The Department of Human Services (DHS) has consolidated four separate enterprise resource planning systems into a single SAP installation for its 37,000 staff.
Departmental staff delivered the new SAP human resources (HR) and finance platform in November, after absorbing Medicare, Child Support Agency, Centrelink and CRS Australia in July.
Chief information officer Gary Sterrenberg said the consolidated system made it “four times easier” for the department to implement a new Enterprise Agreement in December.
The Enterprise Agreement took effect on 27 December, bringing staff from all four agencies under the same agreement for the first time.
“Implementing the new Enterprise Agreement on the new SAP system provided efficiencies and streamlined processes that would not have been achievable under previous systems,” Sterrenberg said, without quantifying the time saved.
The DHS chose to consolidate on SAP’s ERP 6 and Business Information Warehouse (BW) 7 products for managing HR and finance.
Prior to consolidation, Centrelink and other departmental staff used SAP ERP 6 while Medicare used SAP ERP 6 for finance and Aurion 188.8.131.52 for HR.
Only “essential data” was moved from the agencies’ various databases to the new, consolidated system.
Other data is stored for record-keeping purposes and accessible via the retired software programs as needed.
“We made the decision not to [move data across] because of the speed at which we were moving,” he said. “Also, the data in [previous] constructs wasn’t relevant to the future model.”
Sterrenberg said the SAP project is the department’s first step towards banking the benefits of integrating its agencies by having them share applications.
He said the department will provide ongoing SAP training for all staff, who use the platform to book leave and access other HR functions.
But not much training is needed, he said, because most staff have used SAP in the past.
“We did a huge amount of testing obviously because it was payroll related,” Sterrenberg said. “The sign of success is a successful payroll and we delivered that on day one.”