Assembly Approves $750,000 for Another SAP Audit

The Anchorage Assembly spent a good portion of its meeting debating whether $750,000 was too much to spend on what is called a Quality Assurance audit by the same company designing the municipality’s new software system, SAP. But the resolution passed with ample support, and most assembly members saying too much money has already been spent on implementing the new automation software to skimp on what are hopefully some of the last steps in the process.

There were questions about whether paying less, or using municipal employees rather than outside contractors, could keep the project on schedule while still ensuring its quality. The dollar amount and the timetable were designed to limit the risk of any more problems popping up amid program’s roll out.

“Our staff would not have the ability or resources to do the technical analysis of the configuration that SAP is being hired to do,” explained the city’s Chief Financial Officer Katherine Giard in response to a question. “Nor would they have the time.”

The audit process will bring in SAP consultants to make sure the software’s technical features are in good working order, and to offer advice when they are not.

“It’s a very big expense,” said Assembly member Paul Honeman, summing up the general sentiment of comments made ahead of the vote authorizing the resolution. “It’s sad that we’re here at this point. We’re down that path, we’re way down the path where we should have turned around and said ‘we were sold a bill of goods,’ or ‘we’re paying way more than we should have.’ So I say let’s move forward and get it finished.”

The Quality Assurance audit is totally seperate from the external audit that the assembly voted to authorize a few weeks ago. An RFP hit the street yesterday for bids to look into why costs have run so far over on the SAP program’s implementation. That audit will be around $200,000.

Elsewhere in last night’s meeting, the assembly put off making a decision about a comprehensive plan for access points into Chugach State Park, and took more public testimony ahead of a revised resolution on towing laws.