School district weighs options for struggling ERP software project

Study: Tucson school employees need to break bad working habits before project can continue

By , IDG News Service |  Enterprise Software, ERP

These recommendations will now lead to a second project to determine how the school should proceed. "We can restart our Lawson implementation, using the information we have gathered," the report states. "We can upgrade our PeopleSoft system, and implement the business process recommendations. Or we can procure an entirely new ERP software product and begin a new implementation."

TUSD chief financial officer Yousef Awwad presented the report to the district's governing board during a meeting this week.

The discussion remained civil, although some officials asked pointed questions.

"Do we have the resources necessary to implement any system effectively?" said Superintendent John Pedicone. "Do we have the wherewithal and ability to implement even the best of systems?" Anything the school selects should be done so with the resources needed to implement in mind, he added.

That question will be top of mind as officials make their next steps, Awwad said.

Officials should also discuss whether to outsource the project to a third party rather than try to do an implementation themselves, he said.

TUSD's next move may end up being dictated by the bottom line, as the district has projected a $17 million budget deficit for the 2013-2014 school year.

It wasn't clear how much money the district has already spent on the project. News reports have pegged the cost at $10 million. A TUSD spokeswoman did not respond to a request for information on Thursday.

Overall, TUSD's situation left one expert a bit befuddled.

"They're doing the business process reengineering after the fact," said Michael Krigsman, CEO of consulting firm Asuret and an expert on why IT projects fail. "That's highly irregular. One wonders why they didn't do this beforehand."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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