Last week’s industry briefing on future plans for Defence’s PMKeyS payroll and human resources system focused more on the update of key existing technologies rather than replacement.
Earlier this month, Defence Minister John Faulkner spoke of the Government’s commitment to invest “up to $500 million in a new payroll system, underpinned by robust processes and training packages”. This followed Defence CIO Greg Farr signalling “replacement of our HR system” last December.
No doubt that will be clarified in coming weeks, but the issue has ignited extensive “spirited debate” on the australianit.news website as comments flowed on the reported briefing. At the time of writing, 34 comments were recorded, surely an interesting statistic in itself.
There have been concerns about Defence’s HR & payroll systems. At the heart of the problem, PMKeyS is based on a version of PeopleSoft that ran out of support nearly two years ago; the system is mainframe-based and currently runs on an old version of DB2, again with support limitations. It is by no means an “off-the-shelf” PeopleSoft application as it contains some 6 million lines of custom code. These three factors combined underscore the extent of the problem Defence must overcome. They were highlighted earlier this year in a KPMG audit of Defence payroll systems and processes, following the controversy regarding payment of salary and allowances to SAS personnel.