Qld's $56m SAP housing system replacement is back on

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Qld's $56m SAP housing system replacement is back on

Public works department given a second chance.

Queensland’s Department of Housing and Public Works has been given a second chance to get its $56 million SAP replacement back on track after the project spent months in limbo.

The future of property and tenancy systems (FOPATS) rebuild had been the most expensive project on the red light list of Queensland’s IT dashboard for most of 2016.

The multi-million dollar scheme was put on hold in the first half of of the year so the department could undertake a “re-baseline to confirm program scope, timing and costings for board approval”.

Officials have spent the months since weighing up whether the late, underperforming project is worth keeping, or whether they should start again from scratch.

When it was paused, according to the dashboard listing, the government had already spent $27 million of its $56.3 million budget. Much of the money will likely have gone to UK government software vendor Northgate Public Services, which was engaged to deliver a new solution for Queensland Housing under a $23.9 million deal.

The contract was expected to deliver a fully hosted managed service, provided from onshore data centres.

Northgate Public Services also built, and continues to support, the equivalent system for the NSW state government.

The department has now confirmed to iTnews that the halt is officially over, and the project has been given the green light to continue.

“The project is no longer paused and will be delivered in two phases – property release and tenancy release. It’s expected that delivery of the first phase will begin in the second half of this year,” said a spokesman.

“FOPATS is a significant and complex software investment that will improve the department’s ability to deliver services to some of our most vulnerable Queenslanders.”

The overhaul, which began in mid-2013, was originally due to be complete in June this year.

It involves the replacement of the existing housing system, in use since 1998 and built on a heavily customised version of SAP 4.6C. It exited vendor support in 2007, and extended support in 2015.

The system has been criticised by CIO Tim Dunn in the past as a finance solution twisted and tweaked to meet the needs of a public housing agency.

The legacy solution can’t support the housing department’s future plans for a single client view, mobility, integration with other asset and maintenance systems, or customer self-service.

Housing providers are also unable to input data directly to the system, creating the need for a multitude of manual data exchanges between the department and its multitude of housing partners.

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