Outdated financial management system replaced for efficiency, cost savings

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — City council approved an upgrade to the city’s municipal management system Monday, so the city can provide better services to residents.

“With the old system, we were far behind the times,” Mayor Joseph Peterson said. “But, this new system is a big step forward in becoming more effective and efficient.”

David Fuller, director of Information Technology, said the current computer system has been used since 1995 and has become expensive to maintain and upgrade because there have not been incremental upgrades made to that system.

“Replacing the system made more sense because the it was becoming outdated and support is becoming scarce,” Fuller said. “Newer systems tend to cost less to purchase and support. The company has offered to extend the financing so we don’t exceed the costs for our current system. This will essentially be a no cost conversion for the city.”

The replacement system’s cost of about $443,000 will be paid over six years and he said the city will begin to see a “significant savings” once they make the final payment. He said the savings will come from a reduced maintenance costs and the elimination of proprietary hardware, and decreased service hours.

The system handles the city’s financial services, work orders, inventory, time sheets, and all the other computerized functions processed throughout the city and Fuller said the implementation of the new system simplifies those processes.

“The ultimate goal is to be more productive,” Fuller said. “This will allow us to modernize our system and reap huge benefits. There is a huge learning curve with the older systems and the new system is far more intuitive, which will help in everyone do their job more effectively.”

BS&A Software, the company providing the system, will convert all of the city’s previous files into the new system, at no extra cost to the city, and said it will be easier to access the converted data on the new system. Fuller said the system is slowly being transitioned into the city, but will be fully implemented in March 2014.

“We have already begun the necessary training, so we will be able to do business immediately after the switch to the new system,” he said. “We are making sure we minimize the pain felt by anyone in the city.”

The city recently finished testing the security and reliability of making online bill payments for taxes and utility bills. That link was made available to residents on the city’s homepage Tuesday.

“We have been hard to get our technology into the 21st century,” Peterson said. “We are close to streamlining all of the services offered to our residents, but Mr. Fuller and his team have done a great job of getting us here.”

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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