In 2014 Olds College management recognized that the college’s aging administrative systems were becoming difficult to maintain. The board approved a project to replace the college’s financial, payroll and student services systems with an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

In 2015 we assessed the college’s readiness to implement the first module (finance) of its ERP system. We evaluated the design of the college’s project controls for mitigating the risks of its ERP implementation plan. The recommendations from our audit provided an early warning to the college of weaknesses in the project implementation plan. In particular, we recommended that the college improve its:

  • detailed project planning
  • business change planning
  • oversight of project risk management

The college’s finance module went live on November 1, 2015.

What we examined

We examined the actions management took to implement our three October 2015 recommendations.

Overall conclusion

The college implemented the finance module and achieved the objectives management defined at the start of the project. The college can learn valuable lessons from this implementation that it can apply when implementing future ERP modules.

What we found

The college performed a number of changes to the project implementation plan that sufficiently reduced the risk that the implementation would fail. However, because of the lack of detailed project planning and business change planning in the implementation plan, the college had to take extra time and spend additional money to get the finance module fully functional after the go-live date.

Why this is important to Albertans

A failure to properly implement a new system would impair the college’s ability to effectively run its operations. Albertans expect post-secondary institutions to have strong financial systems to monitor and report promptly on their operations. These systems should also provide college management with the necessary information to make decisions on how to provide education cost effectively to students.

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