The impact of COVID-19 is being blamed for a further cost blowout and delayed delivery of new enterprise software at Waikato Regional Council.
A request for increased funding and an extended implementation timeline for the so-called "Project Reboot" went before a council meeting at the end of July.
The public was excluded from the meeting due to the likelihood a public hearing would prejudice commercial negotiations.
Now, however, the council has confirmed that the budget has increased from $11.5 million to $17 million and the completion date from July this year to November next year.
Project Reboot was the vehicle to replace 28 legacy software systems with a single new system from US-based Infor in a project originally budgeted at $10.5 million in 2019.
By September 2020, the cost of the project had increased by $1 million to $11.5 million and its schedule had been extended by three months, according to a report from KPMG.
The council had been running Oracle's E-business Suite, Conquest asset management and PS Enterprise HR and payroll among other systems.
However, across finance, HR and asset management, business processes were still largely manual and complex, with work-arounds developed over time to address missing capabilities in the software and a lack of integration.
"The extended project duration is a key contributor to the need to increase the project delivery budget," the council told Reseller News in a statement.
"The project sees a number of phased go-lives – this means that aspects of the system will be functional ahead of the final go-live date of November 2022," the council explained.
For example, "Global HR" was expected to be live this October and asset management in February 2022.
The council said it started to replan the project with Infor in December last year to confirm components of the solution and to confirm the approach to the delivery of the remainder of the project.
"This followed a shift to a wholly virtual way of working between Council and Infor in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel restrictions."
Council discussions about the project had been fairly open and KPMG's monitoring reports accessible, but for several months discussions have been held in council meetings with the public excluded due to ongoing commercial negotiations,
A few kernels of information did emerge, including the fact the project was rated red on the commonly used RAG (red, amber, green) scale used to denote project status.
Red is a sign that progress was unfavourable or that problems were being encountered.
As part of the replanning, Waikato Regional Council also reviewed its own project resourcing requirements.
"Recruitment was commenced alongside replanning for vacant fixed term project roles, with appointments pending approval of the revised project timeline and budget," the council said.
"The costs of these project resources are included within the revised project implementation budget.
Meanwhile, a tender for a new payroll system was completed in 2020, however, no contract has been awarded as yet.
Council decided instead to remain on its current payroll software and integrate it with the new Infor solution in the short to medium term.
"A refreshed market approach and evaluation will be taken in time to implement a new payroll solution before support arrangements for the current application end," the council said.