The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is getting ready to go to market for new, cloud-based payroll software to replace its existing Chris21 on-premises system.
However, there were a few developments and dependencies in the broader government sphere the department clearly needed to consider.
In a notice issued last week, MSD said it intended to go to market for a SaaS system from the third quarter of 2021, either using a tender process or by secondary procurement via the all of government payroll programme.
"The ministry also recognises the all of government payroll programme is currently advertised on [online tender service] GETS," it said.
"We are considering participating in the AoG payroll programme and engage with suppliers within this panel."
The ministry also tipped its hat to other developments coming out of the Inland Revenue Department's rollout of new enterprise support systems.
It said it intended to include components of the IRD-developed common process model for government in its future tender.
MSD's move to replace its payroll systems had been complicated and delayed by the need to retain its existing system until Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Children, had implemented its own payroll system.
Oranga Tamariki was a part of the ministry until separated to create the Ministry for Vulnerable Children in 2017 and renamed later in the same year.
In its 2020 annual review, the department said in order to significantly reduce the risk of MSD and Oranga Tamariki payroll failure it needed to replace the current Chris21 payroll system and related bespoke integration tools.
"MSD will support Oranga Tamariki’s project before moving to replace the MSD payroll," it said.
No budget had been allocated for the project at that time.
Meanwhile, Inland Revenue was steaming towards the end of it multi-year transformation, replacing both its core tax engine and support systems, dubbed Ātea, with software from Oracle.
Ātea means "space" in Te Reo Māori -- the space, courtyard or open area in front of the wharenui meeting house where visitors are formally welcomed.
As part of the agreed arrangements for the implementation of Ātea, any material or information developed for Inland Revenue was able to be reused across government.
In February 2020, the Digital Government Leadership Group (DGLG) agreed a work programme to enable the process model developed by Inland Revenue for human resources, finance, asset management and procurement functions to be adopted as a common process model for all-of-government.
Then there was COVID-19, which caused some delays in getting the work programme fully up and running, IRD briefed its incoming minister, David Parker, last November.
"This will enable other agencies using the same technology platform as Inland Revenue (Oracle) to accelerate delivery as they will not have to start from scratch," IRD told Parker.
"This approach will help to ensure that the public service leverages the best possible value from its digital technology and data investments."
The tax office noted it was working closely with other departments including the Department of Internal Affairs, Statistics NZ and the New Zealand Customs Service, to take advantage of the investment.
Two months earlier, IRD was also preparing go to market for a SaaS-based payroll solution.
The department initially said it expected that the successful respondent to its tender would be one of the pre-qualified suppliers to the all-of-government payroll panel.
It later clarified that it intended to refer to the eventual establishment of a panel of payroll and related services providers.
"The AoG programme is currently developing its requirements and is expected to release its request for proposals (RFP) some time later than the Inland Revenue RFP," IRD said in answer to questions.
"We still expect that the successful respondent to this Inland Revenue RFP will apply to become a supplier to the all-of-government payroll panel, when that opportunity arises."
Then, IRD cancelled its payroll software tender.
It has since emerged that IRD inked a contract last month to shift its payroll software to the cloud with SAP.
IRD wasn't alone in feeling the need to move ahead of the AoG panel's establishment, however.
The Ministry of Education also moved to replace its payroll system before the AoG panel was established because support for its PS Enterprise or PSe software potentially ceased in April 2022.
"We have incorporated the draft AoG payroll requirements into our functional requirements where possible and identified these," a ministry tender said.
"We expect that the successful respondent to this request for proposals will apply to become a supplier to the all of government payroll panel when that opportunity arises."
Meanwhile, UK-based Frontier Software has upgraded and redeveloped its Chris21 software as a SaaS product called iChris.