Wollongong Council Picks SAP

The first Australian local government to make the change to a full SAP solution expects a few "testing moments" when it starts its rollout in July 2001.

Following a 12-month evaluation period, Wollongong City Council will replace current legacy systems with the mySAP.com local government solution, developed by SAP Australia and Deloitte Consulting.

Rod Oxley, general manager for Wollongong City Council, said although the SAP software modules are already integrated, a project team has been put together to resolve any issues raised during the integration of legacy systems, which contain the geographical information and the property rates system.

Oxley said the team had no firm date for when the e-commerce site will be up and running, but said "definitely by the end of next year".

"It will be progressively developed, we want customers to make contact with us electronically. The ability to pay rates will be a function to be added early. We already pay our creditors electronically."

The council is in the "blueprinting phase" now, designing to requirements the software modules, with SAP and Deloitte. Subject to outcomes, it will start training staff and implementing modules by July 2001.

"We expect to roll out first the financial package and property rates system so we are able to provide e-commerce to our customers by the start of the new financial year, and will progress from there. We are unsure at this stage what will be done next as we are still blueprinting," Oxley said.

"We are currently working on designing quite a number of online services and intend to provide a continual rollout once we have the solution in place. These are likely to be anything from pet registration right through to payments of rate notices."

The council, which serves about 200,000 residents, is moving away from local government-specific software, Genesis and other application-specific systems, including third-generation language tools used to generate specific reports.

Oxley said under the current legacy systems, which have been in place for up to 13 years, the council was unable to track issues and comments made by Wollongong residents. "These applications will disappear, as the SAP implementation will provide for the current output."

"[Our present legacy systems are] not e-commerce enabled; we want to be able to do transactions electronically with our customers. The SAP software is e-enabled, which will give us better control over our processes. We realised that we needed an e-commerce site as B2B and B2C is the way of the future."

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