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City’s software still on schedule

POULSBO — Conversations between city officials and Sungard HTE, the provider of the city’s new software program, continue as both parties work toward efficiently using taxpayer dollars with the implementation of the program.

Once the software is fully operational, residents will be able to pay bills online, check on the status of city projects, and even file complaints via the Internet.

“It will probably be 18 months before we have our e-government capability but right now we’re still working on our business plan,” said Finance Director Nanci Lien.

The business plan lays the groundwork for the rest of the implementation of the new software package and involves a steady back-and-forth conversation between the city and the provider to ensure everyone’s on the same page, Lien said.

“They’re seeing what we do and are coming back to us telling us how their program can do what we’re doing,” she explained.

Because city staff has grown accustomed to the repetitive nature of its old software package, trainers from Sungard HTE have had to work to get them to think differently, she said.

“Sometimes we can’t see outside the box, but the staff is very excited about the new program and what it can do,” Lien remarked, noting that the trainer from Sungard HTE has experience in both the software side and municipal government side of the house.

That experience has enabled him to understand all of the issues involved in implementing a new software system and tailoring it specifically to meet the city’s needs, she said.

“He knows exactly what we’re talking about and we feel very fortunate to have him,” Lien said.

Even though the new software is being phased in slowly, city staff continues doing its job and maintaining the day-to-day operations, she explained.

“We’re definitely working our way through it and we had budgeted time for extra labor capacity but we haven’t had to use it yet,” she said.

So far, the staff has been able to keep up with its daily operations and schedule enough time to work with the new program, which is due in large part to the great amount of enthusiasm staff has toward the project, Lien said.

“Everyone has a great mindset and is motivated to get it done,” Lien commented, noting that implementation will be done in phases in order to keep anyone from feeling overburdened during the process.

For Information Systems Administrator Fay Schultz, the successful implementation of the new software is one of her main goals for 2006.

“I plan to integrate the e-government into the new software and also upgrade the GIS software as well,” Schultz said, adding that the new software package will make that task easier.

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