Don't Blame Guru!
Friday, March 21, 2014 at 4:02PM
Bill Barclay

I am most concerned that my posts since 4 March may have been interpreted by some as implicating Guru Digital in whatever situation has been developing within the Castle regarding the IT Manager.

Guru have done nothing more than access the funding that became available through the decision by Council to set up a local initiative fund to assist in attracting new enterprise to the town. In fact, Guru's role has grown well beyond being merely a supplier to TCDC, and they may well be regretting at this stage that they ever became involved with TCDC in the light of what has emerged over the last few weeks. 

I was extremely critical much earlier of the relationship with Track24, and the software that they supplied to assist with project management - the failure of this software became very evident during the Mercury Bay Sports-ground enquiry because of its apparent inability to prevent individual staff from operating their own accounting systems independent of the Council's project management system - possibly through frustration with Track24.  

It is unfortunate that Guru became associated with this failure, and was unfairly tainted as a result. In fact Guru has successfully developed applications that have been widely adopted by many other councils and large companies throughout the country, though I remain unconvinced that the software developed for TCDC has been adequately reviewed, either for being 'fit-for-purpose', or 'value-for-money' - the intranet application in particular. And clearly these applications have now become 'off-the-shelf' for other organisations - possibly at TCDC's expense - how will we ever know?

Regardless, Guru's staff numbers have grown to nearly 20, most of whom have come into the town, and without doubt, it has the potential to grow to become one of the towns largest employers. They deserve every encouragement, and my reference to "smelling a rat", was never intended to cast any aspersions in Guru's direction. My mention of Sean Cutriss in the same breath was both unfortunate, and uncalled for, and this clarification was certainly not requested by Guru.  

My criticism is reserved exclusively for the Council and its employees who have been responsible for the total shambles that now pertains within their IT area. And this has been brought about by naivety, and a total management failure. Whatever the alleged sins of the now departed IT Manager, the simple fact of the matter is that this has entirely occurred within the term of the current management, though I concede that the relationship with Track24 evolved during the previous administration.

The problem is that the subsequent advent of Guru took place in the shadow of Track24, and although the attempt to marry it up with Track24 through the enthusiastic encouragement of TCDC was firmly rebuffed, it has suffered adversely merely by association in the minds of many observers. 

 I reject any such association, and conclude that Guru deserves every chance to make its mark both nationally and internationally without attracting any blame for what has happened at TCDC. There is still much water to flow under that bridge.  I await the results of OIR's already in the works and further requests are being considered. But time is not of the essence - there is clearly substantial further action to follow, and blood yet to be spilt. 

I may be intermittently incommunicado over the next month, but am confident that all, or most will emerge in good time, and hopefully, blame finally come to rest where it belongs. I don't think that anyone responsible will escape exposure in the long run, and the recently imposed secrecy provisions within the Castle are unlikely to prevent this happening. As many commenters have observed - "The truth eventually comes out." 

(For background on this post go to "Our Entrepreneurial Council" dated 26 September 2013). 



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