Treasury reports the benefits of three major ICT projects are in doubt

A Police payroll project, Customs' Joint Border Management System and a new platform for Statistics NZ are threatened.

Of 22 major New Zealand government ICT projects, three face a significant risk of not achieving their benefits within budget and on time, a monitoring report (pdf) from Treasury revealed today.

The Customs' Joint Border Management System (JBMS) project achieved improved ratings. It advanced from a red colour-code to amber-red since the last report but remains at risk.

The Statistics 2020 project to replace the agency's core systems was also rated amber-red.

Meanwhile, a Police payroll system project has been downgraded from amber to amber-red and is in need of additional funding.

The first phase of that project is to replace an error-prone Peoplesoft payroll system for benefits of NZ$33.1 million by 2023.

"The delivery confidence assessment for this project has moved to amber/red, as emerging system change requests and the need for more resources have put pressure on the development schedule and budget," Treasury reported.

"A short review by PwC has found there are risks to the go live date of 1 April 2016 and current payroll defects are greater than anticipated. Costs have risen by NZ$10 million (29 percent) and the project is unlikely to be delivered within its total appropriated costs of $56.2 million."

Treasury defines its amber-red code as meaning successful delivery of the project against budget, schedule, scope and benefits, is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of areas.

"Urgent action is needed to ensure these are addressed, and determine whether resolution is feasible."

Statistics 2020, which has so far cost NZ$93.1 million, still faces uncertainty around future scope and direction, Treasury says.

"The work on the strategic refresh of the organisation has delayed an update of the Statistics 2020 business case. Once the business case has been revised, the programme will need to seek Cabinet approval for the revised scope of the programme.

"The revised scope may have cost implications, however Statistics NZ has indicated that they do not intend to ask for new funds as part of the updated business case."

Customs' JBMS received a better rating due to adoption of a new five-tier delivery model, not because of an increase in confidence, Treasury reports.

"There is continuing evidence of strong commercial management from Customs, commitment by ... executives to mitigate schedule risk, and the closure of key capability gaps. However, the risk of late delivery of the final major release of Trade Single Window (TSW) Release 10 is still too high to warrant an improved rating."

TSW Release 8 was deployed in March 2015, providing self-service functionality to traders. Feedback from users has been positive.

"A key challenge for the programme is to keep to the tight schedule required to meet the targeted TSW Release 10 go-live date," the report says. "The programme is using advanced schedule risk assessment techniques to manage this issue."

Although ICT projects make up 58 percent of the major project portfolio monitored by Treasury, they account for only 31 percent of total project costs.