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Tasmania open to cloud options for whole-of-government HR and payroll

by Pallavi Singhal •
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The Tasmanian Government will entertain the option of adopting of a Software-as-a-Service solution to replace its consolidated whole-of-government human resources and payroll arrangements.

The Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet (DP&C) is seeking consultants to review the current systems, foreshadowing a future approach to market for a new solution.

In 1996 10 Tasmanian agencies pooled their HR and payroll needs and conducted a single approach to market to meet their needs. The result was 10 common – but independently operated – systems which are now used to manage the workplace requirements of the State’s 28,000 public sector employees, who are paid a combined total of around $1 billion per annum, or $40 million per fortnight.

Each of the systems, however, is based on divergent interfaces and business processes.

 “It is time to comprehensively review the solution and the way it is implemented,” says the request for tenders.

The consultation is expected to commence on 1 March 2013 with a detailed feasibility study and roadmap for the future of the HR and payroll systems expected in late May, and findings and recommendations to be presented in June.

The scope of the consultancy includes:

  • A review of the effectiveness of the existing multi-tenanted consortium model;
  • Consideration of a move to a more contemporary environment (Software as a Service or Cloud) to deliver efficiencies;
  • The potential for productivity and efficiency through a standardisation of platforms, coding, processes and tools;
  • Risk assessment (including alternate solutions, development and transition costs and IR complexity); and
  • Identification of trends and agency appetite for additional whole-of-government systems for e-recruitment, training and development and more.

Significant problems in the current HR and payroll environment include divergent applications of systems across government agencies and inconsistent take up of productivity tools such as employee self-service, which the Government says leads to unnecessary duplication, according to tender specification documents.

The Tasmanian State Service (TSS) has around 28,000 employees across 43 awards and agreements, and the current payroll consortium is used by all public sector agencies and statutory authorities, with the exception of the Department of Finance and Treasury and the Tasmanian Audit Office.

The Tasmanian Government has not provided an estimate of what an overhaul of its payroll infrastructure could cost, but the size of the State’s public service can be compared to agencies and clusters within other governments which have embarked on their own payroll replacements.

Click here to see how the TSS compares to other government agencies in terms of employee numbers

The upcoming overhaul of the similarly-sized QLD Department of Community Safety (DCS) HR and payroll system is budgeted to cost $100 million. The system processes over $1 billion per year to around 11,000 full-time equivalent staff, and was originally implemented in the early 1990s.

The Queensland Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts, with 3,900 staff, is also due to approach the market soon to replace its disparate set of systems in operation.

Queensland Health attempted a rollout of a single payroll system across over 68,000 staff members in March 2010. The failed project has cost a total of around $1.2 billion, and saw the end of a shared services approach to corporate services by Queensland Health and Education.

NSW is continuing to use a centralised corporate shared services model, with SAP based solutions delivering human resources, payroll and finance solutions to around 8,000 users via shared services agency ServiceFirst.

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For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.

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