Briefing

Ottawa picks Ceridian, SAP and Workday as finalists for new civil service payroll system

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The three qualified vendors were chosen from a five-firm shortlist that also included CGI Group and Oracle, following user testing exhibitions and feedback from government employees. The firms will run pilot projects with government departments later this year. More than one may be chosen to provide the final payroll technology. It will replace the Phoenix system, which was turned on in 2016, and caused payroll problems for 40 per cent of government employees. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The selection of a new payroll system is the most high-profile test for Ottawa’s new technology procurement process, spearheaded by Chief Information Officer Alex Benay. Instead of a single, big-money, multi-year contract awarded to create a solution across all of government at once, he wants to use an “agile” process, with software companies proposing solutions and providing working prototypes to test in small rollouts. While Benay’s boss, Treasury Board President Joyce Murray, has insisted the new system isn’t a cost-cutting measure—a goal the government said was one of the factors in the failure of Phoenix—it could be less expensive than setting up Phoenix has been. In May, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated it will cost $57 million to set up, and up to $106 million a year to run. In June 2018, the government forecast that fixing Phoenix will cost another $2.5 billion, on top of the $1.1 billion it had already spent.