Police take on bad boy role in WA's shared services plan

The Western Australian government's ambitious shared-services plan to standardize more than 100 agencies on the Oracle platform has hit a snag with the Police Department stubbornly refusing to make the transition by sticking with SAP software.

Despite the hiccup, pilots are well under way with the first round of government agencies set to go live in May; the rest of the rollout will take place over the next two years.

Under the shared services model, which will save taxpayers $50 million a year from the 2007-08 financial year, the government will consolidate 21 different finance management solutions and 12 disparate payroll systems across 49 of its largest agencies.

Three shared services centres will also be established as part of the 10-year, $66.8 million deal with Oracle.

The WA government's Office of Shared Services (OSS) executive director Ron Mance confirmed WA Police has been excluded from the Oracle model with no immediate plans to migrate.

While unable to provide full details of the contractual arrangements with SAP by Computerworld's deadline, Mance said migration just isn't feasible at this time.

"The Police Department has been with SAP for a while and is currently extending the software's functionality; it is a long and staged rollout," he said. "We had to draw a line in the sand and allow Police to remain on SAP software."

Mance admitted the obvious timeframe for any migration would be when contracts are renegotiated and the Police Department is due for an upgrade. "When the department is due for an upgrade, we will expect a strong business case around any further investment," he added.

Upgrade timeframes were not immediately available but a SAP spokesperson did confirm that the software was introduced at WA Police in 1998.

Another agency that has also been excluded from the Oracle plan is the Education Department which is sticking with PeopleSoft for HR and payroll.

However, with Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft this isn't likely to create any real problems, according to Oracle managing director Ian White.

To date implementation of the plan, which will cost the government more than $80 million, has been such a success it will be used as a blueprint for other states.

White said Oracle is looking to pitch the blueprint to both state and federal governments with South Australia and Victoria the vendor's first targets. In fact, the OSS will be presenting the blueprint at an Interjurisdictional Group meeting to be held in Brisbane in May.

The event will be attended by IT representatives from every state and territory in Australia.

The OSS confirmed the federal government has also been invited to attend.

Established four years ago, the group meets twice a year to discuss shared services across government.

Large service providers such as EDS and IBM have not had a strong presence in WA with the market dominated by Oracle, Fujitsu, Unisys, CSC and the ASG Group. Oracle won the WA deal over SAP which submitted multiple bids in the tender process.

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