Council cuts off its legacy

Whitehorse City Council has retired an "unacceptably" old legacy-based system for payroll and HR to manage and streamline its business processes.

The Nunawading-based council east of Melbourne serves a population of 145,000 residents.

Whitehorse City Council's IS manager Jeff Carson said the problem with running the previous legacy system was that the hardware was "very aged".

"This increased the risk of hardware failure and [difficulties with] service and warranty," he said.

"Legacy-based systems are also slightly inflexible, so trying to find the skillset for the older platform was expensive and tough." A user of AXS-One's finance and e-procurement software for the past five years, the council has invested a further $250,000 in the upgrade which includes a self-service solution.

The legacy-based system - a Geac payroll package, TCS HR/Payroll - remained static, which meant it did not evolve with the changing administrative needs of the business.

"Using that system for 10 years, the council encountered continual configuration problems around competitive tendering activities, changing award policies and enterprise bargaining agreements. This presented risk and also a lot of missed business opportunities," Carson said.

There was also good reason to retire the legacy system because support for it through Geac was being phased out in Victoria where there were only a handful of users, according to Carson.

He said this presented an opportunity to replace the two-year-old Geac system with a solution with more sophisticated reporting capabilities, self-service options for staff and one that was operationally superior in terms of financial processes. "With the new [AXS-One] product we'll be able to support the business direction," Carson said.

AXS-One Payroll automates the payroll needs of organisations, including payments, deductions costing, entitlements, pay rates, and periods. It can be integrated with AXS-One HR Self-Service so users can access their payslips, update personal details, and apply for leave online.

The council will go live with the software in February 2004 to process the council's first pay run next year for its 1000 employees.

Carson said stand-out features of the product included a pivot-table feature, which overcame the operational problem of pay staff having to go to different sources for information on employees' pay, digging up a few information items, then using a calculator to do the sums on employee pay and benefits.

"PayGlobal is function-rich. It allows you to do a simple query and bring up the information you need. And if you want to group a field of data you can create a pivot table of that information and massage the data into view. This is easy to do and for our pay staff it is a powerful feature," he said.

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