July 1, 2008

Cognos/State of Massachusetts scandal

I assumed this had been reported widely outside of Massachusetts, but a web search suggests otherwise.

The story is this: Cognos sold 20,000 seats of software to Massachusetts for $13 million. There were technical violations of purchase procedures, and other aspects of the deal that didn’t pass the smell test. After IBM bought Cognos, the deal was rescinded, and is being rebid.

As per the Boston Globe, highlights of the mess include:

IDG has some good coverage too, the highlight being:

For one, the state’s Information Technology Division did not widely advertise the fact it was looking for performance management software, according to the report.

Instead, “a staff member at ITD simply consulted a chart of leaders in performance management developed by the analytical firm Gartner Group and e-mailed the Request for Quotes to four companies identified as ‘leaders.’ “

Three vendors — Cognos, Oracle and SAS — responded to the e-mail, according to the report. ITD staffers developed a scoring sheet containing 104 criteria. The ITD team in charge never finished evaluating the vendors with the sheet, but at the time they stopped Cognos had the high score, with 69.39 points, followed by SAS with 57.38 and Oracle with 27.49, the report states.

The IG’s investigation found that due to a typographical error in the spreadsheet’s formula, the scores for all three vendors were flawed, with many points going uncounted.

Please supply your own punchline.

What has not been reported, insofar as I recall or can find via quick searches on Google or Boston.com, is whether the Cognos software included a lot more capabilities than the other offerings. The obvious candidate would be budgeting/planning. That’s something that governments like and Cognos tries to bundle into large enterprises deals, but which is not a strength of (for example) rival bidder SAS.


2 Responses to “Cognos/State of Massachusetts scandal”

  1. Another Cognos scandal in Massachusetts | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on July 7th, 2008 8:37 am

    […] I already posted about the Boston Globe’s reporting on a deal to supply the whole Massachusetts state government with Cognos software that since has been investigated and rescinded. […]

  2. The Boston Globe keeps hammering at the Cognos scandals | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on July 31st, 2008 12:20 am

    […] Cognos/State of Massachusetts scandal […]

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