Canadian Federal Benefits Systems on the Verge of Collapse

3 Feb 2020

Canadian Federal Benefits Systems on the Verge of Collapse

Failure to manage change has landed on the desk of a Canadian Prime Minister who crafted his platform on “innovation”. Systems 60 years old are reaching critical risk with no evident retirement plan.

Parliament Hill Ottawa


Canada’s national media and the Huffingtonpost ran the headlines: “Federal Computer Systems At Risk Of Collapsing”. A failure of decades to manage a culture of change has landed on the desk of a Canadian Prime Minister whose image is polished with overtones of “innovation refresh”.

If Canada is more liable to scrutiny because of this dramatic irony, it is certainly not alone. But nobody likes to have their dirty laundry aired in public. Yet, the bigger story should be: ‘How Will They Fix IT?’

"Some systems are pushing 60 years old and built on '

outdated technology' that can no longer be maintained."

Old school tactics to soften the hue and cry would be to assign the solution to an ‘IT Consulting Firm of Repute’ declare an enormous budget allocation and propose an unmeetable deadline. It might even be the same consulting firm that has been bilking millions in contract values, keeping the aging systems afloat.

Modern tactics would be to engage in an agile, cost-effective methodology that can build micro-services around a core of data to map out a gradual, phased transformation, steadily while continuing to reduce the burden on its aging infrastructure.

In either case, the Elephant in the Room is: ‘What do we do with all that data?”

Large-scale application modernization is complicated the scale of the data migration, which almost always exceeds the budget by 25–100%, Gartner Research ID G00448218).

Microservices ideally attach to a data repository that is accessible, reliable and not a ‘disaster-waiting-to-happen’.

DataNovata can provide fast, effective risk-mitigation

The Federal Government of Canada could significantly reduce its risk exposure in short order if it chose to implement a DataNovata application solution. Reduction of stress on the legacy system is a basic step in the risk mitigation process. DataNovata maps data entirely from the source database schema to automatically generate a read-only reference that support the application logic, through a standard, HMTL5 web-enabled browser.

Federal Public Servants would view their data history in a read-only, digital application replica of the original system making it virtually transparent that the data has moved to a modern, secure digital platform. DataNovata can also condition the data mapping for the entire application modernization process, as DataNovata applications are easy to customize and prototype with user collaboration. As an accessible archive, DataNovata also supports ILM, privacy and compliance, carving out its ROI as a long-term solution for data governance.

DataNovata is not the end of this problem but it is perhaps the easiest and fastest way to begin the ending of the problem and bring the solution into a more manageable scope.