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With the City’s financial enterprise software program, Oracle’s JD Edwards, requiring significant financial outlay in order to continue receiving support, City Council voted on Dec. 10 to shift to an entirely new enterprise software provided by New World Systems.

The change recognizes the new Evanston reality: a trimmer, leaner staff does not require as costly or robust a software system as in the past.

Evanston acquired its current financial, accounting, human resources and payroll enterprise software system in 2002 and fully implemented it by  2004, according to City staff, when times were good and City staff was much larger than today. Rather than purchase required upgrades at $445,000 to start, with service and maintenance raising the nine-year cost of JD Edwards to nearly $2.9 million, staff began looking elsewhere about 18 months ago, said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.

City Chief Financial Officer Marty Lyons said the New World program was the right size and provided something for every City department. At an estimated nine-year cost of under $1.4 million, New World costs less than half what the updated JD Edwards system would have cost the City.

 In 2002, the City issued general obligation bonds to borrow money to purchase JD Edwards, said Mr. Lyons. Continuing a recent trend away from issuing bonds for anything but the largest capital projects, the City will this time borrow $596,000 from the City’s parking fund to be repaid in five annual payments of $126,500 including 2 percent short-term interest. Ongoing maintenance costs, $81,540/year, will come from the technology account.  

According to the staff memo, implementation of the new software will take a full year – from contract signing on January 1 through Dec. 31, 2013. The learning curve may result in a bit slower and a bit less efficient services until staff gets accustomed to the new program.