Core Govt agencies signal cloud payroll shift

Core Govt agencies signal cloud payroll shift

Central Agency Shared Services gets ready to dump 25-year-old payroll software

Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) is eyeing a cloud migration for the delivery of payroll services.

Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) is eyeing a cloud migration for the delivery of payroll services.

A government shared services organisation is preparing to shed its 25-year-old payroll software and shift to software-as-a-service.

Central Agency Shared Services (CASS), which provides a bundle of services to Treasury, the State Services Commission and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, is asking for vendors to register their interest in delivering a "progressive and agile platform to replace its current payroll system and processes".

The current payroll system, CHRIS21, has been in use since 1990 and services around 900 employees and contractors across three agencies.

A spokesman said that while the software pays salaries well, its reporting functions and ability to link to other technology products is limited.

CASS said it does not want any first time deployments or products still in development, nor does it want a solution that requires hosting on internal systems.

When CASS was established in 2012, payroll services were earmarked as among the first expected to be delivered. A spokesman said that has been done and the proposed cloud shift is to increase service and deliver efficiencies.

"CASS has been and still is providing payroll services via its shared service offerings to the central agencies," the spokesman said.

"However in order to provide increased service and efficiencies over and above our current 25-year-old system, we have gone to the market to see what other systems may meet our needs going into the future."

CASS said it is looking for a credible provider who can demonstrate a good track record in the management and on-time implementation of payroll products within New Zealand.
"The selected vendor will be expected to provide the professional services required to implement the solution. As well as supporting their own product the vendor should also be able to propose additional industry best practices and processes."

As well as being cloud-based, the software must be fit-for-purpose and configurable off the shelf.

In addition, it must be capable of driving continuous improvement by enabling ease of data capture and improving data integrity and interoperability between HR and finance systems.

It is understood CASS uses Technology One's Finance One for financial management and SnapHire, another cloud service, for recruitment.

Self-service for most HR transactions and automated workflows are also on the shopping list.

New Zealand Government is backing the use of cloud computing where appropriate. In March, the Department of Internal Affairs, the lead agency for government IT strategy, opened a tender for a public cloud marketplace.

In 2014, an Auditor-General's report flawed the CASS effort on several counts. The report said the central agencies "did not follow best practice" in establishing CASS and "important and fundamental aspects of the change were not done well."

A subsequent report by EY delivered a healthier report card.

At the time CASS was established, it said, there was a larger and longer negative productivity dip than was anticipated, caused by loss of staff and institutional knowledge and unforeseen issues with the state of some of the inherited functions.

However, a number of interviewees reported the quality of services they receive from CASS had improved significantly as expertise in the four functions was built, vacancies filled and staff became embedded in CASS.

"Greater understanding of the unique requirements of each the three agencies was observed, and CASS staff were more visible on agency sites. There was positive feedback about the commitment of CASS staff and the leadership of the CASS director."

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Tags New ZealandpayrollTreasuryDepartment of Prime Minister and CabinetSoftware as a serviceState Services Commission



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