Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Problems with new Obamacare website put pressure on Democrats in debt ceiling, shutdown standoff; Is the company related to Experian-TRW-Chilton?

Only a few thousand people have been able to create accounts on the new “Obamacare” website “Healthcare.gov” (link), and the site has experienced enormous problems since rollout Oct. 1, according to a story Monday by Christopher Weaver, Shira Ovide, and Louise Radnofsky, “Software and design defects cripple health-care website”, link here. The difficulties could add to political pressure on Democrats to postpone some of Obamacare's requirements in current shutdown and debt ceiling crises. The site has the obvious url.  

The site seems slow because of inefficiencies, such as the idea that more infrequently used methods could have been executed in server-side rather than client-side computing.
The company maintaining the software is Experian PLC. Apparently it may be related to Experian credit reporting, which used to be TRW and which had bought Chilton, which I had worked for in the 1980’s.  I had worked in Dallas in the Oak Lawn area, and Experian has a large facility north of Plano, TX on Highway 175.  However, the company’s website says it traded on the London Exchange, here.  I don’t know where the healthcare.gov software was developed, but there’s a good chance that a lot of the employees are in Texas.  I would have expected EDS or Perot Systems to be heavily involved. 
The web hosting company is Media Temple.
I can remember some traumatic rollouts or implementations in my own career.  On November 1, 1977, Bradford Administrative Services on Church Street in NYC (near the WTC) rolled out a new mainframe MMIS for New York State.  I worked on the MARS reporting system, which started in production one month later, and I worked on Broadway in a separate office, for Bradford National Corporation.
On October 1, 1987, Chilton rolled out a new Daily Billing System, all mainframe, for which I had a very major part. 
I can imagine what it must be like to work for Experian PLC right now, around the clock.  A lot of people can code, but few can implement.  Comments are welcome.   Many people can code, few can implement!

Update: Oct. 10

Now there's a snafu with the password reset logic on the Obamacare website, story here.
Last picture: One egg with twin yolks.  Not sure if this is a political metaphor.  

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