The core of the problem is that the business software used by the institutions has become horrifically complex, according to Lev Lesokhin, strategy chief at New York-based software analysis firm Cast.
He says developers are good at building new functions, but bad at ensuring nothing goes wrong when the new software is added to the existing mix.
Why is anyone surprised by this? Bonuses, promotions, recognition all come to those who produse the new stuff. Those who maintain the existing systems are seen as losers, not winners.
Nassim Taleb would see this as neomania gone wild. Everyone wants the latest stuff—to be at the leading edge of the technology curve.
People, like Seth Godin, worry that organisations are spending too much money, time, and talent in maintaining old systems instead of embracing the new. Well, the organisations are not, and we see the failure in operational health.
“Modern computer systems are so complicated you would need to perform more tests than there are stars in the sky to be 100% sure there were no problems in the system,” [Lesokhin] explains.
“Business software is becoming increasingly complex, composed of sub-systems written in different programming languages, on different machines by disparate teams.
“This means no single person, or even group of people, can ever fully understand the structure under the key business transactions in an enterprise. Testing alone is no longer a viable option to ensure dependable systems.”
I suppose Fred Brooks would see this as a failure of desgin. The conceptual vision has not been transmitted.
But part of this failure of design is that a lot of changes are forced onto organisations by regulatory requirements and neomania. Neither of these seem to conform to a conceptual vision.
Despite organisations spending talent, time, and capital in creating vision statements. These have no effect on the IT models within the organisation.
The article blames the reliance on third-party software for the crisis. I would have to agree with this but not for the reasons given.
Each piece of IT software has a conceptual design embedded in it. And not all conceptual visions can be welded together. You end up with Frankenstein’s monster which has no concept of itself, and from whom the designer flees to the furthest reaches of the globe.