Brisbane Council OKs $353m SAP deal

Brisbane Council approved a $353 million project with SAP yesterday, which will see 62 systems rolled into one.

Brisbane Council approved a $353 million project with SAP yesterday, which will see 62 systems rolled into one.

The project, called the Business and System Efficiency (BaSE) program, had been announced last week, pending the result of a council meeting yesterday afternoon where the contract was to be approved. Brisbane Council has now confirmed that it was given the tick.

The revamp will touch every council system, most of which are a decade old and aren't integrated.

"[Brisbane] Council's current systems are outdated and need to be brought into the 21st century, if we want to cement Brisbane's reputation as an economic powerhouse in the Asia-Pacific Region," Lord Mayer Graham Quirk said in a statement.

"To do nothing is not an option."

Examples of work to be done under the roll-out include:

  • Eliminating manual timesheets for payroll, which the council hopes will increase the accuracy of pay and reduce the need for data entry

  • Creating a single staff database, so that staff can easily be transferred within the organisation

  • Creating a single register for council assets, so that the organisation has a better idea of what condition they are in, to better organise maintenance

  • Enabling mobile devices, to be used for jobs in the field

  • Introducing a system that prioritises jobs (like tree lopping), while keeping a record of which jobs have been done and which still need to be completed.

"This new system will allow us to create one council, that is seamless to deal with for residents and businesses," Quirk said.

The cost of the upgrade will be spread over the next ten years, with the bulk of the expenditure to fall in the first three years of implementation. The council expects the spend to be offset by savings of $450 million, so that the council will come out with $100 million in the bank, if all goes to plan.

The council said that it predicted that taxpayers will need to need to shell out $212 million to run the current systems over the next ten years if nothing is changed. The new systems has a $111 million operating system cost over the same period.

The $353 million is made up of the operating cost, $194 million in total for implementation (of which $104 million is to be spent in 2012-2013) and $45 million for contingency, alongside a few smaller payments specific to the council.

Quirk last week addressed fears that the SAP roll-out would go the same way that Queensland Health's roll-out had — ending in pay chaos for medical staff. He pointed out that, although both roll-outs used SAP, Queensland Health's issues had been in the project management and implementation, not the software, itself.

"We're also being flexible in our delivery, to ensure we get it right the first time before making the final switch, to avoid the mishaps Labor created with their rushed implementation for Queensland Health," Quirk said.

"That said, we've put in place strict contractual arrangements regarding any potential late delivery or cost increases, to ensure we get the best service and value for ratepayers, something Labor and Queensland Health also failed to do."

Queensland Health's roll-out was implemented by IBM, while the Council's roll-out will be carried out by Accenture.

The council had held an open tender process and selected Accenture back in 2010, however, when the floods arrived, the project was put on hold. Now that the aftermath of the floods has settled down, the decision was to kickstart the project once more, with the vendor that had been chosen previously.