IRD rolls out $5 million Siebel system across eight sites

The system aims to standardise the department's audit, compliance and legal functions

Inland Revenue is going live with its $5 million Siebel case-management system, rolling it out across eight sites. Its aim is to standardise the department’s audit, compliance and legal functions on the new system.

Richard Philp, the IRD’s manager of investigations, says the new system will allow cases to be managed “end-to-end”, and will also both streamline and improve the consistency of case management. It will replace a variety of tools.

The software was rolled out across three sites in October, four more are being added now and the eighth will be installed in the department’s legal support division in March.

Siebel was selected in November 2005 over SAP. The three-year deal is worth $5 million. The contract was put out to tender after Inland Revenue spent more than a year searching for a system to integrate the management of its audit and compliance cases. Siebel was acquired by Oracle during this time and this may have given Siebel the edge, as IRD is a large user of Oracle’s databases and the Australian Tax Office also uses Siebel.

Philp says the project allows cases to be moved from one area to the next electronically, which allows any necessary action to be taken, and also allows for independent case-management review.

IRD CIO Ross Hughson says that, while there are obvious business efficiencies to be gained from having cases in one place, the project was not really about productivity but about making better use of information with current resources.

For instance, the new system integrates the department’s document-imaging system.

Philp says the project ended up being the catalyst that led to a review of both human processes and IRD’s case-management methodology, following a review by the Auditor General.

The system defines the various business processes then enforces the escalation path a case may follow. It also defines “alerts” and allows for active management of cases. Hughson says the IRD studied what the Australian Tax Office was doing in the area. Similarly, the Aussies have also traversed the Ditch to look at the IRD’s implementation here.

“We are in the same business and can learn from each other,” says Hughson.

While taxpayer data is not shared across jurisdictions, Philp says all tax authorities are grappling with globalisation in banking, and in areas such as schemes of arrangement — a tax-efficient way of merging companies — that operate across borders.

“We are also working closely on common tax avoidance schemes and the management of GST,” he says.

IRD has an enviable record of successful project delivery. Hughson says this is partly due to the department having a stable IT workforce, which has allowed it to retain a lot of its knowledge. This includes sound project management methodology and a clear understanding of the roles of project managers and sponsors.

For IRD, successful delivery is also an absolute requirement. For instance, the Kiwisaver superannuation scheme will go live on July 1. This date cannot be changed.

The final release date for the software for this project is March 23, and testing is going well, says Hughson.

While IRD is standardising on Oracle databases, Hughson says there are still some pockets of the Progress database in the organisation, while the department’s core system, FIRST, runs off a Unisys DMS2 database.

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Tags complianceSiebelcase managementIRD

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