2/24/21 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Bright Spot - IDHS ERP Project Team

Good Afternoon IDHS Staff,

Like any business organization, it is imperative that we work to streamline processes that allow us to reallocate time, save dollars, and improve the user experience for our employees. Based on previous audit results, IDHS and the State have been able to find areas where efficiency and upgrades could be implemented. The audits found that Illinois had 260 individual financial reporting systems, creating a "patchwork" of reporting methods that hindered accurate financials. As a result, IL ACTS was implemented, which created a State-wide endeavor to upgrade and standardize the State's core business software systems with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package to improve efficiency, and to be a catalyst for State-wide transformation of all administrative services. Today, it brings me joy to highlight our IDHS team's contributions and the overall process.

To roll out the new system, an implementation team representing multiple State agencies, including IDHS, was created. The IDHS team includes 40+ leaders and "super users," and 30+ "change champions." Assisting the IDHS team is the State IL ACTS team, and third-party team members from Deloitte Consulting and McKinsey Group. With their work on ERP, we will now have an integrated suite of business applications covering broad and deep operational end-to-end processes, such as those found in finance, HR, distribution, manufacturing, service, and the supply chain. This update will impact over 550 IDHS employees who use CARS, WCS, EIS, CCS, and RPS systems.

As one could imagine, overhauling a system of this magnitude during a pandemic did not come without its challenges and obstacles. Efforts to roll out the SAP ERP system started in 2016, which allowed the team to work closely together on tasks like system development, user acceptance testing, and training staff. However, with social distancing and remote work guidelines in place, new methods, such as virtual "Situation Rooms" had to be created. In addition, WebEx is being used for meetings, demonstrations, collaborations, testing, and all related tasks that would have been completed in person. In addition to those resources, staff impacted by these changes will receive training through the summer, and will also have access to IDHS "super users" who will be able to provide guidance on day-to-day routines of the system.

The SAP ERP has already rolled out to 50 agencies, and the Financial ERP roll out will happen in two phases. In Phase 1, beginning April 1, the new system will be made available to new users to begin entering contracts and grants for Fiscal Year 2022. In Phase 2, beginning July 1, nearly all staff will start using the system. Data from the replaced systems will still be available for reports and audits, but all new work will be done in the new system.

This has been an ongoing project for our IDHS project team, and the other leaders on the implementation team. We thank each of you for your dedication, attention to detail, and patience. I am excited about the impact of this new system, and appreciate all of your hard work in getting us here.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS