Auditor-General aware of Supercity tendering concerns

Questions raised about $60 million-plus SAP ERP system

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Auditor-General told Computerworld that the office is aware of the concerns raised around some of the Supercity’s ICT contracts. “We are not currently looking into any specific complaints about ATA's [Auckland Transition Agency] tendering and contracting processes, although we are aware of the concerns that have been expressed about these processes,” says Anna Will, communications advisor at the Controller and Auditor-General. In Computerworld two weeks ago, council sources questioned the tendering process when selecting SAP, without a formal tender process, for the large Auckland Council ERP system. They say that the decision to forego the tender process was based on the fact that three councils – Waitakere City Council, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council – were already using SAP systems and that those systems could be leveraged. However, instead it was decided to build a new SAP system from the ground up, involving extensive use of consultants, which has driven the cost up, they say. Yet another source now questions the $60 million-plus SAP ERP system. “The new Auckland City has, as far as SAP is concerned, out-scoped the water business and transport business. That’s where all the big asset expenditure and procurement takes place,” says a senior ICT professional with extensive experience of merging ICT systems. Watercare will be the bulk water and wastewater service provider from 1 November and Auckland Transport Agency has its own SAP system, which cost less than $10 million in total to roll out. He says what is left of Auckland City is a customer serving organisation, which he compares to a big payroll system. “How come we need such an expensive core system when the huge components of water and transport are in separate organisations?” he asks. The cost of this system is “unbelievable”, he says. “When there are existing and well-established local government systems that have already been built to do this stuff – why are they building something new?” “I’m horrified at the whole idea that these large consultancies have got their hooks in it. I’m a rate payer too,” he says. Computerworld understands that SAP was selected based on the fact that three councils were already using it. However, there are other systems that are being used by multiple existing councils, for example Pathway. It is not known whether other systems, such as Pathway, were considered for the ERP system. ATA did not respond to Computerworld by deadline.

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