Tag Archives: Software

Abandoned 1Malaysia Futsal Courts – Lesson for GIS Project Planning

Expecting IT system to continue operating indefinitely at optimum level without on-going operating expenditure (OPEX or OE) funding is just not realistic

Many IT facilities are in similar sad state of disrepair

Malaysia The Star daily recently reported that millions (of Ringgit or RM) go down the drain when most of the 1Malaysia futsal court facilities around the country were left unattended for long time and is in a sad state of disrepair. It was reported the crew visited more than 100 of 1Malaysia futsal courts around Selangor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Perak and Kedah. Many were found neglected with some clearly never having been maintained since the day they were constructed.

According to the paper there are 2200 (later was corrected by official there are about 646 futsal courts and the rest are multi-purpose halls) 1Malaysia futsal cum basketball courts that have been built around the country for the community at about RM150,000 (app. US$46,000) each since 2009 as part of Youth and Sport Ministry’s noble initiative to promote futsal, basketball and other sports among youngsters.

This interesting report caught my attention and also sparked some discussions on social media. I’m not a futsal player and did not really check any of these facilities. However if we ponder a while and look around us, it is not difficult to uncover many IT projects/facilities that faced the similar faith.

Ironically (for the benefits of those that are unaware), any facilities (regardless of futsal courts or IT labs with hardware and software) need ongoing up-keeping to ensure the facility is always in proper working condition. From IT perspective, this refers to maintenance or upgrade of computer hardware, storage, software version, etc. It does not take a genius to figure out that a sudden rush of adrenaline to allocate development expenditure (DE) funding to build but forget about the on-going operation expenditure (OE) funding is the culprit behind these failures. Initiating an IT capital expenses (CAPEX) project without proper care given to aspect of on-going ownership, managing, maintaining and operating cost (OPEX) is not sustainable. Bottom line, expecting the IT system to continue operating indefinitely at optimum level but without on-going maintenance allocation is just not realistic.

Back to the 1Malaysia futsal court issue, according to the daily,  there is no plan by the Sport and Youth Ministry to repair the damaged courts, as it will cost about RM18.7 million annually and the ministry failed to get funding from Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for the repairs.

Again this is nothing new to us. As IT savvy Malaysian, we are used to see many agencies have to abandon their aged IT systems after a once upon a time glorious official launch of the then state-of-the-art system due to lacked of maintenance. No wonder we are famous with first world infrastructure but third world maintenance. Malaysia Boleh ! (Loosely translated as Malaysia Can Do, or Malaysia Capable – a common slogan in Malaysia to instil never give up attitude).


Competency can Make or Break the Success of Your GIS Project

A flyover under maintenance collapsed on Thursday near Cyberjaya. Luckily no one was injured. While investigation is still on going to ascertain the actual cause of the collapsed, some opt to quickly point fingers at others to either divert attention (if they were part of the problem) or gain publicity (if they have nothing to do with the problem or solution). Either way, these are not going to undo the damages caused. With so many parties and potential causes involved, it is rather complicated to pinpoint the truest cause of the incident without in-depth forensic studies.

Hypothetically, if the mishap is caused by human factors, some individuals will be investigated for potential negligence or foul play. Here comes the interesting part:-

  1. If the Architect was using a computer aided drawing software to design the structure, can the Architect shifts the blame to the software company for producing faulty design?
  2. If the Builder was using heavy-duty crane during the construction process, can the builder points the finger at the machine manufacturer for causing this accident?

It is quite obvious the answer is “No” to both the questions above, because the software and machinery manufacturer are not liable for incompetency and negligence of its users. But if you were the Architect, the builder, or someone part of the problem, quite surely you will want to quickly point fingers to the next inline.

Back to our GIS context, I bet you’ve heard instances of project failure or white elephant. In Malaysia GIS scene, these are normally cited as caused by software or hardware failure. Ironically the blames will go to software and hardware vendors instead of parties responsible for implementation and delivery of the project.

Let’s face the reality, everything being equal; I will still come short of pole position if racing side by side with Michael Schumacher. Think again, word processing software on the hand of Joanne Rowling can produce the bestseller Harry Potter fantasy series, but on my hand can only produce this short post. Is there anything wrong with the software or the hardware that I’m using? Hence you can have the same software and hardware that’s on par with the most successful industry leader, but what’s actually missing is the skills and knowledge in handling them.

Note to GIS manager: There are many good and bad GIS implementation examples that might have use the same software and hardware specifications. The changing parameter is the implementation team. Please make sure to give proper attention in selecting experienced project team that can make or break the success of your GIS project.