Initiation and Development
In the mid-1990s the Commonwealth payroll, human resources, procurement, and budget business areas were searching for solutions to resolve long-standing and new business and information technology problems.6 The Commonwealth’s aging business information system was known as the Integrated Central System (ICS). ICS was customized by the Commonwealth and had taken about ten years to develop. It was implemented during the mid-1980s. Unlike many other states the ICS did provide the Commonwealth with an integrated system between the HR component and the payroll system. According to Rafael Perez-Bravo, Director, Bureau of Systems, Policy and Program Planning, Office of Administration, “ICS was very mature and it did what it was designed to do very well.” However, it was a legacy system in need of updating.
The Commonwealth’s Corporate CIO Advisory Group (made up of private sector chief information officers from PA businesses) and Gartner Consulting recommended an ERP solution to replace and advance beyond ICS. At that time, the strategic value of an ERP solution had been proven most often in the private sector with limited application in government. This situation provided the Commonwealth with little in the way of best or current public sector practices to draw on and naturally brought with it the risk inherent in any pioneering endeavor. However, the primary advantages of ERP in the private sector supported the Ridge Administration’s strategy to use technology to enable government change. The primary advantages of deploying the ERP software were expected to be:
- “Best business practices” incorporated in the software;
- state agency officials and staff would have ready access to real-time data for making better informed business decisions;
- improved infrastructure from which to deliver electronic-government services;
- increased opportunities for employees to enhance service delivery;
- potential for delivering improved service to internal and external customers; and
- economic development resulting from more effective state government operations making PA more attractive for business.7
6 Case for Change Report for Imagine PA, KPMG Consulting, April 27, 2001.
7 IES Project Background http://www.ies.state.pa.us/imaginepa/cwp/view.asp?A=6&Q=58215.
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