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Delayed Odyssey project delivering planned benefits, says Wellington Council

Delayed Odyssey project delivering planned benefits, says Wellington Council

Effort to simplify council ICT infrastructure continues as vendor Technology One develops new software components.

Wellington Council says planned benefits are being reaped from its Project Odyssey ICT rationalisation.

Wellington Council says planned benefits are being reaped from its Project Odyssey ICT rationalisation.

A delayed project to replace Wellington Council's core IT systems remains on track and on budget to deliver the benefits planned, the Council says.

Project Odyssey was designed to reduce the number of applications in use at the council from 136 to 60, according to a council presentation from November 2014. It would help transform complex and costly infrastructure into a new standardised and service based environment.

It got off to a shaky start, however. when suppliers went unpaid due to system glitches and auditor raised concerns about the $19.75 million project's risks.

Project Odyssey was supposed to reduce annual IT costs per user from $13,600 to between $4000 and $6000 and to cut operational and capital IT costs from $28 million to $19 million.

Channa Jayasinha, Wellington Council's manager of business information and technology, told Reseller News this week the project was on track to deliver the promised benefits, despite the final phase of the project being "paused".

The first phase was delivered in August 2016 with the implementation of finance management, enterprise asset management and HR and payroll, Jayasinha said

Enterprise budgeting and performance planning modules have  also been implemented in "phase 1B", while the implementation of strategic asset management is progressing now.

The cost of both was $12.63 million against a budget of $13.31 million, a net saving of $682,000, Jayasinha said.

"In the timeframe we were running this project TechnologyOne were also developing the new CiAnywhere (CiA) modules and were planning to move customers to CiA from the Ci version of the software that was implemented for phase 1," he said.

Phase 2 covered regulatory management, customer relationship and service management, land and property management and HR management. 

"The Council, in discussion with TechnologyOne, paused Phase 2 of the project until the CiA modules were developed and available for customers to use."

A new release due between April and June will allow Council to begin Phase 2 of the implementation. The first two modules of that phase will be enterprise cash receipting, and property and rating.

As to savings, Jayasinha said the 2014 presentation discussed the range of initiatives underway in Council to reduce ICT total cost of ownership. Those included a shared services project to rationalise and standardise ICT Infrastructure, a "Digihub" project to digitise paper records and Project Odyssey's application rationalisation and standardisation. 

In addition over the last five years Council rationalised the number of PCs and laptops in use from over 2000 to 1600. 

"To date we have decommissioned 27 applications as a result of the initiatives mentioned above and SPM Assets and Peoplesoft Financials, HR and Payroll as a result of completing Phase 1 & 1B of Odyssey," Jayasinha said.

"The total spend on ICT has reduced from $28 million in 2013/14 to 23.7 million in 2017/18, noting that we were targeting to achieve $19 million at the end of Odyssey Phase 2."

Staff now have access to a modern ERP platform delivered as software as a service, with fit for purpose functionality, Jayasinha said.

A positive aspect of the delay in phase 2 is that council will be able to consider the needs of some new initiatives and the Smart Council Strategy and work programme, focused around improving the customer service interactions, online channels and self- service opportunities, he added.


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