JOHNS CREEK — The Johns Creek City Council approved a contract with a new business management software provider April 27, estimated to cost the city nearly $1.5 million over the next three years. 

The contract will allow the city to replace its current Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which is used for much of the city’s day-to-day business but has become outdated.

ERP refers to a suite of integrated applications that can collect, store and interpret data from many business activities. It’s used by the city’s Finance, Community Development and Public Works departments.

From issuing building permits and business licenses, to tracking spending and work orders, the software system is essential to the city’s workflow and allows for more efficient coordination between departments.

“The ERP is a foundational tool to the city’s operations and reporting capabilities, and the current system is out of date and has reached the end of it’s useful life,” IT Director Jason Woolums said.

When Johns Creek incorporated, the city partnered with Sungard for its resource planning system. However, since 2015, Sungard has gone through changes in ownership and service focus that made in no longer ideal to meet the city’s needs.

In 2019, the city worked with the consulting firm Plante Moran to conduct a needs assessment and request for proposals. Ultimately, out of four vendors that submitted proposals, the selection committee unanimously recommended Tyler Munis for Finance and Tyler Energov for Community Development and Public Works

Woolums described the programs as a “significant improvement” over the city’s current software, both for the city staff and the public.

“The end result will be a complete enterprise solution that will dramatically improve reporting and online citizen functionality,” Woolums said. “Citizens and contractors will be able to complete most common tasks online.”

To implement the Finance program in 2020 will cost the city $572,000, of which $536,000 was budgeted for as a capital expense. The remaining $36,000 will be drawn from the general fund.

The estimated cost for 2021, when the Community Development and Public Works system will be brought online as well, is $636,000, followed by $290,000 for final implementation costs in 2022.

Councilwoman Stephanie Endres said the investment in the city’s future was well worth the significant price tag.

“The systems that exist today have been deficient for quite some time,” Endres said. “It’s an understatement to say that the technology is no longer adequate. Even though we’re increasing spending over the next couple of years — we’re going to have to make some adjustments elsewhere — this is going to be critical.”

Mayor Mike Bodker, who works in the business software industry, said he was happy with the new provider and thanked the staff for their willingness to adapt to the new system.

“Tyler is a feature-rich system that out-of-the-box will be better than most everything we’re already doing,” Bodker said. “It’s used by many, many governments both bigger and smaller than us.”

Carson Cook is an Editor with Appen Media Group and covers Johns Creek, Dunwoody and Fulton County.

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