An unscientific poll of a very small number of end-users of new Windows-based systems being installed as part of the £7bn Defence Information Infrastructure indicates that 31% of them rate the new technology as better than what they had before.
The poll is on the Army Rumour Service which has hosted a long-running and generally well-informed debate on progress and problems with the DII network.
Some of those taking part in the debate have been employees of the EDS-led Atlas consortium, which is helping the Ministry of Defence to deliver the DII. Their comments on the Army Rumour Service, if true, are enlightening.
The total votes on whether the DII systems are better or worse than existing systems is only 110. This is a tiny sample given that the number of terminals being installed in the DII project runs into tens of thousands. Still, it’s a qualified vote of confidence in the Atlas consortium.
The DII is a project to replace hundreds of different and incompatible systems with a single unified infrastructure. It is ambitious and there have been serious problems and delays. But I’ve met those running the scheme, at the MoD and Atlas, and they have much experience of problem programmes. They are genuinely confident they can make it work.
End-users of a trusted and useful system are unlikely to welcome its being replaced with standardised technology which, initially, may not be as functional. That’s why it’s surprising that as many as 31% in the poll rate the DII as better than what they already had.
The DII is a good idea if an extraordinarily ambitious one. If it succeeds, and I hope it does, it’ll show that it is possible to roll-out a huge standardized infrastructure across hundreds of sites in many parts of the world, many of them with different needs, physical restraints, and where there is a need for different levels of IT security.
DII project could cost £7bn – IT Projects blog
Atlas consortium members – EDS Defence website
Interview with those running DII – IT Projects