A blueprint to streamline and consolidate its entire portfolio of applications will see the City of Mississauga move its entire suite of Oracle/PeopleSoft software to competitor SAP’s line by the end of this year.
SAP Canada this week said the Ontario municipality, which employs about 7,500 employees, will deploy the Human Capital Management (HCM) component of its flagship enteprise resource planning product to handle its HR, payroll, benefits and time and labour functions.
Mississauga has been using a mixture of Oracle, SAP and PeopleSoft for many years, but in 2004 the city developed an “IT Horizons” strategy that focused on simplifying its applications. SAP was originally purchased in 1994 to handle its finance operation, but at the time the Waldorf, Germany-based business software firm didn’t have an HR package.
That’s why Mississauga originally went with PeopleSoft, the manager of planning intergration for the city’s corporate services explained. In the long term, though, working off both of PeopleSoft and SAP didn’t make a lot of sense, particularly once Oracle acquired PeopleSoft in a hostile takeover.
“The cost ramifications are quite high when you have two systems. Training is very expensive,” said Rekha Jethva, adding the takeover created some uncertainty as well. “Oracle had a massive task to do and could not say anything about the future and what their plans were.”
And while PeopleSoft had signed an agreement with IBM to integrate its HR software with Big Blue’s WebSphere, that deal went south following the Oracle acquisition, which disappointed users like the City of Mississauga.
“They were really missing the middle tier,” she said. “SAP has a solid middle tier in the NetWeaver product, especially in terms of Web services and a SOA-type platform.” Oracle has since begun a project called Fusion that includes middleware.
Mark Aboud, SAP Canada’s executive vice-president of SME and public services, said municipalities such as Toronto, Ottawa and others are all trying, like Mississauga, to reduce their cost of ownership around software, and consolidation is one way to do that.
“It comes down to change management within the organization from one set of known applications to another,” he said of the transition that awaits Mississauga employees. “It’s making sure that people buy into that change early and recognize the benefits – not merely to themselves as an individual but as an organization, because now they’re all tied into that same data.”
Mississauga’s solution blueprint includes a reduction on infrastructure costs as well. Jethva said the city is already deploying VMware to virtualize its servers, for example, and is projecting $2 million in savings over the next five years in server and storage maintenance.
The city has also moved to Microsoft SQL Server 2005, which meets all its requirements for spatial data. From a price point of view, Jethva said the SQL database CPU-based licences are also about 45 per cent cheaper than Oracle’s.