"Given the scale and complexity of HA operations and the multiple levels of staff, the project proved challenging," noted Lansley. Oracle also remarked that the HR implementation was among one of the largest single "big bang" HR projects in Asia given the extensive requirements for all 59,000 staff members.
The technology implementation itself was complex, but the management of change proved to be a very difficult proposition to overcome.
"It's always the people that require the most attention with projects like this," said Tse. "Managing expectations was critical so we had to present this as an opportunity for users to make a change."
Helen Wong, the chief manager of Financial Operations and Systems Development, who also played a key role in the implementation, noted how staff will typically recoil in fear when changes are proposed to their workflow and processes but the change in system necessitated the engagement of users to ensure the new system could meet their key requirements.
Tse noted that communications with staff had to be very clear in order to manage expectations. "With a new technology it's easy to offer them a perfect 'rose garden' but to reach there takes time," she said. "Users had to realize we couldn't give them everything at once and they needed reminding what the core goals of the project were to ensure the requirements were realistic." These goals included: Improving information flow between all procurement, finance and HR systems; enabling modernization of key processes; improved efficiency within the HR payroll function; and to ensure an effective system of internal control continued to be in place.
Massive payroll task
Lansley admitted that being able to roll out everything and have all systems live with no major outage or service disruption was an immensely satisfying and proud moment for all staff involved.
Simply being able to pay the 59,000 staff correctly on the first pay-run under the new system was a major success. Given the size and nature of HA's complex pay structure, this is considered by both the HA and Oracle as the landmark achievement of the project. It has also given the HA an opportunity to redesign and standardize key elements such as the chart of accounts, item catalogues, internal controls and delegation limits. It provides a single source of truth for operational data such as vendor, stock items, inventory, fixed assets, payments, staff, and budgets. Budgets are now managed and aligned at corporate and cluster levels with on-line fund checking for all non-payroll related expenditures as part of the standard process.
Procurement has benefited from the delegation framework that provides automated workflow for procurement approvals with pre-assigned authorities while electronic purchase orders and invoices for payment improve processing efficiency and accuracy.
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