State personnel and purchasing offices could see some of the most significant changes, as the state implements the ERP packages self-service employee benefits and electronic purchasing features. By giving employees greater purchasing power and the ability to choose and modify their own benefits options the state expects to eliminate a huge amount of paper shuffling.

"Whenever you have this kind of total decentralization, youre going to change the procurement and personnel organizations because they will no longer do the routine things," Gerhards said. "They no longer will be paper processors. Theyre going to be arbitrators and problem-solvers, where the job isnt very straightforward."

Regardless of how the project ultimately impacts the state workforce, Gerhards intends to help the staff make a smooth transition.

"Its all part of change management. Were communicating with them and trying to explain what these changes are and how they could be affected," he said. "We dont know how this is going to shake out yet. Our commitment to our employees is do our best for those who will have changing responsibilities."

Steve Towns, Editor Steve Towns  |  Editor

Steve Towns is editor of Government Technology, and executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market.