Super funds botch major technology project


oops key

blog Sometimes it appears as though Australia’s Federal and State Governments are the only ones botching major IT projects. And that makes sense, given the frequency of IT project failure in the public sector, and the public nature of the audit reports which examine them. But the private sector also has its failures, as the Financial Review chronicles this week with respect to a number of major superannuation funds. The newspaper reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“A group of industry superannuation funds has revealed in accounts lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that the cost of implementing a key IT project has blown out by another $43 million.”

Delimiter has attempted to contact Superpartners several times with respect to the project this week, but the company doesn’t appear keen to talk about it. However, the project’s history is well documented online. For the superannuation funds which use Superpartners’ infrastructure (including major companies such as AustralianSuper, CBus, HESTA, Health Industry plan and more) the project apparently constitutes something of a core administration platform upgrade that is supposed to streamline each’s operations. Kind of like an IT shared services consolidation deal.

Superpartners’ 2012 annual report contains several pages on the project, dubbed nextGEN. It apparently includes components such as core registry services, customer relationship management, business intelligence, payments receipting, online registration and so on. Some of the partners involved are Booz & Company, TCS and Synchronised Software.

Also well documented is how quickly the project went off the tracks shoftly after it was kicked off in 2008. This article by Crikey published in 2010, for example, states:

“All was fine on the surface until recently, when some serious holes started to appear and the project missed critical delivery dates. Superpartners management investigated and found that the system could not perform rudimentary tasks.”

We can but hope that the project’s new executive management is able to bring it back in line. In mid-September this year, Superpartners announced that it had appointed an ANZ Bank executive, Steve Parrish, to a new role as director of Enterprise Transformation. Sounds like it’ll be a bit of a fixer-upper.