Vic hospitals overhaul HR/payroll systems

Victorian public hospitals are replacing legacy human resources and payroll systems to prepare for the decommissioning of their existing Unisys systems from July 1.

The decommissioning is being handled by Allegiance Systems, previously known as the Health Computing Services Victoria (HCS), which dominated the provision of HR/payroll systems to Victorian public hospitals before its privatisation in 1998 by the former Kennett government.

Allegiance is offering Victoria's hospitals upgrades in favour of SAP R/3 solutions via its application service provider (ASP) model. Alternatively, they may go to market for another provider.

According to Ian Stringer, Allegiance's general manager for business development, hospitals are currently at different phases of evaluating and making decisions on their HR/payroll systems.

Stringer also said that the cost of migrating to SAP should not be an issue among hospitals because the ASP model will reduce much of that cost. "SAP may be known as an expensive package, but by using the ASP model it is no more costly than any other solution. The capital expenditure of owning SAP is built into the rental costs," said Stringer.

Bendigo Health Care Group (BHCG), the first public hospital in Victoria to upgrade its HR/payroll system using Allegiance's ASP model, is paying approximately $700,000 over five years for its SAP R/3 system.

Allegiance, which has 30 years experience in supplying HR/payroll systems, deploys, hosts and manages preconfigured or customer-specific SAP applications from its centrally managed facility on a subscription-based payment basis.

"BHCG's choice will be closely watched by other hospitals and regional health networks. This is an important customer for us, because a lot of hospitals are still waiting and seeing," said Stringer.

BHCG is the largest regional health service in Victoria and has 2500 employees covered by 15 awards and enterprise agreements, with a mix of full-time, part-time and casual staff.

Besides BHCG, other Allegiance customers using SAP R/3 HR/payroll solutions are the Department of Human Services and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Victoria.

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