The Ministry of Social Development is targeting technology legacy in what it described as an extensive programme of work to maintain and replace core systems and reduce risk.
Core systems replacement was a multi-year activity, the ministry told Parliament's social services and community committee this month. Capital projects that were dealing with the risk of aging technology systems continued to be prioritised.
However, the split of the ministry into two with the creation of Oranga Tamariki and other issues complicated the process.
Budget 2019 and Budget 2020 allocated funding for MSD’s system replacement programme for 2020 and 2021.
Budget 2019 focused on mitigating some immediate system risk such as strengthening the resilience of systems.
Funding from Budget 2020 initiated MSD’s financial management information system (FMIS) and payroll replacement programmes, and started to address the foundational components of the Income Support modernisation programme.
MSD went to market for an FMIS ecosystem in 2018. It appears to have selected Oracle's ERP cloud and enterprise performance management cloud.
"Significant progress continues to be made in increasing our technology systems’ resilience under the availability and resilience programme," the ministry said.
"This means that a number of critical services for clients can continue to be provided in the event of significant interruptions."
The first release of the FMIS was expected to be delivered in October 2021. In the next year, MSD anticipated the payroll project will have completed procurement and contracting activity to secure an implementation partner and system.
"Work will have commenced on the data cleansing, integration design and technical architecture design, and system configuration," MSD said.
Investment addressed risk by removing high priority and enduring technology obstacles in income support that were barriers to improving client and staff experience.
"A key focus will be on moving towards a single view of client information and improving our knowledge systems that staff use to provide client service."
MSD had signaled that further investment will be required to continue modernising its systems.
In 2020, MSD spent $20.3 million in operating costs on ICT projects and $23.4 million in capital costs over more than 100 projects.
In 2021 it expected to spend more because some projects scheduled for 2020 had been delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IT project operating costs for 2021 were budgeted at $25 million and capital costs at $46 million for a total of $71 million.
The ministry also reported improvements to its ICT and general procurement processes including updated financial and procurement policies relating to the use of contractors and consultants, updated terms of reference for the ministry's IT resource panel, simplified delegations for IT procurement and enhanced monitoring of contractor performance.
As part of its COVID-19 response, MSD said it had accelerated work on improving digital channels, supported staff to work remotely, and improved collaboration tools for staff.
Initiatives included doubling the capacity on its client facing system, MyMSD, increasing capacity on supporting client management systems so that more people could access this service when needed, increased network capacity and provided more mobile technology for staff.