More councils eye IRIS shared software platform

Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Gisborne District Council may join shared council platform consortium.

At least two more New Zealand councils are considering replacing legacy core ICT systems and looking favourably at joining a consortium with six others to implement a shared platform.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council received a report (pdf) on its core platform options from deputy chief executive Eddie Grogan in May saying the IRIS shared platform "is one of the potential off-the-shelf software packages that meet the requirements of its Stack IT Solution (SITS) project."

The report adds that Gisborne District Council initiated a business transformation programme this year which could also lead it to joining IRIS.

"Over the next two years they expect to review regional council business processes and procure a system that better aligns with these needs," Grogan's report says. "They indicated that they expected IRIS to be the front-runner in their procurement."

IRIS, developed by Datacom, was launched last September and implemented at two regional councils with four more to follow in 2014. The regional councils involved are Northland, Horizons, Taranaki, Waikato, West Coast and Environment Southland.

Datacom developed the software after off-the-shelf systems were rejected.

Grogan's report says many of the applications now being used to capture core information at Bay of Plenty Regional Council are fragmented, cumbersome to use and present operational risk. As a result, users are spending too much time recording and maintaining data.

"Out of date software applications [are] constraining system upgrades, preventing functional gaps from being filled and using development capacity to 'band-aid' current solutions," the report says.

In March, the council consulted on a proposal to join IRIS, receiving four submissions from interest groups which all supported the concept. 

However, Grogan's report says any final decision will be subject to an open tender.

Meanwhile, the council is pursuing a trio of other significant ICT project including implementing a human resource information system in Technology One, a laboratory system replacement using Labware and a reconfiguration of its Technology One finance, works and asset management systems, described as "heavily modified" 

"Due to the modifications and the complexity of the current system it is unable to be fully supported by the vendor, TechnologyOne. This creates a high level of vulnerability and risk to council," the report says.

The NZ$5.1 million IRIS system, owned by council-controlled Regional Software Holdings on behalf of consortium members, manages regulatory areas of consents, compliance, biosecurity, and enforcement. After launch it was to be extended to include public interaction and engagement and mobile device field data capture.