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'Innovative corporate software system considered by other councils'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A Waikato Regional Council project to integrate its outdated corporate software systems is being considered by other Aotearoa New Zealand councils.

Project Reboot aims to replace a tangled web of 28 different software systems that don’t speak to each other with one integrated and smart solution to be launched in multiple phases.

Infor, a multi-national enterprise software company, has been contracted to Project Reboot. The company is helping the organisation move its business applications from the current on premise model to a Cloud-based software as a service model.

Phase one of the project has already been completed, with a new budgeting and planning system that has recently been used to support the council’s 2021-2031 Long Term Plan budgeting activities. Next off the blocks are the people and development systems in October, to be followed by the modules that help to manage 40,000 assets, many of which are designed to save lives, livelihoods or the environment.

The final phase relates to systems around financial management, and property and rating.

Waikato Regional Council Chair Russ Rimmington said, "I’m excited at the possibilities this tailored solution opens up for local government in New Zealand.

"Already at least two other New Zealand councils are looking to invest in this solution, and I’m sure others will follow," Cr Rimmington said.

"Four years ago the council was faced with old, failing systems that were high risk, costly to maintain and required more than a band aid fix. To do nothing was not an option.

"We don’t have to look too far for examples of a catastrophic system outage - it would impact our financial stability and, ultimately, the work we do for the community.

"The changes we are making set the council up for ongoing success, as well as create opportunities for us to take up more innovative technologies in the future," Cr Rimmington said.

During a public excluded session last Thursday, 29 July, Waikato regional councillors voted unanimously to increase the Project Reboot implementation budget by $5.468 million, to give a total revised budget of $16.985 million.

Waikato regional councillor and Finance and Services Committee Chair Barry Quayle said councillors had taken a close look at the project over the past 12 months, engaging some of the best international consultants.

"We’ve accepted it’s going to cost more to ensure we have a robust software system that can stand up to the cyber security risks we increasingly face, as well as ensuring the solution will deliver on our business requirements," Cr Quayle said.

"The extra year it’s going to take to complete this project has resulted in the retention of fixed term project resourcing and backfill for staff seconded to the project for an extended period.

"COVID-19 has also had a significant impact on the way the project is able to be conducted. The original approach would have seen Infor consultants on site, working with council staff throughout.

"Travel restrictions mean the project has now moved to a wholly virtual way of working. Of course, that’s meant travel savings, but there’s also been pitfalls through the need to change the ways we are able to collaborate that have contributed to the extended project duration and these are a driver for the revised project budget," Cr Quayle said.

The project is forecast to be complete in November 2022.

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