How One County Modernized in the Cloud
September 29, 2021 by
Operating with 20-year-old technology created an environment of cumbersome, manual processes and offline spreadsheets for staff at New Castle County, Delaware. Their legacy financial system was behind several versions, minimally supported, and had a failing server that was a major risk to the county.
The new administration supported technology advancement, so county IT established an enterprise transformation plan to modernize the infrastructure, fortify cybersecurity, and replace legacy systems with cloud solutions. IT also invested in a full study of current processes and future business needs before selecting a technology partner. New Castle County sought a solution with specific goals in mind:
- Intuitive, user-centered workflows
- Self-service capabilities for customers
- Increased transparency and dashboard reporting
This enterprise-wide effort currently supports more than 500 users from 15 departments and more than 5,000 registered vendor-partners automating workflows, eliminating research, enabling self-service functions, and improving financial transparency.
A Scalable Solution in the Cloud
Implementation of the new cloud-based ERP system remained on schedule despite having to complete the project remotely due to COVID-19. Key achievements included a redesigned chart of accounts, fully integrated purchasing, and flexible budgeting. To everyone’s relief, offline spreadsheets created from point-in-time extracts were replaced with real-time reporting, and best practices were adopted to achieve touchless, paperless workflows. These efficiencies increased productivity significantly.
Moving to a cloud ERP solution achieves cost savings. “From a technology perspective, cloud solutions eliminate hardware costs, ongoing maintenance, and operations costs,” said Michael Hojnicki, chief of technology. The county also realized savings with asset reporting that was previously outsourced for about $60,000 to $100,000 annually. County leadership predicts ROI will materialize from process efficiencies, improved data quality, and financial transparency. For example, the county showed how CARES Act funds were allocated within 30 days after go-live.
A major efficiency achieved with budget reporting reduced the process from months to weeks. Users now have flexibility to import prior year budgets or actuals, make changes, add variance narratives, and submit reports electronically. Another key efficiency allows staff to buy goods and services via shopping cart transactions that automatically create digital requisitions. Self-service functions shift data entry to vendors for license, contract, and banking information saving time for staff. Self-service capabilities also empower vendor-partners by providing visibility into their requisitions, invoices, and payments.
Internally, the dashboard hub gives each user a personalized view of their action items created from workflow rules. Users can easily customize their hub to organize and track productivity. A content manager solution made purchasing entirely paperless, and this was a game-changer for the county.
Because the county’s forward-looking vision resulted in organizational benefits as well as staff and vendor efficiencies, New Castle County won a 2021 Tyler Excellence Award.