Centrelink's new payments engine enters build phase

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Centrelink's new payments engine enters build phase

Infosys completes proof of design, picks up $143m contract.

Infosys’ build of the country’s new Centrelink payments calculation engine has progressed to the next stage of development following a seven-month proof of design.

iTnews can reveal the entitlements calculation engine (ECE) solution, which is based on Pegasystems software, entered the build phase on time at the start of July.

Services Australia will use the engine to work out the entitlements eligibility of welfare recipients and how much to pay them through its SAP-based ‘Payments Utility’ platform from 2021.

It is the latest part of the billion-dollar Centrelink payments overhaul, otherwise known as the welfare payments infrastructure transformation program, which has now passed the halfway mark.

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert also recently confirmed that the solution will eventually be used across Services Australia, including for Medicare and aged care payments.

Infosys has been developing the ECE to replace Centrelink’s existing calculation engine since November after beating IBM and Accenture in a 13-week competitive dialogue (CD) process.

Building on the work completed during the CD process, the Indian IT services provider has spent the past seven months developing a “proof of design”.

This has involved completely reimagining the existing solution embedded in Centrelink’s legacy income security integrated system (ISIS), including decoupling the business rules.

But that work has now wrapped up, with Services Australia's general manager Hank Jongen telling iTnews that the “initiate and design phase of work” was completed and signed off on in June.

He said the build phase subsequently began at the start of July and is estimated to be finished by the end of December 2023.

In the process, Infosys has also scored its first major contract with Services Australia under its deed of standing order worth $142.6 million.

The new three-and-a-half year contract, which was published last week, complements Infosys’ $18.4 million contract for the proof of design work over the past seven months.

Infosys ANZ public sector general manager Allen Koehn told iTnews last year that following the proof of design, around 200 additional staff would be brought onto the project.

He said the team, which has sat at around 80 since November, would then take onboard the “lessons learned” during the proof of design and apply tweaks before starting the build phase.

“Once we get into the actual build phase, and we’re building groups of benefits at a time, then we’re actually running them in production parallel and comparing the results,” he said at the time.

“And if the results are different to the legacy applications, that’s where the rules extraction out of the legacy application becomes important to do the tweaking that we need.”

The government would then be able to “decide to turn off the old bits and pieces … and go solely on the new system", though Koehn expects both systems will run in parallel at some stage.

Infosys expects an early version of the solution to be up and running sometime in 2021.

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