by Byron Connolly

Brisbane City Council tech project faces possible $60m blowout

Jan 25, 2017
GovernmentTechnology Industry

Brisbane City Council will renegotiate a large IT contract with TechnologyOne after uncovering project delivery issues that could result in a cost blowout of $60 million.

Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk has given Australian software outfit, TechnologyOne six months to deliver its new $122 million regulatory system, appoint a system integrator to assist in its implementation into council’s existing systems, and provide a ‘viable alternative option to ensure existing IT systems remain available when necessary.’

An ‘Establishment and Coordination Committee’ engaged a panel to review the project in November after “concerns were raised about the delivery time” according to a report in Brisbane’s Courier Mail. The panel discovered a possible cost blowout of $60 million in the local government systems project that was expected to go live in the middle of this year but is not due to be finished until the end of 2018.

“Obviously, I am not happy,” Quirk said during a media briefing this morning. “This is a significant overrun – it’s not something I want, it’s not something the people of Brisbane want. But we have to get this back on track.”

In response to Quirk’s comments, TechnologyOne said on Wednesday afternoon that the delays were due to two factors: the council’s decision to take its new generation product, and a substantial increase in scope.

TechnologyOne said the new generation product is based on its existing product but is built to support the digital economy using mobile devices and the cloud, which would support council initiatives in the future.

“It was agreed that BCC would be development partners with TechnologyOne on the award of the tender, but as the project progressed, it became clear that BCC struggled with this strategy,” the council said.

“At the request of BCC, the decision was made that TechnologyOne would complete the build of the new product before the project implementation continued. This change in strategy has introduced delays to the project.

“Furthermore, council requested substantially more functionality in our new generation product than was originally tendered. The additional software functionality has been provided by TechnologyOne at no additional cost to BCC.”

The software build has been completed, tested, demonstrated and handed over to the BCC for the next stage of the project, which is to configure the software to meet their business processes.

TechnologyOne said it found the council’s existing business processes were not well defined when the project commenced. As such, the council took the opportunity to document them quickly while the software build was completed.

“This review has led to substantially more business processes being identified (500 plus, approximately 100 per cent more business processes) than was originally contracted. As such, the scope has increased substantially and that has also impacted the project timeline,” TechnologyOne said.

“We have submitted detailed documentation to the council on January 9 identifying each of these additional business processes.”

TechnologyOne said there seemed to be a misunderstanding within the council on the history and status of the project and the supplier said it welcomed the review.

TechnologyOne is a dominant software supplier to local councils across Australia with its solutions used by more than 300 councils.