NSW government gloats at successful SAP payroll implementation

The New South Wales Department of Trade has gloated that its SAP payroll system rollout has been much more successful so far compared to the botched Queensland Health payroll system implementation.

The New South Wales Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services has entered stage two of its AU$14.5 million SAP rollout for human resources, finance and payroll system, gloating that the payroll functions were delivered on-time and on-budget, unlike the Queensland Health payroll debacle.

The department announced in July 2012 that it would be consolidating the legacy ERP systems from 16 agencies and 8,500 employees to an SAP cloud platform using Business ByDesign.

In Budget Estimates yesterday, Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner described the project as "the largest cloud-based SAP program undertaken anywhere in the world" and had been viewed as a good example by other agencies in the government.

Stage one of the project saw the main department go live with the new finance system in December 2012, with the payroll system brought on in March this year. The department's director general Mark Paterson told the estimates hearing that the implementation had been "very successful" so far, and had performed much better than the Queensland Health payroll debacle .

"It will provide a pay-back inside 12-months from the investment that was made in undertaking this activity. I point out by contrast if you wanted to compare it, when Queensland Health sought to replace their payroll system at a cost of $4 million it took four years and $1.2 billion," he said.

"We paid everybody on time and correctly in the first live payroll run that we went on when we rolled out the new system. By any benchmark it has been successfully implemented."

Paterson said that moving to a cloud service required a change in the way the department completed tasks, but the decision had been a very cost-effective one.

"I would stand ready to respond to any particular issues that anybody had in relation to it. It was, without question, the most cost-effective, most efficient choice that we could have made to deliver those services and it has been done extremely cost effectively with high levels of security and certainty," he said.

Despite the praise for the new system, there have been teething issues in relation to invoices for services provided to the department not including purchase orders as required under the new SAP system.

"One of the issues that arose as part of the transition to the new enterprise resource planning process is that the system requires purchase orders to be part and parcel of an approval mechanism inside the Business ByDesign solution. If a purchase order has not been issued then the business will not be able to submit an appropriately compliant invoice," Paterson said.

"We have had to work through some of those issues when people have submitted invoices without reference to the appropriate purchase order. We have had to ensure that those submitting invoices identify the nature of the purchase or the service or goods provided and the purchase order that was issued."

Consulting Networks confirmed to ZDNet that it was responsible for the department's successful migration to the new payroll system, which it says is hosted locally within the Consulting Networks datacentre.

Following the completion of stage one, the next stage will be to roll out the systems in the Art Gallery of NSW, the museum, the state library and the Powerhouse Museum. Paterson said it would go live in these cultural institutions in October, and then stage three will see the systems implemented in the Local Land Services in January 2014.