Defence kicks off massive Oracle refresh

Summary:The Department of Defence has released the long-awaited request for tender to refresh its languishing human resources and payroll systems — but it's not ditching its Oracle/PeopleSoft systems.

The Department of Defence has released the long-awaited request for tender to refresh its languishing human resources and payroll systems — but it's not ditching its Oracle/PeopleSoft systems.

Worth up to $500 million, the tender Defence issued today is likely to be the largest released by any government agency this year. The HR systems refresh has been on the wish list of Defence chief information officer Greg Farr since his appointment in late 2007 and was foreshadowed by him early last year as the first major project he would undertake.

The tender documents revealed that Defence will retain its PeopleSoft (Oracle) system, PMKeyS, but will upgrade it to the latest release. The system currently in use does not have vendor support — an issue flagged in a recent systems audit conducted by KPMG.

PMKeyS currently integrates military and civilian staff records and handles payments to civilian staff. Meanwhile, military payroll is handled by two separate systems, Australian Defence Force PAY (ADFPAY) and Central Reserve Pay System (CENRESPAYII), which was at the centre of the pay fiasco late last year when some officers were receiving incorrect payments. Earlier this year Minister for Defence, John Faulkner, said the government would commit up to $500 million to remedy the problem systems.

Defence now plans to funnel all payment functions through a new Oracle platform, HCM Version 9, "Global Payroll System", which it will implement as part of the refresh. PMKeyS's existing functionalities, except for payments, will be migrated to the latest version.

The tender's release is a sign the CIO has gained the high level internal support that Farr's successive predecessors have failed to gain. Other major projects on the Defence's list include trimming back 200 of its datacentres to fewer than 10. Earlier this year Defence also took on the government-wide procurement of Microsoft licensing as part of the savings plan recommended under the Gershon review.

Bidders hoping to win the deal will likely have to cancel Christmas plans with negotiations expected to take place over the new-year break. Tenders close on 7 October with an anticipated start date of February 2010.

Topics: CXO, Government, Government : AU, Oracle

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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