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Thu Aug 28, 2014, 07:54 AM

Municipality of Anchorage again delays launch of software system


Municipality of Anchorage again delays launch of software system
Devin Kelly
August 27, 2014

Anchorage leaders are again delaying the launch of a new software system meant to automate many functions of city government. The project is now running more than two years behind schedule and has cost the city more than $25 million to date.

The Municipality of Anchorage had planned to go live Oct. 1 with the new system, called SAP and named for the German company that created it. The system is designed to manage city financial data, including accounting, purchasing and benefits administration. It replaces the aging Peoplesoft system.

But at a monthly update with Anchorage Assembly members Aug. 15, officials said the city now plans to launch the software in two stages, with the first go-live date set for Jan. 1. The second stage is scheduled to launch April 1.


The delay is only the most recent for the SAP project, an effort that began in September 2011 with a $9.6 million budget and a launch scheduled for the following July. Since then, the project has been plagued by cost overruns, staffing problems and missed deadlines.


The same problems that plagued Obamacare (inadequate test plans, inadequate testing, inadequate stress tests and inadequate management) are now doing a number on Anchorage's new software. Did anyone think about where your data comes from? Legacy systems.

Legacy systems, by definition, are old systems. Legacy systems stored data in a variety of ways: indexed data, hierarchical data, relational data, proprietary data, etc. etc.

SAP is good software if you do all that is necessary to use legacy data.

Think test, test, test, test. And test some more.

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Reply Municipality of Anchorage again delays launch of software system (Original post)
unhappycamper Aug 2014 OP
drray23 Aug 2014 #1

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Aug 28, 2014, 08:50 AM

1. interesting

My brother is a principal in a company which deploys such big software systems for managing supply chains.

Technical problems are expected but a rigorous stress testing and staged deployment usually addresses it. They send a team of deployment experts for weeks at a time to setup and test, train the company employees, etc..

It would appear that instead of releasing the Anchorage city government has at least recognized the need to stage it and make sure it works.
Thats the first step. As far as budget overruns its often caused by two things :
1) agressive bidding by companies since many federal or local city contract weight the cost heavily in awarding it.
2) not enough preliminary studies to present the bidders will all the info they need to make an accurate bid.

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