JPA COMPUTER SYSTEM - OUCH!

SailbadTheSinner

Lantern Swinger
wave_dodger said:
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.

I have been in the RN for over 20 years and can say that other than T&S I have never had a pay error

Since the new JPA-friendly rules came in my T&S claims take over 3 weeks to process

The RAF personnel in my unit have all had JPA problems - and they are still persisting. One took the equivalent of 1 and a half days to process a simple T&S claim

My experience of EDS ranges from 2 operational IT systems (all late, over budget and not meeting the requirement), to conversations with IT contractors (none of whom have a good word to say about them) and a conversation with some USN colleagues whose equivalent of NavyStar is late, and inadequate to the task (guess who the contractor is)

The JPAC helpline is considered useless- the standard reply is contact unit admin staff - what's the point of having a helpline? And those admin staff have been/are about to be taken as a savings measure

I agree that 'rhetoric and uninformed comment' isn't helpful, but blind faith isn't very helpful either. If you see a trainwreck approaching do you press on regardless or avoid it? Still all those ABs without IT access won't mind, they've got the divisional system to sort it out for them - most of which also doesn't have IT access at sea

Someone mentioned the HRMS system. If that system works for the MOD civil staff why wasn't it used for uniformed personnel? Better to pay for two separate systems eh?
 
Wave-Dodger

To respond, no I am not an IT professional but have been involved with enough persons who are, contractors, EDS staff taken from their parent companies, IT recruitment people, and closely watched the implementation of major IT programmes. After the Navy and Police (CID) I was employed as an Internal Company Fraud Investigator now retired and sitting in the sun.

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.

Yes all of the above except the items highlighted. You are one of the professionals who throw acronyms into a post assuming all others know what they mean and I do not so I cannot comment, very bad manners.


You obviously didn't read my post carefully - its all about afford ability 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.

I see very little in your original post about afford ability except to say that the three services need a joint system. I agree with that assertion but postings on this and related forums show that the system being foisted upon the Forces is of a poor quality which most certainly means its cheap on paper for MOD and profitable for EDS who work to the exact letter of the contract and charge more each time a plan fails or has to have mods added. In truth its expensive and in EDS best interest to take a long time to sort out.


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!

No I never worked with any Officer above the rank of Lt. Cmdr. Not that I see that has much to do with it. The perception by the great unwashed ranks is that the Navy/MOD do not care. My line of work, retired sit in the sun all day. Look at my location. When I did work it was 24 by 365 or 366 in a leap year. No different to Sea going servicemen. As and when required

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.

Real connection yes, practicable experience with implementation yes, hearsay from close family and friends I trust, yes. Highlighted is how you avoid litigation when EDS/MOD come looking for a victim/any victim who does not have bundles of cash to sue for libel to promote their case in the media.

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 another contributor has said poorly written contracts which are then carried out to the letter even when it is known by the contractors it will not work from day One.

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.

You got that right.

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

Never was a reservist, exempt as I joined Plod after my time served on two skimmers and then boats, no never had a shore draft in 12 years except for Ganges for initial (part one) training and we are not allowed to use that G word on this board.

JPA will definitely 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.

So you as a professional are happy with a system that works properly after 25 years or quite well after 9. No wonder people are worried about JPA I guess you are part of th design and implementation team

Nutty
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
SailbadTheSinner, some good points. I think that of the three services we have always been the better because the analysts at Centurion kept NMMIS in quite a good state for a vintage IS system. The army were by far the worst offenders and had a massive task patching up their systems.

My overall point is we had to move forward, the status quo was unacceptable, three separate systems couldn't be an option because we needed to harmonise pay/allowances across all three services. A single system was the right decision, in that I have no doubt. Then the decision was bespoke or COTS. Bespoke is not a sensible option, too expensive, too long to develop and ties you in to specific contractors. COTS is more affordable and flexible, the downside is you have to change to fit the package and as the Military is quite unique we have more to change, and like all organisations we don't like change and do it very badly. Hence where we are at the moment.

Not many other posts have noted that JPA also had a number of critical dependancies not least DII incr1/2 rolling out on time in order that the RN and Army have enough terminals. The RAF assessed that they had enough to go-ahead, this may well have been a mistake.

Nutty - my dear fellow, how is the sun today? I do apologise for the acronyms, but then had you been serving or even an reservist you'd have most likely known them. They are all allowances Get You Home, Disturance Allowance, Boarding School Allowance etc. For the pensioners and civilians I will make sure I embelish in future :lol: sorry, cheap shot but its far too hot here! Actually having just spoke to an HR consultant working with SOCA (old chums?) she tells me that most HR systems don't go anywhere near the detail that military systems do (aviation do certainly) and JPA is stretching the point.

As for affordability/quality - The system that we're receiving is an ORACLE HRMS system, as used by about 150 bluechip organisations worldwide. It is in fact the biggest implementation yet. It was chosen from three potential vendors, Oracle, Peoplesoft and SAP. All of who have good commercial reputations.

Its by far from cheap, and it has to be profitble for EDS, they're not a charity! As for EDS best interests to take a long time to resolve, in fact its not, there are substantial penalty clauses in the contract. They are suffering financially because of this.

As for Senior Officers, again its 'perception', I'll say no more.

Cannot and will not argue about contracts, Government as a whole need to rethink how they engage with commercial partners. Incidentally the US had a similar bunfight with EDS over IT21/NMCI which has morphed into their DII (now GII), and EDS lost millions per year and only halfway through the contract did they start to break even.

You miscontrue my lines over NMMIS and PAS. My point is we're all crying over JPA's implementation, whereas it's nothing new. Whilst I wasn't about 20+ years ago I am very sure similar outcries were made over NMMIS and then in short order it was an acceptable system.

Sadly I was not a part of the JPA design/implementation team. As I said more operational!

I will part with a final comment - we are where we are! The Oracle product is a good basis for JPA, the modifications to become more military will take a little time to stabilise. The JPAC will need to learn, lets face it a year ago there wasn't JPA, they have a lot of learning to do in a short space of time. We don't have buckets of cash anymore, we're engaged in two medium scale operations that are hoovering up resources and the Global War against Terror will suck up the rest in the margins. We will have to accept the initial flaws in JPA and make it work, and whilst I will be as annoyed as the next man if/when my pay/allowances are messed up and in no way accept that is acceptable, then to achieve the longer aim then reluctantly I'll get on with it.
 

SailbadTheSinner

Lantern Swinger
Rationalisation

Isn't it a high risk strategy to rationalise 3 systems and push out a new IT system to implement them at the same time?

Bespoke or COTS

If you take a COTS solution and then 'militarise it' - how much can you do before it becomes bespoke?

Critical Dependencies

If JPA has a critical dependency it should have been in the project's risk register and some risk mitigation taken - that it wasn't speaks volumes about the quality of project management

Scope

If JPA is stretching the limits of COTS HRMS (and quite frankly I don't beleive it) then that fact should have been in the risk register etc etc

ORACLE

If it is such a well-proven system how come the JPA team have made such a dogs breakfast of implementing it?

EDS

I don't think anyone regards EDS as a charity. Other recent EDS triumphs - the Inland Revenue tax credit/national insurance system(1 million tax records lost) , the CSA IT system, DII (as part of the ATLAS consortium - what were those JPA dependencies again???),US Navy Marine Intranet Corps, a customer service system for BSkyB and so on. With that record why/how did they win the contract, or is the answer (political donations) obvious?

I may not be an admin professional but I know a cluster when I see one
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
Rationalisation is moving many to one, that is what is happening, you have to implement it? Or did you mean to rationalise and harmonise - in that case I don't think they had too many options - it was either one step to rationalise and harmonise or to take two and pay even more!

Given that JPA uses actually quite few of the Oracle HRMS modules - its probably in the low 1-5% figures for customisation.

Both JPA and DII have risk registers, the mitigation for JPA was to hold until such time that there was confidence that DII would roll out in sufficient numbers at the identified pinch-points.

You misinterpet my line about scope - JPA is by no-means stretching the HRMS product. I'm sugegsting that what the military require (coming from their bespoke background) and what a COTS product caters for differs - thats a fair assumption, the COTS product by its nature cannot specifically cater for the precise demands of the military. Hence business/culture change.

Interesting point about the implementation - because as I pointed out we, the MOD, do change very very badly.

Is DII a failure? Not from where I stand - its slower than anticipated, but is actually a very good system. DII/C is here and working wherfe it should be. DII/F is yet to be contracted!

Have I ever said it's fine - all I say is give it time!

You are talking about enormous projects - Biggest Oracle rollout in the world, biggest IS infrastructure in Europe - these aren't easy to achieve. Look at the NHS IS programme at the moment a dwarf in comparison using proven COTS/Commercial software and failing all over the place.

Cluster or big project, moving too quickly with its own inertia? Possibly a bit of both.
 

SailbadTheSinner

Lantern Swinger
I mean sort out the harmonisation first then implement on JPA not do both at once

How often have you been told that people are our single most important asset? Yet at the most fundamental level they are being seriously disadvantaged and mucked about by a system that is evidence of poor project management, poor de-risking, poor implementation and poor resourcing. Is that evidence of treating our most important asset well?

If it takes 2, 3 or 500 steps and costs billions I don't care - it is a fundamental duty to our personnel and the MOD have screwed it up

They are still writing the pay regs - they have changed twice to my knowledge since April

DII may be a 'success' where you are but the roll-out is going right faster than a fast thing - our implementation has been delayed twice in 6 months

Change is the nature of our business - the govt changes its mind about priorties every week. Any system has to accommodate this

The point I make is that it is a big project, EDS has frequently failed to deliver on big projects - so we give them the contract?Doh!
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
If not EDS who else, Fujitsu, GD, BAe - all have some spectacular failures in their CV. There really aren't that many big companies who can take on work of this magnitude.

Interstingly they now all work in a variety of consortia, under different guises. So for DII/F, you'll have Atlas (led by EDS, with GD and Fujitsu). For another system we use here in the '2' space, its a consortia of roughly the same, this time led by Fujitsu. Swings and roundabouts.

The reason they coulnd't harmonise first was that the legacy platforms realistically couldn't be reprogrammed - far to expensive, doing it in JPA was a better option.

DII/C is rolled out! Are you mistaking DII/C for DII/F? Admitedly not all areas will have either but most of the planned rollouts for DII/C are complete. Even some here!
 

SailbadTheSinner

Lantern Swinger
If the prime contractor is known to be unable to deliver the programme then phase the programme or descope it to improve the chances of success, and not take the big bang approach. Simple really

What you haven't admitted is that JPA is being paid for out of anticipated manpower savings in unit admin staff - the same people who are trying to sort things out at the moment (if they haven't already been cut)

'far too expensive' - there you go. What we are saying is that we would rather screw up people's pay than spend the money to sort the system out properly

As to IT I guess we will be DII/F, which is why the 'benefits' of the new system mean my e-mail to MOD MB got very unreliable and we can't share documents

I note that you haven't responded to my 'greatest single factor' comment

As a member of the RN hierarchy don't you feel somewhat embarrassed about the imminent arrival of a system that has manifestly failed the RAF and will probably founder when 35000 matelots join it? I know I do
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
Sorry - have to admit I skimmed your post as I was busy sacking some individuals.

Who said the prime couldn't deliver? JPA has been descoped, MoD wanted the cake and icing!

Whilst I won't do the money thing here, far too inappropriate, the manpower savings in no way will pay for JPA. Its costing £XXX Millions, removing 900-1000 service personnel does not add up to that figure! And those posts aren't being lost in reality, the people will go to fill in other gaps.

Choosing a cost effective way does not mean the RN would rather screw up peoples pay. be realistic. There simply isn't the money to do the same thing twice and does it make sense? I know how I want my tax spent.

I didn't read the 'single biggest factor' bit, again I think you're being too simplistic and not realistic.

What makes you think I am a member of the 'hierarchy'? trust me I'm far from that. We might use different mess decks, but I'm far from being CinCFleet, or even the CWO for that matter.
 

SailbadTheSinner

Lantern Swinger
Well, unless you are an AB, you are a part of the hierarchy

As to being simplistic and unrealistic, maybe I am a bit old-fashioned, but if we truly believe that personnel are the biggest single factor then we are badly letting them down

Anyway, must toddle off and spend some of my pay - while I still can :wink:
 

McHammock

Lantern Swinger
Wavedodger & SailbadTheSinner, can I throw in my tuppenceworth.
I also work for one of the IT companies mentioned in previous posts (NOT EDS !)
Don't know enough about the technical details of JPA to know how much customisation went on.
Do know enough to know that large projects are major risk
Government has poor record in implementing large projects
Try implementing multiple large projects (e.g. DII & JPA) concurrently multiplies the risk.
No new system works 100% from day 1, but from these/pprune forums etc, implementation of JPA seems to have been a major clusterfcuk.
We're talking about peoples money here - we need to get this as right as we can before rolling out a system. What is an acceptable level ???

You can have any new computer system either cheap, on time or working. However, you can only chose 2 of these options.

I think the MOD went for cheap & on time.
 

Latest Threads

New Posts

Top