LA increases CGI-AMS work

Los Angeles County has awarded a multi-year, $33 million contract to CGI-AMS, essentially amending a previous contract to implement a core financial system that will go live July 1.

Under the new contract, CGI-AMS, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Montreal-based CGI, will include maintenance costs for the next five years for the core financial and grants management system, which is currently being tested before it goes live, Dave Delgado, vice president and managing director for CGI-AMS's consulting services.

On top of that, the contract will implement procurement, fixed asset, inventory control and time and attendance systems over the next 15 to 24 months, he added. Additionally he said the contract will also include design of a human resource system.

County officials are currently trying to assess their current state of human resource management and compare that with their future needs and see whether CGI-AMS's product will address that or whether it will be obtained through a competitive bid process in the future, he added.

Under the original $13 million contract, which was signed about a year and a half ago, the company replaced the county's nearly core financial system, which was incidentally implemented by American Management Systems about 20 years ago. (CGI acquired American Management Systems, or AMS, in May 2004.)

Delgado said the company's AMS Advantage 3 product fit so well and required so little customization that county officials amended the contract to implement more functionality. The upgrade was essentially done through a sole-source process, he said.

Initially, several years ago, the county went out to bid for an enterprise resource planning system. At that time, Delgado said the company was not a viable candidate because its product was 'not ready for primetime.' In fact, it wasn't even ready for beta testing, he added.

But as the county went through various negotiations with the top two candidates, over that time, the company's product matured and had been implemented by the Massachusetts state government, he said. Los Angeles County officials had taken notice and canceled their procurement process and awarded the $13 million contract to then American Management Systems.

Delgado said there are several advantages for the new system, which is only designed for state and local governments. For example, county officials no longer have to worry about losing technology staff who could maintain the mainframe based system since that will be phased out. They have also streamlined and updated their business processes. He added there's a reduction in training costs and change management with the new system.

With the new system, department heads and other employees and vendors will be able to access certain levels of data via a Web browser, a function they did not have before.

'In some cases they had green screens,' Delgado said. 'It's a leap in technology for them.'

The product is used by more than 190 public sector clients. He added that the company is in the process of upgrading financial systems for more than 40 clients across the nation, which is much less expensive than implementing a brand new system.

Los Angeles County is the largest county in the United States with about a $17 billion operating budget and 90,000 employees.

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