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Accenture worked with the Queensland Government to create a complete HR solution that will be among the biggest SAP government implementations in the Southern Hemisphere.
Expected savings of $80 million will be complemented by other benefits as Queensland moves closer to its goal of high-performance government.
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the northeastern corner of the mainland continent. Comprising 28 agencies with more than 180,000 employees, the Queensland Government serves more than 3.6 million people.
Just as companies everywhere are striving to raise their level of operational and financial performance, governments around the world are adopting innovative practices that can help them become more efficient and effective. One such organization is the government of Queensland.
The government launched a wide-ranging initiative, creating shared services centers to support a number of back-office functions—including finance, procurement and human resources. The goal of the initiative was to add efficiency to back-office functions and redirect resources from these largely administrative activities to programs that support the government’s five priorities: creating jobs and facilitating skill-building and ongoing learning for all citizens; ensuring safer and more supportive communities; fostering a high quality of life; maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment; and encouraging the growth and development of Queensland's diverse regions.
As part of this larger initiative, the government undertook an HR business solutions project in which common business processes and systems were implemented to support recruitment; workforce management; HR and payroll information; performance planning and development; and workplace health and safety.
Recognizing the importance—and complexity—of this effort, the government decided to enlist the help of a services partner and hired Accenture. Accenture was selected from an open market tender by a government panel, successfully meeting government evaluation criteria such as: demonstrated capability and experience working with large decentralized organizations (including specific experience with Queensland Government agencies); understanding of and experience with large-scale, contemporary packaged HR/payroll solutions; and suitable key team members with the experience, qualifications and skills to perform the required project tasks.
Accenture's initial role was to develop detailed business requirements for new HR systems that would support Queensland's complete "hire-to-retire" HR processes—that is, processes that would provide complete HR support from recruitment through to the end of employment. To do this, the Accenture team worked closely with five separate agencies during a three-month period to draft detailed business requirements for the new system. Accenture subsequently undertook an extensive consultation process with all 28 agencies to validate and gather additional requirements unique to each agency. These requirements were then synthesized to create an exhaustive list of requirements, each of which was prioritized as mandatory, highly desirable or desirable.
Once the detailed requirements of the new system were finalized, the Queensland Government solicited bids from a short list of technology vendors. From those proposals, the government selected a bundle of applications including SAP, Workbrain, RecruitASP and Saba. This group of applications provided the complete functionality that Queensland needed, from recruitment to hiring, payroll and training. The new system also provided rostering capabilities for those organizations that require irregular hours from their staff—including hospitals, police, correctional facilities and emergency services providers.
Once it had selected this suite of products, the government engaged Accenture to undertake the implementation planning phase of the project. This phase entailed the creation of a conceptual design of the technical, functional and human elements of the solution; a detailed project plan for the solution design phase; and a road map to be followed during the subsequent implementation phase.
Accenture was also selected as the Government's partner for this implementation phase, including solution design, build, test and rollout. The pilot implementation for HR functionality was rolled out to the first agency in March 2007, with subsequent implementations set to be deployed over the next two years.
The sheer scope of this project is impressive. In fact, Accenture estimates that it represents the biggest government SAP implementation ever undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere. The initiative is enabling Queensland Government to make its desired shift to the shared services model and reduce its costs in the process. In fact, the initiative is expected to deliver annual savings of approximately US$80 million in operating costs, largely from increased efficiencies and the standardization of HR processes. This money will be reinvested in ways that will tangibly and visibly improve the services the government offers its customers—the citizens of the state—in critical areas such as health, education and justice.
Beyond such quantifiable benefits, the initiative is expected to improve employee performance management, create a more positive and professional working environment and enable the HR function to more easily accommodate its changing demands. Taken together, these advances will help Queensland move ever closer to its goal of high-performance government.
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