NSW RTA in major SAP refresh

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority has committed at least $2 million on a major SAP upgrade, with acting chief information officer John Thomas expecting the first phase to be completed by the end of 2008.

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority has committed at least $2 million on a major SAP upgrade, with acting chief information officer John Thomas expecting the first phase to be completed by the end of 2008.

"We've started on phase one of a significant upgrade to our existing SAP environment, predominantly in the finance areas," Thomas told ZDNet.com.au today.

The RTA in June 2008 awarded a contract worth just shy of $2 million to SAP specialist company Supply Chain Consulting, and a smaller contract to Presence Of IT to tackle the refresh of its SAP financial systems. The companies will, over the coming year, work alongside the RTA's internal IT staff on the project.

"We have taken our own SAP team and put them together with the consultants to do the upgrade to the latest version of SAP," Thomas said. "Within the team we have around 50 staff, and depending upon business interaction required, it can grow and shrink as and when required."

Thomas said the upgrade was "going according to plan" and that he expected to see the first results at the end of this year or early next year.

The SAP upgrade is just one of several major projects being undertaken by the RTA over the coming year, with the authority also hoping to roll out more services over its MyRTA Web site.

The RTA will engage its application development providers, Telstra-owned KAZ and Queensland-based company Facet to do the work, according to Thomas.

"We have a commitment to provide increasing numbers of services online and we're increasing it to around 20 per cent of our transactions in the next 24 months," he said.

Meanwhile, last week's revelation that its desktop and laptop supplier Optima had gone into administration has stirred up the RTA's plans to move its fleet of PCs wholly over to a Windows XP operating system.

"[The desktop] is currently a mixed ship, with both Windows 2000 and XP. We'll continue to roll out XP until we are running XP only," said Thomas.

As the RTA attempts to recoup $1.5 million in value locked into now-defunct warranties tied to its Optima-supplied hardware, it is currently negotiating with proposed new desktop supplier, Lenovo, to provide it with Windows XP PCs in the future.

According to Thomas, Lenovo is currently working to provide computers that it will supply pre-loaded with the RTA's standard operating environment, which includes roughly 350 applications. The deal for Lenovo stands to be a significant one if the RTA retains similar levels of PCs supplied under the deal it inked with Optima in 2006, which covered the supply of around 5,000 desktops and laptops.

The RTA is also amidst negotiations with incumbent datacentre service provider Fujitsu for the first of two 2-year extensions on a contract signed in 2005, which will see Fujitsu continue to host approximately 800 corporate applications for the RTA from two datacentres in Sydney.

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