State-owned Education Payroll embarks on two-year, $10.1M Oracle upgrade

State-owned Education Payroll embarks on two-year, $10.1M Oracle upgrade

Credit: Oracle

Education Payroll Limited (EPL), the Crown company that manages NZ school payrolls, is planning a $10.1 million upgrade to its Oracle software.

The company's statement of performance expectations for the 2022 financial year said the costs would be spread over two years and included increased licensing, support, and other "unavoidable technology costs".

"New Oracle licenses are being purchased as part of the upgrade project," the statement said. "This outlay is forecast to occur at the end of 2020/21 but will have ongoing operating cost implications for several years ahead."

Operational efficiencies from implementation of straight-through processing were also expected to be paused during the upgrade.

In the 2019 financial year, Deloitte appeared to undertake most of EPL's outsourced, Oracle related work, earning $3.3 million after being selected from an all of government procurement panel. The contract was described as "ongoing".

The company's immediate 2021/22 capital budget included $5.8 million for Oracle upgrade work, $0.9 million for technology infrastructure improvements, and $1.9 million for other development to the schools EdPay portal.

EdPay was rolled out in 2019 as part of a $26 million investment to avert "almost certain failure" of its original Novopay system.

EPL was founded in 2014 to take control and ownership of the failed Novopay schools payroll rollout from provider Talent2.

In its statement of intent for 2021 to 2025, EPL said it had made significant improvements to the front end of its systems over the past few years, with an emphasis on simplification, reliability and risk reduction. 

"Our EdPay online portal has a better customer experience and is delivered through a digital user interface, with supporting application architecture and systems integration," it said. 

"EdPay has been progressively rolled out to schools to replace Novopay Online, with good uptake by schools and increased customer satisfaction."

EPL's education payroll development programme (EPDP), established in 2017, had been transitioned to "business as usual" last July as EdPay made payroll tasks easier, increased straight-through processing and reducing manual effort. 

"The majority of high-volume tasks are now fully online in EdPay and we are transitioning the remaining tasks from Novopay Online to EdPay," EPL reported.

EdPay operational efficiencies included streamlined handling of payroll instructions, increasing system validation and more routine transactions requiring no manual intervention. 

"We are focused on identifying and removing work-arounds, finding supportable solutions, and providing security for our customers," EPL said.

The focus now was on optimising the life, effectiveness and value of EPL's technology investments. In addition to the Oracle upgrades, the core pay engine was also expected to be reviewed and cyber security boosted.

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Tags project failurenovopayeducation payrollAscenderpayroll softwareEdPay



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