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Another Australian jurisdiction to replace budget management system

by Paris Cowan •
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Although traditionally one of the lowest ICT spending states, a significant systems integration project is likely to emerge over the next two years as the Tasmanian Government moves forward with the replacement of its Budget Information Management System (BIMS).

On 14 July the Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) approached the market to find a team of consultants to establish the detailed business case for a new system, with opportunities for software provisioning and systems integration likely to follow from their recommendations.

In May 2011, Tasmania’s DTF received a report from Croger Associates which concluded that the current BIMS could not be sustained for any more than another five years.

Originally developed in the 1990s, the BIMS “has a range of deficiencies that have been acknowledged for some time,” conceded the Department, including:

  1. Limited financial modelling, ad hoc reporting and analysis functionality;
  2. Limited flexibility to respond to policy and procedural reforms;
  3. Poor usability; and
  4. Fundamental technological deficiencies including poor integration with other systems.

In July 2011 the DTF launched Phase 1 of the system’s replacement, which involved the development of a high-level business case outlining the requirements for the new BIMS and options to achieve it, including:

  • the development of a new system from scratch;
  • the purchase of a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solution;
  • the purchase of a system already in use in another jurisdiction; or
  • adapting an existing off-the-shelf product to meet the Department’s needs.

The current approach to market fulfils Phase 2 of the BIMS program, the development of a far more detailed plan outlining a specific roadmap to guide the DTF through the replacement. The Department expects that the project will take the selected tenderer 1,000 staff hours over 16 months to complete, and hopes to have received the completed documentation by December 2013.

The selected team of consultants will be expected to investigate first hand the systems currently being used by other Australian governments.

The Federal Government, via the Department of Finance and Deregulation, last year chose to pursue a partially adapted COTS solution for the redevelopment of its Central Budget Management System (CBMS). It procured the software from SAP for $24.4 million and contracted CSC for the systems integration component of the job for $26.4 million.

The NSW Government will soon find itself on much the same path as Tasmania, with the interim Schott Report into public sector management recommending that Treasury and agency CFOs commence the business case design for an improved government financial management system “as a matter of urgency”.

The 2012-13 NSW Budget Papers revealed the Treasury has taken notice of this call and will use funds rolled-over from 2011-12 to commence the project within the financial year. Software vendors and systems integrators should keep an eye on the NSW market for business opportunities related to this work.

They should also be aware that if the Tasmanian Government decides that a COTS solution represents the State’s best option, a Request For Information is likely to be released in late 2013.

The BIMS replacement was identified in 2012-13 State Budget Papers as one of three key ICT projects being progressed by the Department in 2012-13, alongside the development of a new Land Tax System and a suite of essential IT Infrastructure upgrades and replacements. No estimates of project values, however, were applied to any of the initiatives.

Phase 3 of the BIMS replacement project will be determined by the recommendations of the Phase 2 report, and will involve implementation of the preferred solution. Tenders close for Phase 2 on 10 August 2012.


Related Articles:

Budget shines a light on Tasmanian ICT

Tasmania invites tenders for ‘closest thing’ to whole-of-government IT Services panel

Finance spends $60 million on Central Budget Management System redevelopment

Schott Report: NSW needs a new Budget Management System

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  • TAS
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  • Treasury
  • BIMS
  • CBMS
  • Schott Report
  • Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance