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ERP solution for progressive city

October 22, 2015 Case Study 3 min read
The city of Mesa, Arizona implements an ERP solution that enhanced reporting and analytics, supporting timely business decisions.

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The client

With a population of more than 450,000, Mesa, Arizona, is the third-largest city in Arizona and the 38th-largest city in the nation. Mesa is considered very progressive in exploring new and innovative ways to deliver services and has been consistently recognized nationally as an innovator of technology solutions.

The challenge

In 2009, Mesa was using a legacy mainframe financial system and a customized Tier 1 HR/Payroll system to manage its financial, purchasing, human resources, and payroll-related processes. The city wanted to reduce the need for customization, expand capabilities, and enhance operational efficiencies through increased system integration and access to innovative technologies.
Mesa issued a request for proposal (RFP) to procure the services of a consultant to conduct a comprehensive ERP (enterprise resource planning) needs assessment to assist in determining the most appropriate course of action for selecting and implementing a new ERP solution.
Our team was selected over three other firms due to the breadth and depth of services it could offer Mesa as well as its experience with assisting other large,  municipal governments in similar efforts. In addition to providing the needs assessment, the city could leverage our ERP experience in preparing a detailed RFP to hire a prime ERP vendor as well as guide it through the implementation process and beyond.

The solution

Our team was engaged to support Mesa during the following steps of the process:
  1. We conducted an ERP needs assessment, which included a detailed review and analysis of the accounting, HR, and payroll functions. It also reviewed the supporting technology infrastructure and staffing.
  2. Our team worked with the city to develop an RFP that was released in late 2009. Upon receipt of the vendor proposal responses, we worked with city staff to review the responses and provided assistance in conducting other review activities including on-site vendor demonstration and reference checking. Our knowledge of the market and products allowed it to analyze the proposals and various products from a comparative perspective.
  3. This phase of the project culminated with the selection of a solution that included a single prime vendor overseeing the implementation of software products from four additional vendors.
  4. We spent five months negotiating a very complex statement of work and contract with the prime ERP vendor that included four major project phases spanning 36 months in duration.
  5. In 2010, We were engaged by the city to participate as part of its Project Management Office during the system implementation, which included providing direct project management support and oversight.
  6. In 2012, Mesa went live with core financials as part of its new ERP implementation. We continued to provide services to the city, including an IT assessment of the police department and assisting in the reorganization of the finance department due to changing financial-related work processes and shifting job responsibilities.

The benefit

Mesa now has a single source of data that helps drive timely business decisions and assists with improving transparency and accountability in government.
The city successfully completed a large-scale ERP implementation with the support of our team providing oversight along the way. Mesa was able to leverage the first-hand knowledge of onsite staff as well as tap into our specific subject matter expertise as significant decisions were made and milestones achieved.
We worked with the city to create an organized project structure to help successfully migrate to a new ERP system and work through internal learning curves to bring every department up to compliance standards. Today, Mesa serves as a model example to other cities looking to update their financial systems.
According to City of Mesa ERP Project Manager Valerie McBrien, “Plante Moran brought vision and expertise to this project and served as a collaborative partner every step of the way. Their oversight, methodologies, and first-hand knowledge of the process brought us to where we are today. Having access to consultants who had demonstrated their knowledge of ERP and government gave our staff a trusted sounding board to work through options and conclude on direction. Hiring them was well worth our investment.”

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