The Queensland government and Datacom have finally inked a human resources software-as-a-service deal after a tumultuous and expensive two years since the contract went to tender.
The contract marks one of the first significant milestones in the state’s $100 million HR systems overhaul for emergency services, which commenced four years and $30 million ago.
However, it represents just a small slice of the work Datacom was originally promised, with the majority of the project to now remain in the hands of an internal government shared services provider.
The project was established to get Queensland’s ambulance workers, firies and prison officers off the out of date LATTICE payroll platform.
LATTICE has been out of vendor support since June 2008.
The state’s public safety shared services agency started taking bids in February 2014 for a cluster-wide, cloud-based human capital management solution.
But the tender also included the prospect of outsourcing the entirety of payroll business processes and HR management to the successful bidder, in keeping with the then-LNP government’s privatisation push.
Sources told iTnews Datacom was on the verge of signing a very large deal with the Public Safety Business Agency in late 2014, which would have seen it take over these back office functions and process them on its own SAP-based platforms.
But with a change of government in January 2015, the goal posts suddenly shifted.
The new Labor government had no appetite for this sort of outsourcing, instead campaigning for public sector job security.
This meant the deal remained in limbo until a contract was finally settled on January 29 this year.
As a result of Labor's campaign to keep such service delivery in house, Datacom and Queensland have signed a deal only for the human capital management capabilities that were put out to tender in 2014.
It means Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and the office of the Inspector General of Emergency Management (IGEM) will be moved onto SAP's SuccessFactors cloud-based HCM platform.
PSBA CEO Kelvin Anderson confirmed to iTnews the contract would not involve any business process outsourcing to a third party.
The PSBA would not disclose a value for the deal, claiming it was “commercial in confidence”, but refused to explain why.
But the figure is understood to be significantly less than what was put on the table during the original contract negotiations given the change in scope.
The much larger component of the HR systems overhaul, creating an alternative to the legacy LATTICE payroll solution, has instead been placed in the hands of Queensland Shared Services.
QSS and the PSBA will shift the PSBA agencies - with the exception of the Queensland Police Service, which doesn’t use LATTICE - onto its Aurion HR system.
The change in approach has reduced the overall expected value of the project only marginally, from the $101 million originally set aside in the 2012 state budget to $98.9 million, according to the government’s ICT dashboard.
The ICT dashboard still lists the project deadline as the end of December 2017.
But it also advises that “the schedule and timelines will be reviewed and updated to align to government direction received from Department of Premier and Cabinet and Department of Treasury and Trade”.