More on Normal’s software debacle

By:  Diane Benjamin

Earlier this month I wrote about the software Normal is attempting to implement and the problems they have encountered.  They paid for 2 years of use before it ever went live.  See this story:

Since Normal  refused to provide emails, I FOIA’d Champaign, they use the same software.  I wanted the same documents from them, magically they provided what Normal didn’t.  Champaign has been using TRAKiT for a lot longer than Normal, it struck me as interesting when I received a follow up comment to my FOIA – they asked if I wanted information on problems in general or problems with the latest update.  BINGO.  Since Normal is using a newer version and likely got the same updates, that’s where a lot of the errors originated.

Champaign sent me a spreadsheet containing 110 errors going back to 2015.  Below are the errors mostly just from 2019 – note many of them are marked critical.  I am a programmer, critical errors means HUGE problems.  If I sent software to customers with this many critical errors, they wouldn’t be customers.

This software costs over $100,000 a year and it appears they charge by transaction too.  Normal should be demanding a refund!

champaign Trakit All Closed Cases-2020-02-04-14-42-10 (1)

7 thoughts on “More on Normal’s software debacle

  1. ‘Paying for two years before it goes live’ is a fairly common practice.
    Better vetting/testing of the program, and/or some sort of remediation when it’s found an upgrade is notably worse are also common practice, but seemingly not for Normal.

      1. Ah, I misunderstood. Signing a two year contract and then implementing is not uncommon. A multi-year contract is usually sweetened by including training, which Normal apparently neglected to do.
        To be two years into an ongoing contract and not have 90+% functionality certainly is a ridiculous debacle.

  2. No wonder the system quality is bad…the error codes are meaningless. Hope there’s more for debug analysis.

  3. Normal and most public entities put nothing in purchase agreements to protect the citizens or the government from equipment that does not function properly.  For example, for many years and it may continue today.  The left turn arrows for College at Towanda come on for College even when no one is in the left turn lane.  I reported this to Gene Brown, director of engineering at the time.  He said the signal company had trouble shot the software and couldn’t find the electronic problem.  He said the cameras that activate the lights are working properly according to the diagnostics.  Result; no accountability, Normal did nothing so traffic going straight through the intersection has to frequently wait for no turning cars.  Image the time wasted by drivers and the gasoline consumed while the the light is green for the only way no traffic is going. If there are any clauses requiring performance, rarely if ever does the government require compensation or replacement when the equipment works kind of close to the specifications, short of total or major operational problems.  

  4. Koos- “I don’t NEED no stinking training”
    This is VERY common among untrained and uninformed people in municipalities!

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