Information Technology

ERP System

In 2001, the J.D. Edwards Company was selected as Polk County's vendor of choice for providing a comprehensive ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) System. The project, as originally proposed and funded, was completed in late 2004. A major upgrade to the system was completed in 2005. With each passing year, Polk County continues to build and enhance its ERP system functionality.

Project History

Many months prior to announcing its final vendor selection, Polk County formed an ERP Selection Committee. The committee analyzed and documented the County's needs, issued an RFP, and reviewed the responses from a lengthy list of potential vendors - which included J.D. Edwards and other high profile vendors such as PeopleSoft and SAP.

The Committee researched options for nearly 18 months, and made several site visits to review existing ERP software installations at other government agency offices before submitting their recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. The primary criteria that ultimately led the Selection Committee to their decision included:

  • Degree of match with Polk County needs assessment
  • Compatibility with Polk County technology environment
  • Implementation Cost
  • Ongoing cost of ownership

The J.D. Edwards system was easily the best match for Polk County based on these factors. The Board of Supervisors created an Implementation Team, and funded the project with $3.5M. Most of the original project budget was used to pay an Implementation Partner for consulting services to install, configure and customize the system to Polk County's specifications. The cost of the ERP system itself accounted for approximately $500,000 of the original budget.

For the next three years, the Implementation Team worked diligently to install functionality throughout the County. When the initial implementation was complete, all major elements of the original project were installed and operational.

J.D. Edwards Module Primary Users Secondary Users
General Ledger Auditor - Central Accounting All County Offices and Departments
Accounts Payable Auditor - Central Accounting All County Offices and Departments
Accounts Receivable Auditor - Central Accounting All County Offices and Departments
Fixed Assets Auditor - Central Accounting All County Offices and Departments
Job Cost Auditor - Central Accounting General Services - Iowa Event Center
Inventory General Services - Central Stores N/A
Human Resource Management Human Resources All County Offices and Departments
Benefits Administration Human Resources N/A
Payroll Auditor - Central Accounting N/A

Project Benefits

Prior to the implementation of the J.D. Edwards system, Polk County utilized multiple systems for internal management - none of which were integrated. A mainframe-based system was used for financials, an outside vendor was used for payroll processing, and the County had no integrated Human Resources or Inventory functionality at all. The primary benefit of any ERP system is to have all critical financial and operational data integrated, centralized and accessible from a single cohesive database. The J.D. Edwards system has provided a high level of integration and consistency to Polk County business operations.

In terms of software maintenance, Polk County was paying nearly $100,000 per year for software maintenance prior to the implementation of J.D. Edwards in 2001. These costs would have risen up to 10% on an annual basis. As of the FY 2006/2007 budget, software maintenance costs for J.D. Edwards are still holding at approximately $100,000 per year.

In the pre-J.D. Edwards environment, a select set of financial reports were run weekly/monthly/quarterly by the Computer Operations staff in IT. A specific set of users had data entry and/or inquiry access to financial and employee data. Now, users have immediate access to financial inquiry and reports. Data can be viewed and filtered in many different ways. Input of specific financial and Human Resources data has been decentralized - allowing the responsibilities and functions associated with maintenance of this data to be shared among all County departments and offices. Because J.D. Edwards is an integrated system, many functions that were performed manually in the past have now been automated. This has allowed the County to streamline numerous processes, resulting in more accurate information and a reduction in staff time required to execute those processes.

In today's environment, more County staff members have instant access to current financial and employee data than ever before.

Vendor Acquisition History

In July of 2003, controlling interest in the J.D. Edwards Company was purchased by PeopleSoft. The J.D. Edwards systems were not integrated into the PeopleSoft systems, but rather, were maintained as separate ERP software packages. J.D. Edwards customer service, sales, websites, and training facilities were slowly merged with PeopleSoft functions over the next 18 months. The version of J.D. Edwards software installed at Polk County was renamed to PeopleSoft Enterprise One.

Then, in December of 2004, the Oracle Corporation purchased PeopleSoft. Again, the process of combining support services was lengthy. However, J.D. Edwards is still maintained as its own independent system. It has not been incorporated into any pre-existing PeopleSoft or Oracle products. It is still referred to as PeopleSoft Enterprise One.

The Oracle Corporation intends to offer a new (combined) ERP system in 2013, which will offer the best features of the J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Oracle systems. The system installed at Polk County will continue to be fully maintained and enhanced through at least 2013.

Current Projects

There are several new projects moving forward at this time, which will continue to enhance County operations and citizen services.

Human Resources Applicant Tracking (implementation scheduled for Spring 2007)

J.D. Edwards has the capability to track job openings, requisitions, and applicants. All correspondence to applicants can be automatically generated by the system. These features will streamline applicant processing in the Human Resources Department.

  • Online Job Applications (implementation scheduled for Spring 2007)

    A new J.D. Edwards module (E-Recruit) has been purchased to enable citizens and internal candidates to apply for Polk County jobs from an internet browser. The new module will integrate seamlessly with existing Human Resources functionality, and also with the Applicant Tracking processes that will be implemented during the same time frame.

  • Expansion of Inventory Application (implementation scheduled for Spring 2008)

    Currently, the General Services department is the primary user of the J.D. Edwards Inventory module. The Polk County Sheriff has expressed interest in utilizing this module in conjunction with the new Polk County Jail. In addition, the Conservation Board is also interested in utilizing the Inventory Module.

Other projects are still in the discovery phase. They have not yet been formally proposed or approved.

  • Employee/Manager Self Service

    This project would require the acquisition of two new J.D. Edwards' modules. The end result would be that employees could review/request leave accruals online, change their W4s, reprint payroll auto deposit notifications, and manage many other functions independently. Similarly, Managers could approve/deny leave requests online, and perform a number of other management functions as well. Implementation of these modules would put more control at the end-user level - reducing the burden on the Human Resources Department staff, and payroll clerks throughout the County.

  • Additional Reporting Software

    A 3rd party vendor add-in product is currently under evaluation. This product would greatly simplify the budget preparation process, giving all budget managers a common interface with the J.D. Edwards system. In addition, the software package would enhance ad hoc reporting and inquiry capabilities.

Contact Us

Polk County Information Technology
111 Court Avenue, Suite 373
Des Moines, IA 50309

P: (515) 286-3757
F: (515) 323-5301

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