Ministry eyes Swiftt overhaul

The Ministry of Social Development is pressing ahead with a plan to reassess its Swiftt benefit management system and other core IT.

The Ministry of Social Development is pressing ahead with a plan to reassess its Swiftt benefit management system and other core IT.

The ministry is sounding out potential vendors for a new client management system, but whether the system will replace or complement Swiftt, Trace and other key applications is yet to be decided.

MoSD’s uses the Java and Oracle-based UCVII, or unified customer view, to manage clients. The heritage applications the new system will possibly replace include Trace (tracking recovery and collection enforcement) and Solo, a case management tool, as well as the better known Swiftt, which runs on a Unisys mainframe.

Swiftt, which stands for “social welfare information for tomorrow today”, has been the core benefit assessment, processing and payment system for MoSD and its predecessors since 1991. Swiftt came in for flak from ACT MP Muriel Newman last year when it was revealed it isn’t interoperable with Trace when it comes to calculating figures for benefit fraud recovery.

MoSD CIO Christine Stevenson told Computerworld the ministry is looking for “an electronic client management system aimed at improving the service it provides for job seekers”.

“The ministry’s work and income service is committed to improving its assessment and identification of job opportunities for unemployed people and is seeking products that will help achieve this,” Stevenson said in a statement. “With the reduction of case loads and enhanced case management, the ministry wants better tools for case managers.”

The tender documents note “the immediate need is to identify a client management solution ... that could position the ministry for the possible transformation of the heritage applications”.

At least one CRM software vendor is known to be bidding.

Replacing or upgrading Swiftt has been on the drawing board for some time. In January associate social services and employment minister Rick Barker told Computerworld “there is no timetable for a change, but people are reviewing the system”. A study by the department noted that updating or replacing Swiftt would cost between $78 million and $180 million.

The client management system tender seeks a product that can cope with clients, providers, workers, caseloads, business processes and workflow, rules and alerts, among other areas.

A client-centric view will be an integral part of the system; the tender prescribes “an application-based view that presents information from the many aspects of a client’s life [which] may include data from other systems, both internal and external”.

Technical requirements include being component-based, n-tier architected and scalable.

Scalability is key. “Initially it is expected that the solution will be required to support no more than 4000 users ... and no more than 35 transactions per second.”

However, if the option of replacing Swiftt and the other heritage applications is taken, the number of users will grow to about 5500 and the peak transaction throughput will grow to more than 150 transactions per second.

“Additional load is likely from self-help solutions that will allow clients to access and update their own details via the web.”

Clustering is expected to be a feature of the client management system, as are “programmatic loose coupling” and a modular, multi-tier design.

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