Only a small number of people were actually required to be on site, a maximum of eight people at any one time during cut-over weekend from 9 to 15 April 2020 compared to a peak of approximately 100 people at any one time for earlier releases.
"Our cut-over processes are so well documented, so well understood, and so well practiced down to an individual task level that they made a relatively seamless remote cut-over process possible," the report said.
Not everything worked perfectly though. The biggest area of risk was co-ordinating tasks between different areas to ensure hand-offs happened as they should.
For example, data conversion took varying lengths of time and people from the wider business, not programme people, had to verify data was correct once it has been loaded into the new START system.
"Previously, we would ask people to be in the office two hours prior to the expected finish time for loading data into START. With everyone working from home, it was more difficult to mobilise people if data conversion ran more quickly or more slowly than expected."
In the end, completing cut-over took a few hours longer than planned and ran smoothly with 60 per cent fewer issues compared to release three.
A survey of customers in early May found that eight out of 10 student loan customers say they were finding it easy to understand and do what they need to do in myIR and 60 per cent of employers reported they were finding it easy to file.
With the transformation finish line now well in site, Inland Revenue has merged the last two releases, once called release four and release five, into one that will be progressively rolled out as release four.
"We continue to operate under considerable pressure and continue to balance work across the priorities of supporting customers, supporting the government’s response to COVID-19, supporting release four, and other priority work such as this year’s automatic income tax assessments process" IR reported.
The department was also starting to see the impacts of COVID -19 on customers, with more requests to set up or adjust instalment arrangements and more requests for hardship write-offs.
Project risks remain, IR reported. The top ones being support for heritage systems ending in 2021,
and reliance on SAP (IRD is shifting to Oracle's CloudSuite for enterprise support services), satellite functions of the legacy FIRST tax system and KiwiSaver B2B after 2021 preventing full decommissioning of the department's heritage datacentres.
"We have strong mitigation plans in place for these risks," the report said.
Spark-owned Revera was selected as the preferred supplier for cloud-delivered datacentre services for the new START tax system in February 2016 in a contract valued at $45 million to $60 million over ten years.