know. I would love to say I'm surprised, but I'm not. The HR principle of "We employ you? Get fucked then." continues to be applied in all areas.

neilo

Re: BS

I find this, of all the toxic DXC behaviors, one of the more toxic behaviors.

So in order to get a pay rise, you need to find another company willing to hire you and go through the entire interview process (which could be four or five interviews) to get that signed letter of offer.

You take that letter of offer to your manager and DXC will match the toppling salary. They will never match the bottom line take-home salary.

What a titanic waste of time for the employee and the employees of the company that you just interviewed at. The level of disrespect here for everyone involved is immense.

neilo

Re: BS

Agreed. I discussed with my manager in January 2018 about a merit increase, and he agreed. So did his manager. In fact, all the way up to the manager of our division agreed that a merit increase was indeed merited.

By November 2018, nothing had happened.

This wasn't an isolated incident; the droves of people quitting said exactly the same things.

It should be noted, too, that whilst DXC may not believe in the outdated concept of annual raises, it sure as hell believes in sticking it to employees every possible opportunity. My take-home pay fell, rather reliably, every six months.

So glad I'm out of this rotting carcass of a company.

DXC Technology warns techies that all travel MUST now be authorised

neilo

Re: Welcome to DXC, what can't we do for you today

To be fair (and I can't believe I just said that), we had exactly the same policy in the US, and it really didn't impact the ERP side that much. The two week lead time isn't such a big deal for regular consulting, and for critical emergencies we all work remote anyway. Most customers who have their own IT infrastructure have their own staff, so if the core database server goes down there's not much point having a technical consultant on site until the server is up - and when the server is up, you can remote in anyway.

I'm sure that for a class of customer this is going to cause real issues, but DXC doesn't;t care about those customers anyway.

Driving Xtreme Cuts: DXC Technology waves bye bye to 45% of Americas Security divison

neilo

Re: How long until...

DXC are totally left without any real customers, business offering or meaningful revenue?

It could be a few years, actually.

Talking with a soon-to-be-ex-DXC buddy, in my old section hiring is frantic to replace the people leaving - but experience isn't entering the building. It's people wanting to get started in their careers that are being hired.

Remaining customers are satisfied for now as they are seeing new names replacing old names, but even that is drawing attention. Sheer inertia is keeping some of them; contracts with DXC hosting of services is keeping others. But the tide will turn, and DXC will be yet another giant shell.

neilo

...these "more specialised and more scarce" security skills are available in Low Cost Countries, are they?

Why yes; yes they are.

There is a seeming inexhaustible supply of security engineers, support staff with deep rapport with clients, highly skilled developers and more in low-cost countries. Oh wait - that rapidly becomes high cost. Oops; my bad.

neilo

Re: Training your replacement?

"Knowledge transfer" before you go....

Bwahahahahahahahahaha... "knowledge transfer"... I gave two weeks notice. They tried to squeeze the knowledge transfer into about three hours on the final day to a guy who quit three weeks later.

D☠️C doesn't care enough about customers to ensure a proper knowledge transfer. All D☠️C cares about is having people seeming to have the knowledge so that customers don't immediately leave.

We asked readers what DXC should be known for... and of course you came up with the goods

neilo

Re: Did someone at The Register used to work at DXC, I think perhap so

"With the amount of articles about DXC and the negative slant, I think someone at El Reg used to work for DXC and did not leave on happy terms."

I'm confused. You have something positive to say about that festering shithole of a company? I would love to hear it!

Disclaimer: I use to work for D☠️C!

neilo

A pity

A pity that "at DXC, we're not satisfied until you're not satisfied" wasn't an option, because that has a beautiful consistency for DXC's attitude to both customers and employees.

It's also somewhat politer than "I'm Mike Lawrie. Fuck you."

DXC Technology exec: What should our brand be known for?

neilo

Re: Greed

When you are CEO, chairman of the board AND get your steak cut up for you, who is there to hold you accountable?

neilo

Re: Management decision

You have it so right.

If it weren't for those outrageous customer expectations that DXC actually supply services, then DXC wouldn't have to employ those wasteful cost-centers known as employees.

If only customers got with the program and simply paid vast amounts of cash to DXC without any expectations of anything in return then DXC's would would be a much better place.

neilo

Re: Lost - Season3

Contractor terms ar in arrears 5 weeks? You got of lightly; here in the US our contractors were paid 90 days in arrears from the invoice due date. So when a contractor / external partner was developing a minor piece of code - say, the entire credit card processing part - and their invoices were not paid at 30 days, then they, to the great delight of our customers, simply stopped working.

In once case, this caused the sudden postponement of a go-live.

Now, we all welcomed the extra time to complete the project to the customer's satisfaction, so there was a silver lining there. But it was poorly handled; DXC didn't tell our section that this was the policy; it certainly didn't tell the external partners. The contractors may have known; not sure.

neilo

Re: Don't eXpect Competence

Don't eXpect Compensation

Black Wednesday: DXC hosting services wonky for almost 8 hours after core switches go rogue

neilo

Fun fact: Us experienced ones who have got the hell out of this rotting carcass have noticed something interesting: the hand-off / knowledge transfer is not happening, or if it is happening it's rushed an incomplete.

When I gave notice, I was left alone to finish up what work I could, with a rough customer hand-off dome for one client on the last day.

When a co-worker (a solution architect) gave notice, she was left alone. Then in the last few days it was realized she had 35 current client projects and then all hell broke loose. The hand-offs were rushed and incomplete again.

There is a real "head in the sand" approach going on here... and it's accelerating the clients that are leaving because they are not being looked after!

DXC Technology seeks volunteers to take redundancy. No grads, apprentices, and 'quota carrying' sales folk

neilo

Re: What this really means

Yeah; except clients DO notice. When I left for greener pastures, two clients followed me. Other clients are looking closely at the situation as the practice bleeds talent faster than can be recruited.

DXC: We axed 10k staff, shut nine data centres, closed 4.6m sq ft of office space... and sales tumbled, funnily enough

neilo

This is why I'm following those people on LinkedIn. If I see, say, Mike Gillis heading to a company I know to never go there because of the devastation he will bring. Same for all his "leadership" team; the collective incompetence they can amass is mind blowing. On the other hand, I followed (eventually) an ex-leader of an acquired company to his new company, simply because he is damn good.

neilo

Re: Bets, anyone?

"How long before HP cry foul on the merger with CSC and sue the directors of CSC for misrepresentation?"

Not going to happen. As bad as DXC is right now (and CSC was), HPE Services was in much worse shape. I use to work for DXC, and worked alongside some HPE folks on a few projects. So how bad was HPE Services? According to multiple people who told me this, Firings were a weekly occurrence as HPE needed to reduce costs. Is your project billable this week? You're safe. If the project wasn't billable this week, you're name was in the had for dismissal. Then two or three lucky souls would be fired, and the grim process starts again the following Monday.

The HPE people were grateful for the merger, as at least they could keep their jobs.

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