City of Houston: Becoming a Best-Run City

The City of Houston has a goal to make its city hall the most efficient and effective in the nation. Discover how the city is using SAP solutions to fully integrate its procurement, financial, HR, and payroll functions, and streamline city processes.

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    • The City of Houston's legacy system had reached the end of life and was actually becoming a significant risk to the ability of the city to operate effectively. And we reached the point where we went out and made an evaluation selection of software that would provide us a full integrated solution for the procurement, financial, HR, and payroll functions. At the end of that process, there was strong consensus across the groups within the city that SAP was the best solution for the city's ongoing requirements. In the legacy system that the City of Houston had, we basically had manual requisitions. And the manual requisition was walked around. In some cases it had to go through seven approvals before it could be submitted to the purchasing department to issue the purchase order. With SAP, we've eliminated the walking around. There are two approvals required, and all of the approvals and the requisition process is electronic. So the city can complete a requisition in a matter of hours versus days. And that's been a huge improvement in the city's ability to handle its procurement processes. So with our HR payroll system, we've been able to eliminate a tremendous amount of manual work that was being done in the legacy system. Things such as handling the retirement process for police officers have been totally automated. Whereas it required a very complex manual process to calculate the police retirement benefits and then handle the payout. With our firefighters we've been able to automate the process for paying them at a higher rate when they're working at a higher level for the day. We've automated many of the special pays associated with shift changes, shift differentials. So in effect we've taken a lot of variables out of the payroll process. The SAP Consulting group put together an A+ team. They did a tremendous job of developing a statement of work along with city employees that really laid out the roadmap for the project. In effect, we were able to do a mental walkthrough of the project before we even kicked the project off. And I believe that had huge benefits when we actually began executing the project. We were able to set timelines, we were able to define assumptions, we were able to put stakes in the ground that made it, that provided the city's project manager and the SAP project manager with the ability to set boundaries around project scope, around the work effort that was being expended, and keep the project on track. The implementation of SAP's material management, financials, HR, payroll systems is going to help move the city administration down that road to were the mayor wants to make the City Hall operation the most efficient and effective operation in the nation. We're seeing tremendous benefit from the project systems module that's been implemented. The ability to handle accounts payable on a more timely, more effective way because of SAP capabilities is providing tremendous efficiency within the city.
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