Datacom in discussions over Novopay contingency plan
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The acting secretary of education Peter Hughes has begun talking to Datacom about a contingency plan which may involve replacing Novopay.
Cabinet minister Steven Joyce, who announced a ministerial inquiry and technical audit on the troubled teachers payroll today, says Hughes has “commenced dialogue with previous supplier Datacom”.
The Ministry of Education signed the contract with Talent2 for Novopay in August 2008 and it was to be implemented two years later. But there were delays and it went live in August last year. During that time Datacom continued to provide the payroll service which it had developed as a bespoke service since 1996.
Today, Joyce told stuff.co.nz that rolling back on Novopay was "not a decision you would take lightly" and he would prefer not to "jump horses".
In the meantime, Joyce says solving software problems will be accelerated, and further resources and staff would be poured into fixing problems which have seen hundreds of teachers go unpaid and schools go into the red.
He says the extra cost is likely to run to millions of dollars. The government will supply cash and resources in the interim, until contractual issues were worked out with provider Talent2.
The technical audit would be carried out by Murray Jack of Deloittes to examine the "stability" of the payroll system, and Joyce says it will report back on whether problems were "critical".
The audit will include results from an audit currently being undertaken by Ernst and Young.
Joyce says Novopay is one of the largest and most complicated payrolls in Australasia, and he stressed there was no quick fix.
It was "too challenging" to say when teachers would begin to be paid properly, but the remediation plan stretched "to weeks, even months".
Joyce will take a proposal for a ministerial inquiry to Cabinet and it is likely to take three to four months. But he doesn’t want an inquiry to get in the way of fixing the problems.
Joyce was handed responsibility for fixing Novopay after Education Minister Hekia Parata and former associate Craig Foss failed to get to grips with the debacle.
Posted by Matthew Jenkinson at 19:48:47 on February 4, 2013
"Joyce says solving software problems will be accelerated, and further resources and staff would be poured into fixing problems which have seen hundreds of teachers go unpaid and schools go into the red."
Posted by Matthew Jenkinson at 15:20:15 on February 3, 2013
The only way to fix projects is takeout people and extend time-frames. But that will happen 2 weeks after Hell freezes over!
I call for a ban of Govt IT projects over $5M! If you have projects like these you HAVE to break them into smaller and manageable sizes. If you can't do that what makes you think you can do a $50M project?
I look at the $1bn+ monstrosity that IRD is attempting and just shudder. The reason they do such things is because they don't have a clue what they want. So they abstract to a level that is so vague that they can chop & change to their hearts content whenever. But this inevitably ends up in a pile of ... .
I'd say if people are angry at waste in Govt IT projects (and believe me this is not the only one by a long shot!) they should go and protest for the introduction of the a fore mentioned $5M (or lower) max IT limit.
Posted by Oliver at 9:40:19 on February 4, 2013
State Services Commission has a responsibility here to monitor IT projects, and other projects, why aren't they being held accountable.
This wasn't an ICT run project. This was run by the MoE business. The ICT CIO left her day job to programme manage something that the MoE business had been running for years.
Posted by Anonymous at 11:15:06 on February 4, 2013
If the data model being used accurately reflects the complexity of the ministry's payroll then the software will naturally become more stable over time as bugs are found and eliminated.
Unfortunately what is more likely is that the developers are struggling to adapt an inadequate data model to fit the expectations of the ministry. If this is the case then it will take years to put the necessary kludges in place to make it work correctly. It will also make any ongoing maintenance inordinately expensive.
Talent2 probably started the development process using a data model that was developed for another company or organisation. This is a fundamental mistake many developers make when developing software. The analysis and data modelling needs to be done from scratch to correctly fit the organisation concerned because each one will inevitably be different.
Posted by Matthew Jenkinson at 14:30:42 on February 3, 2013
Posted by Anonymous at 14:46:49 on February 4, 2013
Posted by Matthew Jenkinson at 10:38:52 on February 6, 2013
Posted by Anonymous at 9:38:42 on February 4, 2013
Takes two to tango. so shared blame with mass in-competence on both sides. And everyone ducks for cover and takes no responsibility. Meanwhile our poor teachers cop the lot!
Suggest you could halve the size of MoE and you would not notice any fall in productivity, and projects would be simplified and successful. Talk about too many chiefs and indians!
Posted by Anonymous at 14:56:44 on February 1, 2013
Posted by Anno at 16:26:25 on February 1, 2013