Payroll officials in Sacramento, Calif., recently distributed the city's 5,500 paychecks using its Web-based Electronic Citywide Accounting and Payroll System (eCAPS) for the first time. The HR and payroll component of eCAPS succeeded immediately, unlike its finance portion, which debuted last December, said Steve Ferguson, CIO of Sacramento, who is soon to switch to CIO of San Jose, Calif.

"I believe we had an error rate of less than 50 checks that we had to correct," Ferguson said. "That's an unbelievably low error rate for a new payroll system right out of the box in an organization of this size."

The new system eliminates most redundant data entry, enabling staff to approve transactions online rather than on paper, allowing for real-time processing of those transactions. Agencies can view transaction progress online from start to finish.

"The system retains much more detailed information on each transaction for better reporting," Ferguson said.

The HR and payroll component of the rollout benefited from lessons learned after introducing the finance portion. The finance system used a PeopleSoft application requiring drastic changes in long-standing, city business processes. Ferguson said the vendor Sacramento hired to adapt city employees to those processes did a poor job, forcing his team to switch to a city-staffed "change management" effort one month before going live last December.

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Andy Opsahl  | 

Andy Opsahl is a former staff writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.