Facelift for the Mother City

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

When the City of Cape Town's ­Information Technology (CCTIT) division looked over its weighty legacy of ­disparate time and attendance (T&A) ­solutions and systems, it decided the time had come for a thorough spring-cleaning.

Dawie Kriel, senior officer, HR division, explains: "The City of Cape Town had different solutions provided by different companies using different technologies. We urgently needed to consolidate this inherited position in order to improve our management of resources.

"We have to manage T&A for over 24 000 staff members based at over 500 sites. It was obvious that we needed to choose a universal solution that could be implemented across all these sites, and that the data from the sites had to be centrally managed from a single server.

CCTIT took complete responsibility for developing the system requirements and they considered, among other factors, current trends, availability of technology and feasibility. During this process, it became clear that CCTIT had to meet the following requirements: data from the T&A solution had to seamlessly integrate into a centralised payroll module of its SAP ERP system; and a biometric hardware solution was required to prevent fraudulent clockings.

Design, specification and implementation were treated as separate phases, because of the scale and complexity of project.

Subsequent to CCTIT's extensive and thorough investigation of its requirements, the division put out a call for companies to tender for the contract.

The solution

Jeff Greeff, sales executive at Blick SA: "There was an extensive selection process, but eventually Hlanganani Blick, our BEE arm, made it to the shortlist of three companies.

"Our biggest challenge was conclusively proving to CCTIT, by software and hardware demonstrations, that Hlanganani Blick was the obvious choice for the project."

Hlanganani Blick, providers of time management solutions, eventually won the contract because its solution was locally-produced and specifically designed to meet the needs of the South African HR market.

Greeff comments: "With the size of the infrastructure and the need for centralised payroll facilities, a web-based solution was the only possible solution."

Sagem's biometric fingerprint readers, locally distributed by Ideco, were chosen as Sagem (a French company) is the global market leader in this technology. Blick's BESTime web-based time management and data collection software was chosen to provide the web-based interface into the SAP systems.

"Realtime data is available at both the centralised database and at all the local and off-site workstations that are configured for our software," comments Greef.

Other challenges that had to be overcome on the way to a successful implementation included working with third party companies on the SAP integration and, in certain instances, necessary upgrades to the existing network infrastructure.

The benefits

Greeff says: "The project is still a work in progress but we have achieved a successful first installation. We have a dedicated team of project managers and technicians working on the project. Goals have been set and achieved and weekly - or even daily - meetings are held to ensure we all remain on track.

"We are now at the point where we are focused on the two year roll-out plan to eventually accommodate all 500 sites. So far, everything has run smoothly, but we are keeping a sharp lookout for any issues arising and are confident that we will continue to overcome any obstacles that might come our way.

"So far, everything has been a success. Frequent communication and regular meetings with CCTIT are helping to maintain good working relationships. I cannot over-emphasis the importance of this aspect of running successful projects."

Kriel concludes: "This project is part of The City of Cape Town's concerted efforts to improve levels of service to the community we serve. We are pleased with the way Blick went about the pilot phase of this large-scale project.

"We are confident that, when roll-out is completed, that The City of Cape Town will save millions of rands that were previously being paid out every year in unjust wages."

Fact file

Blick SA, Jeff Greeff, +27 (0) 21 511 3322, jeffg@blick.co.za

Ideco, Gary Jones, +27 (0) 11 745 5600, ggj@ideco.co.za

City of Cape Town, Dawie Kriel, Dawie.kriel@capetown.gov.za

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