Tired of being a punching bag, Oracle Corp. is hitting back at the State of Oregon over claims that the software company and the contractors it provided were responsible for the failure of the state's health insurance exchange to produce a functioning self-service website.
According to the lawsuit filed Friday, the state has been using a smear campaign to deflect attention from its own project management failures -- particularly constantly changing, never-finalized requirements that sabotaged the software development process. In addition to suing for unpaid consulting and licensing fees, Oracle used the filing to defend its reputation. "When the press reported that the exchange was not accessible for consumer self-service on October 1, 2013, public officials chose not to give a measured, fully informed response," the filing says. "Cover Oregon and public officials could have done two things in the face of those press reports: (a) own up to the management and technical challenges they had encountered and commit to a plan for resolving them; or (b) blame someone else. They chose the latter, and they fixed their sights on Oracle."
Independent investigations have cited the state's excessive reliance on Oracleas the turnkey provider of software and consulting services for the insurance exchange as one of the underlying causes of project failure. The software infrastructure for the project included Oracle Policy Automation, Siebel CRM, as customized and combined through the Oracle Enterprise Architecture. However, the project's auditors also put a large share of blame on the state for the way it managed the project. One of the main points Oracle hammers home is that it never had either the authority or the responsibility to act as the system integrator on the project. Though Oracle was a major player in the project, it was not the only contractor or technology provider, and the accepted best practice would have been for all of them to report to an integrator that could have acted as the general contractor.
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David F. Carr oversees InformationWeek's coverage of government and healthcare IT. He previously led coverage of social business and education technologies and continues to contribute in those areas. He is the editor of Social Collaboration for Dummies (Wiley, Oct. 2013) and ... View Full Bio