JPA COMPUTER SYSTEM - OUCH!

bunnyjumper

Lantern Swinger
geoffrey said:
Apparently its purely because in yet another masterpiece of defence procurement, the contract with EDS is written in such a way that if JPA doesn't work properly, the MOD (not EDS, whose fault it will be) has to pay for software problems to be corrected. And there's no money to do that.

I may have to retract my first reply. I've just noticed the bit about EDS being involved. I have to admit I didn't know that. You see EDS are also involved with my civvy employer. They provide the contract for the IT equipment. Absolute s***e. I don't think they have a lot to do with our version of JPA - probably why it works.
 

empty_vessel

Midshipman
I'm not sure how alone I am here, but how many people have actually tried out the e-Learning package for JPA?

I've completed both the User and Line Manager packages but to be honest I can't see the difference! I understand how to submit claims and do all the things that a standard user can do, but when it comes to the line manager side of things I just hope the system flags up leave requests etc with a nice big box that says 'AET Bloggs request leave from blah to blah' with 2 buttons Approve and Deny. Is that me being a bit hopefull do you think?

That's where the problem will eb with people like me who already have to spend too long sat in front of the one eyed monster all day having to sort through and check people leave entitlement etc, that's not what I trained for and its not what I get paid for, its a Wtrs job, but it looks like I'm going to be doing it!
 

Jim30

Lantern Swinger
Civil service in MOD introduced a similar system called HRMS last year, initially it had major teething problems, but now works pretty well. Its much more straightforward to get things done, but has taken a major culture shift in CS thinking to achieve.
 
With respect, Empty-Vessel, it's not a Writer's job and it never has been. Writer's have NEVER approved leave for anyone, they just deduct whatever leave's been taken from that person's entitlement after it's been properly authorised on a leave pass by.... the Line Manager. So you're not doing anything that you're not supposed to have been doing in the first place.

You might be reassured to hear that it will work exactly as you hope it would - AET Bloggs puts in a leave request over JPA, then it appears in your JPA In-Tray and you either click "Approve" or "Reject". Job done. Cuts out all the wandering around the ship/establishment looking for a DO/HOD to sign a leave pass.

JPA as an idea isn't actually a bad thing. You'll be able to do a lot of stuff yourself that you'd normally have to wait for Writers to get round to doing, such as get your travel claims paid. You input your details (same way you always did on a C28 or C30 anyway) and instead of waiting for some Writer to process that and the other 140 claims dumped in his tray that day, it just gets paid into your bank account.

...If it all works as it should, and therein lies the rub.
 

empty_vessel

Midshipman
Fair one, didn't quite think about that properly, glad to hear its as simple as it could be though!

Here's to it working and to everyone getting paid what they're due with the minimum of fuss.
 

jumpertucker

Midshipman
im on a unit where the RAF personnel have been trying to get to grips with JPA since April they have shown me how to use it and some of the problems associated with it, i know its not quite the version we are getting and they will be upgrading as we come on-line, as will we when the Army do later.
There are never enough terminals for use as we all dont have nice office jobs, it can take ages to do simple checks which will be no good for leave passes, travel claims etc, the system was only available for use by "normal" people during certain hours of the day as the servers couldnt handle the amount of users logging on (ie 8am). which doesnt bode well when another 35,000 log on, base IT help numbers should be put on speed dial now if i were you.
The writers on our unit havent got a clue, because they are Navy they dont see it as their problem until the Navy come on-line in Oct and have so far recieved very little training in anticipation of JPA going live, so havent been able to provide the RAF with any help, cant see that changing much when we get on it either.
No information about the e-training packages etc are being given to the lads on the shop floor many dont have computer log-on's, this is just poor management on our section i know but we can't be the only ones.
Our unit like many others in the RN will be away during the transition period without access to computer systems with JPA log-on and are looking forward to having our pay propper screwed for some months afterwards with no access to sort it out.
The RAF PSF's (UPO's) had cash available incase it all went tits up on pay day, which as far as i know it didn't but was that more luck than judgement? given that the RAF is a more stable armed force and not nearly as mobile/deployed as the Navy/Army and all the problems that will bring.
On the plus side, if it can be made to work (ie proper investment) it is a really good idea allowing people to be more responsible for their own lives. but given this is being brought in as a cost saving measure i suppose we can rule that out. But then lets face it how many times have we looked at our pay-statement and wondered what the hell was going on, so can it be worse than waiting 3 months for a mid-monthly and being charged for quarters twice etc?
no-doubt the Navy wont allow its JR's to access the system anyway as anyone below CPO cant possibly handle the responsibility and will be too busy cleaning something to log on (PO's are not treated like SR's - don't get me started), because we treat our people like children.
Roll on Oct, belive me you thought pay-2000(1) was a good shafting bring on JPA! :roll:
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
Have a look a this thread:

http://www.rumration.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=672.html

I'm amazed by the rhetoric and uninformed comment. Before I get flamed to death, let me impart a few seeds for thought.

How many people have stopped to consider how often with the CURRENT pay system across all three services that pay errors are made? One of the principal reasons behind JPA is that all three services routinely make over payments/under payments or even no payments.

MoD could simply not afford to implement three bespoke IT systems for the services to replace the current systems. Equally a further reason behind JPA is to drive out the inequalities that exist in terms of pay/allowances etc, so one system made sense.

If you have to ask why are MoD finding the implementation of JPA difficult then consider this:

How are we different from Shell, BP, Boots - We offer a 'service' that borders on almost being a welfare system. We manage pay, pensions, career management and other HR services on one system. Civilian companies rarely if ever work in this way - the military is largely unique.

Getting a COTS product to offer the bulk of the services we required would always have been a significant challenge. Harmonising and simplyfing the pay/allowances rules would always be a significant challenge.

The biggest challenge however remains, getting people used to doing a lot of work themselves - get used to it, we are a shrinking Navy. There simply cannot be enough people to do all the work. And if that means we streamline our own administration so be it.

But don't think that 2SL downwards have simply thrown this system in without recognising the difficulties - I cannot for a moment accept that they would be happy if a single serviceman wasn't paid correctly. I think you can be assured when that happens somone will be roasted.

It won't be perfect when it arrives - its getting better, I use it in a Joint Unit and we've seen a big increase in its resilience and useability - but it will get better.

And incidentally, EDS are not the bad boys here - really! They were told to implement what they had by a certain date and they have. That they said that date was barking, well.......

I'm worked with EDS on and off for the past 16 years and whilst they are far from perfect they are no better or worse than any other major IS contractor.
 
Wave-Dodger were you paid to submit this thread by a SNO or EDS

"How are we different from Shell, BP, Boots - We offer a 'service' that borders on almost being a welfare system. We manage pay, pensions, career management and other HR services on one system. Civilian companies rarely if ever work in this way - the military is largely unique."

I worked for a Major High Street Bookmakers with over 2000 separate units plus all the head and regional office support staff, My wife until recently worked for one of the four largest firm of Accountants in the world all you state above applied to both our companies

"The biggest challenge however remains, getting people used to doing a lot of work themselves - get used to it, we are a shrinking Navy. There simply cannot be enough people to do all the work. And if that means we streamline our own administration so be it."

In both our companies 99% of the work was completed by payroll or HR with very few problems. It is nothing more than an attempt to get the work done as CHEAPLY as possible.

"But don't think that 2SL downwards have simply thrown this system in without recognizing the difficulties - I cannot for a moment accept that they would be happy if a single serviceman wasn't paid correctly. I think you can be assured when that happens someone will be roasted."

No the senior Management will not be happy, but they will still go home at 5 pm and do feck all about it, make any waves or try to get it sorted out. When was the last time any person in a Government organization, Home Office, NHS, MOD, DHSS, etc. etc.etc roasted when the implementation of a super do it all system was introduced full of bugs.

"And incidentally, EDS are not the bad boys here - really! They were told to implement what they had by a certain date and they have. That they said that date was barking, well.......

I'm worked with EDS on and off for the past 16 years and whilst they are far from perfect they are no better or worse than any other major IS contractor."

Tell that to BA IT Section, within the industry no other firm has a reputation as bad is how I have heard it.

May I suggest you actually go and work in the Commercial sector

Nutty
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
Oh how cynical! Not paid by EDS nor a SNO, and by the way I am neither! I fend off EDS on a daily basis and if asked I am sure they must consider me a pain in the a***.

Onto your post.

So the bookmakers and accountants maintain histories of promotions, and appointments, map them to skills/Adquals? Link specialist skills to allowances, map appointments/postings to these skills and ensure the payments are made. Monitor PVR rates and adjust payment accordingly if PVR action is taken. Make payments for reservists on a partial time/attendance system, including bonuses. Maintain basic medical and dental details and limited posting based on those criteria. Offer a variety of allowances and incentives GYH, RILOR, DA, BSA (CEN)..... Calculate pension contributions, etc etc etc. Oh and hold all of the above and more so that PQs and FOI requests can be fully met.

You obviously didn't read my post carefully - its all about affordability and a real need to bring in equalities of pay/allowances. This wasn't an exercise in staff reductions, thats a by product. And if I am right, the companies who were all looked at as subject cases all had the same results. There is no doubt that cost of introduction is a factor, a huge factor, but I'm not sure I'd go along with the assertion that it was done as cheaply as possible.

As for the Senior Management - Thats quite a simplistic statement you make and suggests you've never worked closely with any 1*-3* Officers. No matter how difficult they are to work with, how ever demanding, I've never met an unprofessional one yet. You don't get duffers wearing *'s. I think you'll find that the team who are all involved in implementing JPA all care. And I'm not sure how many people in the Navy at most moderate ranks get to leave anywhere near 5pm - nice to be in your line of work!

I like your line "Tell that to BA", "how I have heard it" - Hmm so you don't actually work in the industry, have no real connection but are happy to make a song and dance based on hearsay.

I worked for a civilian IS company for six years before I joined the Navy and wanted a change. I've got 16+ years behind me now with mostly operational experience and even then I still keep in touch with a variety of old colleagues who are all senior IS professional contractors or consultants.

All IS companies have a reputation, EDS, Fujitsu, GD, CSC, CSS, BAE. At some time or another they have all failed to deliver. As I said I'm no huge fan of EDS, but as you're obviously not in the trade an example the CSA system, huge flaws massive press coverage "Burn EDS" - transpires that all the way through the requirements phase the CSA team kept changing their requirements,up till and during the actual development phase - sheer lunacy, and what did they get, a system they deserved because EDS could never get a stable requirement.

As I've said I'm no particular fan, all companies make mistakes. What the MOD must do is learn to write good requirements, quickly and finance the development without penny pinching.

Guessing you're a Reservist, at best, or an interested civilian. Why doen't you try and join the RN properly and see how easy it is to achieve things in an organisation that routinely cuts STP and EP midway through projects.

JPA will definately have teething problems, NMMIS did and 25 years later worked really well!, PAS did and 9 versions later works quite well. My point, in all of these posts is, give it time and a chance, and don't slay those who are trying to bring it into service - they are working with limited funds and limited time windows.
 

stumpy

War Hero
I hope that JPA works, but the thing I am worried about is the RN's record with IT, and its fixation with starting on a set date, whether it is ready or not.

Does anyone else remember the RORRS fiasco? We struggled like mad with it, and when eventually a very helpful IT guy came onboard, he admitted that the RN had insisted that they ship out the software, even though the RN was told that it was not complete... Eventually a genius of a CPOWTR (I believe) produced a simple Word version.

Yes the current system has problems, but at least a quick visit to the UPO is normally enough to sort it out.

My fear is that already busy Divisional Officers will get roped in sorting out lots of problems, while worrying about their own pay.

And as for the poor writers...

Good luck!!
 

FlagWagger

GCM
Book Reviewer
wave_dodger said:
JPA will definately have teething problems, NMMIS did and 25 years later worked really well!, PAS did and 9 versions later works quite well. My point, in all of these posts is, give it time and a chance, and don't slay those who are trying to bring it into service - they are working with limited funds and limited time windows.

I'm RNR and I have experience of a number of defence procurement activities from outside the RN. In every case, the DPA hasn't known what they want, or more correctly, how best to ask for it and in every case the defence contractor has exploited this to deliver the minimum hiding behind excuses.

Neither side is blameless and the situation will not improve until we get away from the current atmosphere of adversarial contracts - the DPA and suppliers need to work together to achieve a "win-win situation" (Ugh - I hate such buzz-words!").

The car industry woke up (too late for some) to getting its suppliers on board as part of the team; cut the bureacratic crap, banish the accountants and legal eagles along with the project managers and their reams of meaningless metrics - just let the engineers and the end-users work together to get a workable and effective system. Obviously we'd need to keep a couple of tame accountants/lawyers/PMs to ensure that neither party was disadvantaged, however the current state where the technology takes a back seat compared to the contract is not giving us useful or usable systems.
 

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