NSW Education's SAP rollout suffers delays and cost blowout

Summary:The replacement of legacy finance and HR systems in the NSW Department of Education and Communities has again had its deadline slightly delayed and its budget extended.

A deadline for the overhaul of legacy HR, finance and payroll systems in the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities (DEC) has again been pushed out to later in 2014 amid a cost blowout from AU$386 million to an estimated AU$458.7 million.

The LMBR project  was set to replace 15-year-old legacy finance, human resources, and payroll systems with SAP systems. The project was broken up into two phases to be rolled out over eight years, with the last stages coming on in 2014.

The first phase of deploying finance systems in state and regional offices and in TAFE NSW was completed in 2010.  When it came time to roll out the systems in the schools, the deadline for this part of the project was pushed originally in 2011 until November this year, according to a report from the NSW Auditor-General (PDF), due to design complexities, legacy system integration issues and a scope increase from needing to decommission the legacy systems.

The department also decided to split the implementation of the finance and HR/payroll systems in DEC's executive branch because it was "not practical" to execute at once, and deferred the delivery of the HR and payroll system until 2014.

The rollout of the management and finance systems is expected to reach 229 schools by this month, but the implementation of the HR/payroll and financy systems to the over 2,000 schools across NSW is not expected to be completed until some time in 2014, after additional upgrades are made to systems in TAFE NSW.

The report also revealed that while the project was initially expected to cost AU$386 million, the budget was raised to AU$397 million during the last financial year in order to accomodate emerging requirements of TAFE NSW.

Despite the increase in costs, the audit report said that the new systems would allow the department, schools and TAFEs to better manage their workforce, and said that the success of other reform programs in the department were reliant on the success of the LMBR project.

Topics: Government, Australia, Government : AU, SAP

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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