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March 20. 2014 8:52PM

Reboot of Nashua's technology continues

NASHUA — City officials are approaching the final phase of a multiyear project to replace Nashua’s obsolete software system with modern technology designed to improve financial and accounting efficiency.

The $7.5 million project is in its sixth year, and while several components have already been implemented, major aspects still need to be finished within the next two years.

“There is still a lot of work to do,” said Bruce Codagnone, the city’s information technology director.

In 2008, the city launched its Nashua Government Innovation initiative, dubbed NGiN (pronounced “engine”), to transform and update the city’s government software while providing a unified system of technologies, business processes and management.

It was a massive undertaking that is still in the works today, Codagnone told the Board of Aldermen this week.

A 35-year old ADMINS, Inc., system was the first item to be tackled since there is no longer hardware to support the program, he said. The city has since deployed an enterprise resource planning system, a new software program that assists with payroll, purchasing and the general ledger.

The ERP financials system was a major portion of the technology makeover, consisting of about $5.5 million of the total $7.5 million budget

As the city grows, Codagnone said, it was critical for the local government to keep pace with emerging technology, especially when it can significantly improve collaboration, online capabilities and application consolidation.

A new Kronos timekeeping program has also already been implemented as part of the initiative.

While Codagnone praised the steering committee and its efforts, he said the team may have tried to do too much too soon since lofty goals were set in the initial phases.

A new document management product has already been purchased but has yet to be installed, he said, because some of the resources needed for implementation are not yet available.

One of the largest parts of the initiative is new tax and billing software that will directly benefit local taxpayers, Codagnone said.

“It is a critical component, and we want to make sure we do it right,” he said, noting Nashua property taxes are a huge part of the city’s revenue each year.

Transferring from the ADMINS system to the Infor Lawson program should not take a lot of time to perfect, but it is a cultural change for the employees who are accustomed to using a certain product, he said, adding the technology improvements will be incredibly useful for not only city employees, but local residents as well as they utilize city departments and website content.

“We have learned a lot of lessons through this,” said Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.

City staff has embraced the project, according to John Griffin, chief financial officer for Nashua.

The State of New Hampshire also utilizes Infor Lawson, as well as a local hospital, according to Codagnone.

Infor Lawson, the leading provider of business application software, serves more than 70,000 customers, according to its website. Some of its clients include highly populated cities, aerospace companies, top pharmaceutical companies, high tech companies and large health delivery networks, says the site.

khoughton@newstote.com


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