By the end of the year, Philadelphia will have rolled out a new internal system called One Philly, to replace nearly half a dozen outmoded systems — some so old that the only employees who knew their coding languages have started to retire.
The One Philly project has been in the making for years, dating all the way back to a genesis of June 2014. But now, it's slated to go live this December, and when it does, it will see a unified platform that replaces outdated and separated systems handling a number of vital internal tasks, including payroll, human resources, pensions, benefits and timekeeping.
Once complete, One Philly will be an integrated system that handles all those functions, made possible by working with Oracle’s E-Business Suite. A key feature for city employees is that this one suite not only modernizes those disparate systems, but it also integrates them with each other.
Rick Stewart, who is the One Philly project director, said the new system's integrated functionality stands to increase efficiency in no small part by reducing the instances of public employees entering the same information across multiple applications.
“What these will be is a complete integrated suite of all of the software necessary to manage our workforce,” Stewart said, “and it’s replacing a number of legacy systems and technologies that are challenged.”
Another major upgrade being made comes with the addition of a hosted solution for data storage via a vendor in Virginia and disaster recovery services out of California. Disaster recovery for its valuable data is something the city has never had before.
Stewart and other stakeholders with the city said working with Oracle was appealing because the city’s status as a large-scale customer means that input from users in city hall can potentially sway the development of new capabilities for the product.
Some of the legacy systems the new platform is replacing are three decades old, written in coding languages that today’s workforce doesn’t learn. In fact, the city is facing a problem because the only employees who do know the coding languages have started to retire — a common problem among state and local governments around the country.
In addition, the One Philly system will enable the city to see exactly where funds like overtime pay are being spent, which will foster better workforce management and use of taxpayer money.
Zack Quaintance is a staff writer for Government Technology. Prior to that, he spent five years working in daily newspapers, and another five years working in the tech sector. He lives in Northern California.