"Glitches in Payroll System Spark Furor" ... "City Fires Vendor Over ERP Implementation Problems" ... "City's Financial System Upgrade Runs Into Problems" ... "County Will Try Again to Modernize Computer System."
What state or local municipal IT executive wants to read these real headlines in the local newspaper?
The fact is they highlight the challenges city executives face when implementing or upgrading technology. There's often a natural resistance among municipal leaders to risk change because when implementations go poorly, there's a good chance they'll receive public criticism. Whether from the employee's or vendor's perspective, failure is a badge no executive wants to wear.
With the economy struggling, technology executives at municipalities across the country are under increasing pressure to cut costs and find ways to operate more efficiently and effectively. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) has long been held up as a primary vehicle to get there, both in the commercial and municipal sectors. But as the aforementioned headlines show, when it comes to municipal ERP implementations, the end results seem hardly guaranteed.
Los Angeles was in a technological hornet's nest in 2005. Government officials were under scrutiny for a PeopleSoft 8.8 upgrade that had gone badly. Beyond the multimillion-dollar price tag for taxpayers, the purchased technology wasn't delivering on its promised capabilities. City staff was working overtime to make the system operational.