Clean sweep at RTA

Looking to overcome an "obsolete" system and a solution that had been modified to the point of being "unsupportable", the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) is upgrading its entire IT infrastructure.

The NSW government department is currently implementing SAP solutions to replace its current finance and human resources systems. They are expected to go live towards the end of the first quarter of next year. These implementations are part of a multi-stage implementation that comprises CRM, business warehouse, logistics, enterprise self-service and workflow.

In line with the organisation's move towards e-commerce, the authority is also looking at implementing a SAP B2B solution, expected to be online by March next year. The RTA has already implemented e-business services for its customers.

Greg Carvouni, CIO for the RTA said even though the SAP project was replacing quite a number of existing IT systems, many others would be staying, so integration was a key concern.

"Any solution we implemented needed to be an out-of-the-box, back and front office solution, which would fully integrate with our existing supply chain systems."

"The DRIVES system, our front office solution, which supports 1,500 users over 240 sites, needs to be interfaced and reconciliations have to be transferred over. We also have an extensive real estate portfolio, so the property system needs to be interfaced as well. Virtually every system that the RTA uses needs to be interfaced."

Under the organisation's legacy systems, staff were faced with masses of text-based screens which had little in the way of on-line help. With the new solutions, the interface will be consistent.

Carvouni said due to the project's 18-month preparation process, including detailed contract negotiations and scoping, and the development of the blueprint for the implementation, the "issues of integration don't seem insurmountable".

Carvouni said the Oracle financial solution, which will be replaced, had been highly modified, had maintenance issues and could no longer be support by Oracle. "It would have been a large step to move it forward."

"The system was 10 years old and ran an 800-batch program that had to be run in a certain order, so if something happened, well, it didn't make for good relations."

Carvouni added that since the solution had been implemented, the organisation had changed its focus and as a consequence, the solution didn't easily deliver the information we required.

"Our IT resources used to spend a significant amount of time in application development. The [SAP] implementations will unlock IT staff from looking after a system that was of low value. They will also be able to be more responsive as the system will be more reliable."

The RTA is also moving its HR system back in-house as part of this project. The system was previously outsourced. However, Carvouni said the company was taken over and the RTA were informed at the time that their solution would no longer be supported.

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