The rollout of a massive IT system in government usually involves a big effort, big decisions and big challenges. For state and local governments grappling with legacy technology, these variables can easily derail a well-intended project.
But in Texas, the state’s Comptroller’s office is a prime example of how governments can buck that trend and successfully implement enterprise systems. The journey for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA) began in 2007 when the Texas Legislature charged the office with implementing a standard enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for all state agencies.
According to a recent report, Texas’s latest ERP system will produce major gains in IT performance, user accessibility and cost savings statewide. For instance, CPA aims to earn 50% in projected cost savings from the system by the end of 2020.
There are few responsibilities harder for agencies than enterprise resource planning (ERP). ERP manages an agency’s key business practices with technology that operates in real-time. State and local agencies can use ERP software to collect, store, manage and analyze data about such important topics as payrolls.
Texas’ statewide ERP is projected to support accounting, personnel and payroll applications for more than 100 agencies by the end of 2022. This ERP platform will also assist about 156,000 full-time equivalent employees across Texas by the same date.
The system will additionally enable approximately $99 billion in spending from Texas’s government statewide in late 2022. Enterprise software provider Oracle and Accenture, a professional services company, aided the CPA with launching the ERP framework used by every agency statewide.
Texas’ ERP is called the Centralized Accounting and Payroll/Personnel System (CAPPS), and it demonstrates cloud computing’s value to state and local agencies.
Using cloud’s distributed, on-demand computing resources, CPA hopes to meet four objectives by the end of 2020 statewide:
- Earn 50% in project cost savings
- Improve ERP system performance
- Heighten application availability
- And, gain the ability to add new agencies without major IT installations or architecture changes
While conclusive results won’t materialize until 2020 ends, CPA’s early data indicates it is on track to meet its objectives.
So how did CPA launch an ERP portal that meets the needs of Texas’ diverse state and local agencies no matter their mission? According to Sandra Woodruff, CPA’s Deputy Director of Fiscal Management, three moves can help agencies duplicate Texas’s success.
1. Plan and communicate
Woodruff said deploying CAPPS required in-depth collaboration between state agencies and technology vendors.
Accenture provides managed services for CAPPS’ applications and IT infrastructure, while Oracle enables the system’s cloud environment.
“Having both Accenture and Oracle at the table was critical to their understanding of our needs and to the project’s success,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff also recommended that executives and project teams regularly communicate during projects such as CAPPS.
2. Assess cloud capabilities
Woodruff said agencies that don’t understand their clouds won’t get the best availability, connectivity and network load balancing.
“Work with the vendor to create an architecture that meets your needs, although it might be a different design than you initially expect,” she said.
3. Test clouds
Woodruff added that agencies should test their applications, so they understand how cloud will be most beneficial.
“The proof-of-concept testing gave us more confidence that the change to Oracle Cloud would be successful and that it could handle our large and complex back-office environment,” she said.
Following Texas’ lead, agencies can elevate their ERP systems to similar heights by intelligently adopting cloud.
To read more about this case study, download the full report here.