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IT Outsourcing Mistakes seen at Healthcare.gov

by: Sarah Joson

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 |

An article posted at CIO.com.au explained the IT outsourcing mistakes made in one of US’ big ventures. The $400 million Healthcare.gov project by the US federal government received a lot of flak soon after it was launched. What was expected to be an end-to-end portal for US citizens seeking healthcare insurance became a dreadful experience due to the bugs and problems encountered by users.

IT outsourcing mistakes made in one of US’ big ventures

 
According to an article from the New York Times, the project failed due to missed deadlines, miscommunication among outsourced IT contractors, and last minute changes on the website’s basic features.

Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of outsourcing consultancy and research firm Everest Group said the US government and its contractors had too much on their plate. The impact of the consequences became a huge problem and when it was overlooked, complications multiplied.

Another important factor identified by Adam Luciano, principal analyst at sourcing analyst firm HfS Research, is that sometimes, contractors and project managers failed to focus on the user experience of major websites such as Healthcare.gov. Citizens need healthcare, and establishing a website aimed to help them handle a complex matter is a major responsibility. The goal is to make healthcare easier to understand and more accessible, but the people behind the project failed to see that.

These contributed to the rocky launch of the site:

Failure to gauge capacity and influx of users - They fell short in projecting how many profiles will be created which is why the website demonstrated a lot of glitches and it wasn’t scalable enough to cater to millions of users. Clients should look into the agility, coverage, and flexibility of an IT outsourcing contract.

They made hasty decisions - Large projects that require complex systems and technology should be tested multiple times before it is officially launched. Even small ones run through a rigorous testing period, so those that are hastily launched are sure to be unsuccessful. What buyers should do is study the strengths and weaknesses of IT outsourcing companies and analyze their track record.

Overlooked customer experience -
The website was a big deal because it’s not as if users who needed healthcare information and assistance had options. The people behind the project overlooked the user friendliness of the website. Buyers should somehow come up with ways to create a good partnership with their providers. It can be in the form of reward system or incentives, which can help motivate providers to come up with solutions that can help improve a project.

They didn’t have contingency plans - Wrong rates were posted on the website and they were not able to change those immediately. This could lead to an onslaught of problems for both the federal health organization and users. It is now too late for them to correct the misinformed subscribers and they would have to address each person’s concerns and issues.

Information wasn’t properly circulated - The project was highly vulnerable to miscommunication because they had several providers. They also needed metrics that were uniform or at least similar to one another so that they know the progress of each segment.

Some providers didn’t comply with industry standards - This would be one of the most helpful tools for a project. It can easily point out if a provider will be able to deliver the requirements of the client.
 

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