For Immediate ReleaseNovember 18, 2015
Supervisors receive a positive update on finance system replacement phase
San Rafael, CA – About 11 months after the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved a $14 million project budget for a new software system, County project managers provided an “on time and on budget” update to the Board on November 17.
The project is called Administrative Technologies of Marin, or the ATOM project for short. It will streamline the way the County’s administrative staff handles its business operations, including budgeting, accounting, purchasing, payroll and human resources management.
In December 2014, the Board authorized a contract with Tyler Technologies following four years of research and due diligence. The agreement was the culmination of extensive work by hundreds of County employees and led by the departments of Finance, Information Services and Technology, Human Resources, Public Works and the County Administrator’s Office.
The goal of the ATOM project is to enhance business processes and save the County money over the long run relative to continued use of the existing SAP software system. Although it has been in place since 2006 and handles basic tasks, the SAP system has not achieved desired functionality. In 2010, the Supervisors approved the exploration of a replacement system rather than a plan to upgrade the SAP system.
In his report to the Supervisors on November 17, Project Manager Tim Flanagan marked the recent completion of a key installation milestone with the chart of accounts, a financial reporting component that allows for the recording of a transaction. He also emphasized the streamlined reporting and data entry components and the impending and welcomed elimination of so-called “shadow systems” – the use of additional software (such as the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program) that have been created by necessity due to system wide shortcomings of SAP.
County Administrator Matthew Hymel said the ATOM project team has taken into account the lessons learned from the County’s SAP implementation to better involve system users to inform the development of the new system. Two employees involved in the chart of accounts installation, Undersheriff Mike Ridgway and Parks Administrative Service Manager Yvonne Zupkow, told the Board that the process was much more thorough than when the SAP system was being installed a decade ago.
“It’s a night-and-day difference,” Ridgway said. “It’s much a more robust and interactive approach with the end user in mind.” Zupkow added, “It’s user-friendly for a non-financial person. … The confidence level (in the ATOM project) is going up.”
The software upgrade will allow for cost tracking of countywide initiatives to be calculated across departmental lines much more easily.
“For instance, we’ve been asked about how much we’re spending on issues that involve multiple County departments, and it’s always been a challenge to come up with reliable cost totals,” Flanagan said. “With the new accounting structure and relevant data input, we’ll be able to calculate figures to support decision-making on many of our most important community issues such as homelessness, mental illness or climate change.”
Flanagan said a finance module is on track to go live in July 2016, followed by full implementation with the payroll and human resources systems by July 2017.
Texas-based Tyler Technologies, founded in 1966, is the largest software company in the nation solely focused on providing integrated software and technology services to public sector agencies including cities, counties, states and school districts.
Tim FlanaganEnterprise Systems ManagerInformation Services and Technology
371 Bel Marin Keys Blvd.Suite 100Novato, CA 94949(415) 473-4395Email: Tim Flanaganwww.marincounty.org/depts/is