Novopay – is the worst over?

May 8th, 2013 at 6:31 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Tom Parsons, president of the Secondary Principals’ Association, said had a serious image problem that would continue to dog it, but the improvement had been remarkable.

“If you’d been repeatedly underpaid by it … whenever the word Novopay comes up you’ll roll your eyes.

“Throughout the sector that’s happening already, which is a shame because the system of today bears no resemblance to what we had pre-Christmas.”

Waikanae School principal Bevan Campbell said Novopay was still not user-friendly, “[but] I think they have been working really hard to fix it up. Now that the powers that be have realised the massive stuff-up, they are actually trying to fix it.”

The key thing, in my mind, is to get it to a stage where the level of manual data entry from the helpdesk is minimal. If schools can enter and validate all the data themselves, that will make a huge difference.

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19 Responses to “Novopay – is the worst over?”

  1. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    That’s good news. Wisest way forward now would be a complete re-brand that sounds nothing like Novopay, and relaunch.

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  2. Nigel (516 comments) says:

    I really can’t understand how it got deployed in the first place without user input working correctly.

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  3. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    Nigel, a good many of the “bugs” weren’t in the software. The training and support for the roll-out was very poor.

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  4. peterwn (3,275 comments) says:

    “The key thing, in my mind, is to get it to a stage where the level of manual data entry from the helpdesk is minimal”
    Error rates is one thing, but nothing seems to have been said about ‘functionality’ expected of Novapay compared with that delivered especially with regard to devolving of data entry to schools. It seems Novapay requires more effort to drive it than what it replaced.

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  5. Roflcopter (463 comments) says:

    I got shown Novopay mid last year. I told them that the user input system was an absolute pig, and it was going to be interesting to see how people could/couldn’t interact with it as they go about their duties. It looked like the system had just barfed up all the fields onto the screen randomly… no attention paid to detail.

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  6. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    The problem is mainly the the system is too complex in itself having to compete with very complex input breakdowns.

    Many of the school input clerks experience shows, and they were not trained enough in these complexities. They are not really computer literate, which is why it is reported that many have resigned that role.
    Many of them I understand are retired teachers and whilst they fully understand the thousands of differing union rates and permutations of pay rates and actual hours worked and extra hours/overtime/holidays etc the Novopay system fails to recognise much of this.
    Bear in mind that the previous system had continual faults throughout the years, but was effectively base upon a manual “kalamazoo” type paper bookkeeping system, which is why the previous Government signed off the Novopay system.

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  7. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    I’ve heard people defending novopay based on low reported error rates…..but, the work that goes into keeping errors low is immense. And, I wonder if an error is not counted as an error if it gets fixed?

    And, this government wants to spend 1.5 billion on new IRD systems?

    I predict the largest IT project failure in NZ history.

    These big bang government run projects just don’t do the business. Too many incompetent cooks, probably.

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  8. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    It’s quite the feather in Joyce’s cap to sort this one, and should quieten the Joyce haters for a day or so.

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  9. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    And, this government wants to spend 1.5 billion on new IRD systems?

    I predict the largest IT project failure in NZ history.

    These big bang government run projects just don’t do the business. Too many incompetent cooks, probably.

    As I understand it, the $1.5b is the overall bill for what are effectivly a series of smaller projects, implemented over a number of years.

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  10. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    With a failure rate of just 0.26% Steven Joyce should be congratulated for fixing this debacle.

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  11. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Politicians and bureaucrats – national, but also local as in health boards — have made a string of highly expensive balls ups in buying IT. Think of IBM-and-the-police, of the ratshit software some health groups bought, of Novopay.

    It’s irrational NOT to be sceptical when Possum Pete Dunne announces a $1.5 billion upgrade for the IRD over 10 years. (Apart from state IT disasters, think of how long it is taking Dunne to bring under control drug dealing by dairies.)

    Internationally successful NZ software entrepreneur Rod Drury wrote in NBR last week:

    …To anyone in IT this ($1.5billion) is an obscene amount of money to spend on any software project.

    For the taxpayer’s sake, tap our best business software brains such as Drury and Gil Simpson of Linc fame. Let them have input so Ministers aren’t completed conned by multinational software sharks and our own bureaucrats.

    A link to Drury’s comments:

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/dear-ird-how-save-1-billion-ck-139462

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  12. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    The fact is you just don’t need that much money . You can build some really complex IT applications for 20 million (I know, I am involved in the industry).

    Maybe it could cost 60 million in software only — i just don’t see how it could cost more. Even 60 million is a fantastic budget.

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  13. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    As I’ve said from the start, there should be absolutely no reason for Talent2 to be touching the data. Responsibility for all the data entry and maintenance should be crystal clear and sheeted back to the schools themselves.

    I think Joyce was correct to keep the system and insist it be fixed properly. That amounts to incremental change rather than another high risk big bang. Obviously the project was crying out for competent management and Joyce has introduced it.

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  14. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @Jack5, the issue with IRD will be the big accounting firms, not “software sharks” like Talent2. The difference is that one knows exactly what they are doing and the other doesn’t. The impact on the taxpayer is the same – except the former is an order of magnitude greater.

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  15. Andronicus (219 comments) says:

    There wa

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  16. Andronicus (219 comments) says:

    There was a

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  17. Andronicus (219 comments) says:

    There was an eve

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  18. Andronicus (219 comments) says:

    The

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  19. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @Andronicus, that’s a bad stutter you have.

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