The current version of the payments software was outdated and sitting on outdated infrastructure. The supplier asked all customers to upgrade the client version or move to the cloud product (PT-X). This project upgraded the existing version of C-Series to the cloud product. The support contract with the supplier ended in April 2020. In preparation for planning and moving to the new version, agreement was reached with the 3rd party supplier to extend the present support arrangement until 26th June 2020. This date coincided with a planned BACS change and a move to security standards SHA-2.
The project was delivered over the period from the 9th June - 26th June, 2020.
Over the duration of the project, two Change Requests and two key decisions were taken:
- A change in project milestones
- A change in project priority
- A Finance decision to defer live-proving of the larger payroll files
- A project team decision to remove the auto-transfer of files from scope.
The Project Manager would like to acknowledge the support and commitment of all project team members, specifically:
|Douglas Stewart||Finance||Business Lead|
|Adam Scott||Finance||Senior Systems Support Administrator|
|Alex Michaelson||Development Technology||Systems Administrator|
|Alister Webb||Development Technology||Database and Systems Administrator|
|Vicky Galt||Corporate Office||Disability Information Officer|
|Anne Graham||Applications Management||Applications Manager|
|S1||A use and support contract is in place with the 3rd party supplier, Bottomline Technologies.||Yes|
|S2||The build and testing of the necessary infrastructure to enable data exchange with the 3rd party supplier.||Yes|
|S3||A managed transition is undertaken from C-Series to the PT-X product.||Yes|
|S4||A data archiving solution.||Yes|
|S5||Decommissioning of the present C-Series system.||Yes|
Objectives and Deliverables
|O1||Provision of supporting infrastructure is in place||MOSCOW Rules||Owner||Achieved|
|D1.1||The provision of a device with internet connectivity i.e. a server with links to the cloud.||Must||Dev Tech||Yes|
|D1.2||The opening up of firewalls to allow for data access and data transmission.||Must||
|D1.3||An auto transfer of files from a secure shell to the K-Drive (drive to be confirmed).||Must||Dev Tech||
|D1.4||A data archiving solution.||Must||Dev Tech||Yes|
|D1.5||Decommissioning of the present C-Series system.||Must||Dev Tech||Yes|
|O2||Consistency in data handling and processing is proven|
|D2.1||Successful parallel testing of Accounts Payables.||Must||Finance||Yes|
|D2.2||Successful parallel testing of Direct Debits.||Must||Finance||Yes|
|D2.3||Successful parallel testing of Payroll.||Must||Finance||Yes|
|O3||Project Governance is met|
|D3.1||A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) form is completed.||Must||Finance||Yes|
|D3.2||An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been undertaken.||Must||Finance||Yes|
|D3.3||Change Management is met via the issuing of IS Alerts and attendance at the Change Arbitration Board (Go-CAB).||Must||Proj Mgr||Yes|
|O4||Business Process Improvement|
|D4.1||Improve the efficiency of the authorisation and sign-off process, to deliver the required level of security and financial control, via the most efficient means (e.g. minimise the steps in the sign-off process, without compromising controls).||Should||Finance||No|
The cloud version has a number of benefits which align with Finance goals to improve efficiency of processes.
|B1||Security||PT-X provides ever evolving security features and updates without requiring any intervention or management from the user. As techniques of modern fraudsters become more advanced, PT-X is developed to mitigate these risks, and updates are made to the platform automatically. It is the most up-to-date and efficient way of preventing, spotting and stopping fraud.||Yes|
|B2||Access and Availability||PT-X is a cloud-based web application which can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, from any device, including tablets and smart phones||Yes|
|PT-X provides swift response to industry events and new security regulation without delay. These updates become available to the user automatically.||Yes|
|B4||User Login||PT-X features multi-factor authentication, providing increased user access security in line with industry guidelines.||Yes|
|B5||User Permissions||PT-X offers improved admin rights for adding or changing user permissions without requesting support.||Yes|
|There is increased resilience to the application and the 3rd party software for the cloud based service. The UoE will continue to be secure and resilient for its infrastructure and data files.||Yes|
|B7||Compliance||Adherence to BACS security standards, specifically SHA-2.||Yes|
|SC1||Users can access and make use of the the PT-X application to ensure consistent results across the two products.||Yes|
|SC2||The performance of the PT-X application is at least as good as the current C-Series.||Yes|
|SC3||The PT-X application provides the same functionality as the current C-Series (albeit with additional features).||Yes|
|SC4||The project is delivered to time, cost, quality and scope.||No|
Analysis of Resource Usage:
Staff Usage Estimate: 30 days
Staff Usage Actual: 35 days
Staff Resource Variance: 116%
Explanation for variance
The project budget was always on the most optimistic side of the estimate range. The actual project was closer to that submitted with the highest degree of confidence.
Two unplanned factors contributed to the increase:
- The need to order a new server rather than to re-use an existing one.
- An unplanned outage of the 3rd party software after go-live led to a logging script being written in-house to flag such an outage for Production Manage awareness.
Key Learning Points
||The build of contingency time-lines into the plan proved helpful on this occasion to accommodate unplanned tasks.||Should implement as good practice||Management of a Project|
||Maintain fluidity in the project plan, where possible. Explore dependencies and adjust accordingly throughout the life-cycle. PM's should be active in their monitoring and control of tasks being carried out by others and encourage communication when it comes to looking at best viable options to undertake work.||Should implement as good practice||Management of a Project|
||Early involvement with a 3rd party establishes a positive attitude from all in terms of relationship management.||Was beneficial||Management of a Project|
Please refer to the minutes of the meeting held with the project sponsor: outstanding issues
Outwith the project, Finance will progress the following:
- Seek a time-line from the 3rd party to enable their software to be fully compliant with the recommendations of the Equality Impact Assessment Report.
- A review of the data archiving policy, to better understand the retention period of historical data.