Vision of Illinois ACTS (ERP Program)
Rapidly implement an industry leading solution that will
deliver a modern, integrated IT platform across finance, human capital management and procurement for all the agencies within the State of Illinois to:
improve the efficiency of administrative and citizens services
- Consistently deliver
financial statements in a timely manner
- Enable statewide
transparency, access to information, and swift decision-making
- Enable State operations to receive a
clean audit from the Auditor General
- Be a catalyst for
statewide transformation of all administrative services
The Illinois ACTS system will be implemented with minimal customization to reduce cost, increase success, and ensure standard best practices are used across the State
What is ERP?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) centralizes Illinois' financial reporting and human resource functions on a modern, integrated IT platform and is one of the few initiatives in Illinois where both political parties recognize its value and importance. The project was first launched by Governor Pat Quinn’s administration – with support of former comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. ERP will allow the state to drastically improve the efficiency of administrative and citizen’s services, deliver financial statements in a timely manner, enable statewide transparency and access to information and drive statewide transformation of administrative services.
Why ERP now?
The State of Illinois currently operates a patchwork of more than 260 individual financial reporting systems and more than 140 other systems focused on HR, grants management and other ERP functions. Most of these systems are not connected, are outdated and costly to operate. For example, buying something as simple as a paperclip in Illinois takes four different programs, including a manual input between the third and fourth step.
Furthermore, many of those systems do not meet basic accounting standards and the patchwork of outdated systems has caused significant audit findings over recent years and does not provide immediate visibility into the true financial position of the state. For example, Illinois constantly ranks at the bottom of all US States to release the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Taxpayers, bond holders, and grant-giving institutions are seeking this information. Without proper financial reporting systems, the state is putting much needed (federal) funding at risk.
Most private sector organizations and states have already streamlined their financial reporting systems, but Illinois is one of the few states still functioning with outdated systems. Seventy percent of the state's systems operate under antiquated technology platforms, with the majority of the programmers reaching or past retirement age. An updated and integrated system will increase transparency, protect sensitive data, and provide more accountability in government.
What has already been achieved?
The ERP program has made great progress over the last two years and is demonstrating a momentum and success that few other US states have achieved. While several other ERP attempts at the state have proven unsuccessful in the past, this program was able to finish the first statewide design for the ERP system (for Finance, Procurement Grants Management) within approximately eight months and was able to pilot the new ERP solution with three executive branch pilot agencies and the Office of the Comptroller after an additional six months. The phased implementation approach is on target.
What about changes / updates to the system?
Every program at this scale makes ongoing updates and refinements to a system after a pilot go-live. As of April 1, 2017, there are currently 21 approved change requests that have not yet been released into production, but are built into the overall plan and budget.
Why the higher upfront costs for ERP?
Every program like this requires high upfront costs as the system was designed for the entire State of Illinois. For example, the Accounts Payable (AP) or Accounts Receivable (AR) process has been designed for the ERP solution in a way that can be used by all the agencies that will use ERP. Even though there is a higher upfront cost due to completing the entire enterprise design for ERP, this investment will enable the State to replace over 250 outdated systems at a long-term benefit.
Why the use of outside vendors?
Implementation of this large scale project requires the use of firms with expertise in large-scale ERP deployments. No state is able to complete such a complex project alone. However, the long term objective is to operate and maintain the system with state resources. Because the State of Illinois has never pursued this type of system, resources with this type of expertise in implementing this type of program are unique to the state.
Taxpayers of the State of Illinois understandably expect delivery of social services and technology solutions that enable a more efficient government, with a transparent financial system. Had this initiative been undertaken decades ago, the state could have saved hundreds of millions of dollars. Nevertheless, Illinois is now on a path of long overdue updates and modernization for the benefit of the state and its residents.