Treasury team preps for ERP system rollout

Treasury team preps for ERP system rollout

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

The Treasury Department soon will begin installing hardware at an IRS facility that will support a new enterprisewide personnel system.

The department will use the IRS' Detroit computing center as the data hub for its enterprise resource planning system, HR Connect. Centralizing operations at the data facility will control costs and improve efficiency, said Todd Turner, director of Treasury's Human Resource Systems Program Office.

Todd Turner says ERP system will be in use Treasury-wide by 2004.

Treasury expects to finish by 2004 the $100 million implementation of HR Connect, which uses a custom version of the Human Resource Management System ERP from PeopleSoft Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency began using the system last fall during a pilot [GCN, June 19, Page 1].

Treasury decided to replace its 100 stovepipe personnel systems with an ERP system to provide access to integrated data and avoid redundant data entry, Turner said. The consolidation effort also reflects a new approach toward human resources within the department, he said.

Rather than have human resources officials merely push paper, Treasury management wants them to consult with and advise frontline managers, he said.

Pat Schambach, ATF's chief information officer, said an out-of-court settlement for a 1996 class-action employment discrimination lawsuit, Stewart vs. Rubin, filed by a group of black ATF employees, also was an impetus for improving data management. In developing a response to the discrimination allegations, Treasury officials found that personnel information was not easily available because of the disparate systems.

The bureau needed to keep more comprehensive vacancy information, as well as employment histories of employees and applicants. Integrating data and automating more processes made sense, Schambach said.

'A lot of that data collection and management would be very hard unless you had a robust system in the background,' Turner said.

Treasury will create an HR Connect cluster at the Detroit center. Two Sun Microsystems Enterprise 4500 servers will host the custom PeopleSoft application, two Sun Enterprise 10000 servers will host an Oracle8 database, and two Compaq ProLiant DL580 servers will support Web access to the ERP system.

A fully redundant Symmetrix 3930 RAID subsystem from EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass., will provide 1T of storage. EMC's TimeFinder software will make mirror copies of data for retrieval and backup.

The Treasury Communications System, the department's asynchronous transfer mode backbone WAN, will provide connectivity between users departmentwide and the ERP system at the Detroit computing center.

Room to grow

The system's design will let Treasury easily add processing power and storage modularly as the ERP team brings users on to HR Connect, Turner said.

ATF and the comptroller's office now run the first release of HR Connect on existing systems within their bureaus. The two bureaus will migrate their HR Connect operations to the Detroit servers first, after the ERP team installs the hardware at the IRS facility.

About 200 human resources officials within the two agencies now access HR Connect services from the PCs. To run the application, end users need at least a 266-MHz Pentium PC with 64M of RAM, 500M of free disk space and Microsoft Windows 95.

When Treasury completes the HR Connect rollout in 2004, about 145,000 employees departmentwide will access the ERP system's applications and services.

HR Connect will ultimately replace Treasury's legacy systems, but pilot participants have not shut down all their older systems.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has not shuttered any of its legacy personnel systems. 'The current release of HR Connect doesn't lend itself to replacing legacy systems,' said Barbara Hayes, program manager for administrative systems management in the comptroller's office. 'However, we expect to shut off systems when future releases of HR Connect containing more functionality become available.'

ATF has replaced two personnel mainframe systems that ran IBM DB2 databases because they were not year 2000-ready.

The systems'one for employment background information and the other for integrity investigations'were rolled into one system called Zeus using the PeopleSoft application, which stores data in an Oracle8 database under Unix, said Daniel Clark, a personnel management specialist. ATF will likely roll Zeus into HR Connect, he said.

The ATF deployment team has used Structured Query Language and Cobol to convert data from text files to a common format for the Oracle8 database, said John Duclos, ATF's ERP program manager.

The Agriculture Department's National Finance Center in New Orleans now processes Treasury's personnel and payroll actions.

HR Connect will provide a single data collection system and front end to USDA's mainframe systems.

The first release, HR Connect 1.0, let ATF and the comptroller's office replace several paper and electronic personnel processes used to prepare information for the National Finance Center. Users now enter data in the HR Connect interface and transmit it to the Agriculture center for processing.

HR Connect 1.0, based on PeopleSoft's HRMS 7.0, was created by PeopleSoft with input from agencies that use its applications to funnel data to the Agriculture center.

ATF and the comptroller's office this fall will migrate to HR 2.0, based on PeopleSoft's HRMS 7.5.1.

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