Reseller News

Greater Wellington Regional Council strives to complete 'Project Optimus' in 2021

Project to replace SAP software is expected to "fully consume" available budget.
  • Rob O'Neill (New Zealand Reseller News)
  • 13 September, 2021 16:00
New software at Greater Wellington Regional Council well received, so far.

New software at Greater Wellington Regional Council well received, so far.

After a false start, Greater Wellington Regional Council is more or less on track to deliver new enterprise software from TechnologyOne on time and on budget.

The project aims to replace the council's legacy SAP software and other applications with new cloud-based software. 

Systems being targeted include financial management, human resources and payroll, a contract register, supply chain management, enterprise asset management, project lifecycle management, budgeting, forecasting and reporting.

While the project appears to be progressing reasonably well, it is the council's second attempt to implement new enterprise software, after a previous contract with Netherlands based Unit4 was cancelled in late 2019 at a cost of $3 million.

A report to the council's finance, risk and assurance committee last month said the programme aimed to deliver modules in a phased rollout over the year.

The project kicked off in February 2020 with a plan to go live in phases led by budgeting, HR and payroll in April, finance and enterprise asset management in August/September and the rest by the end of the year.

Budgeting, HR and payroll was delivered marginally late in early June.

"The short delay from the planned delivery date was prudent to ensure the readiness of our Greater Wellington officers, particularly the key system users in the payroll team," the report said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was also engaged to conduct a "stage gate" review before the go-live.

The council team had since successfully processed four full pay runs for staff, councilors and appointees.

"To date [council] staff have expressed a high degree of satisfaction in the new payroll system, citing the ease of use the new system and significant improvement in the availability of management information for our people leaders," the report said.

E-recruitment was expected in September/October, the new report said. The remaining modules, including finance and enterprise asset management were planned for delivery in December.

The Optimus project team was finalising the timeline for implementation of e-recruitment, which was subject to resource constraints within the HR management team.

Enterprise budgeting models were ready as planned and the council's long term plan for 2021-31 completed, enabling final migration and the retirement of the council's current Essbase budgeting application. 

The final major release – finance, contract and supply chain management plus asset management – was delayed by the change in the HR and payroll implementation date and re-planned to go live from 1 December.

The council's project team also had to conduct due diligence on the preferred TechnologyOne migration partner and an independent security review of the access methodology for that partner, conducted by Lateral Security.

While the project was expected to come in within budget, the revision of the timeline was expected to fully consume remaining funding.

Any further delays would require consultation with the council on "the appropriate options if required", the report said.

The combined software package has been named Ngātahi, “Working together as one”, by council staff.