Shiplee said: “Technology is moving very rapidly, such things weren’t available as they are today.”
If you actually read the contents of the article, it seems that Howard Shiplee was taken out of context. (Say it aint so)
It seems to me that lots and lots of small components were available for the final software product, but due to the complexities of navigating a large bureaucracy, larger systems that closely fit the requirements were needed. At the end of the day, it's just boxes on a piece of paper to an architectural "expert" somewhere. At the end of the day, it's all about risk, and how that risk is managed. The usual trick for middle management to keep their jobs, is to get the risk exported.
“You would find it very hard to find vendors in the market place to do this work at full risk. So the department took up the risk.”
Anyone who understands the concept that an entity, both corporate or government can't export risk is deserving of respect. Sure, you can have contracts with vendors that give guaranteed SLA's, but at the end of the day, if a government service goes down, and there's a 100% risk export, for sure when the media gets to it, "IBM messed up, it's not our fault!" simply doesn't cut it. A ton of mud will still stick to those who are beholden to the responsibility of a service that they provide.
Even financially, the risk that is exported is only ever as good as the other companies working capital and professional indemnity insurance.