August 20, 2019 – update: the SCS administration says that it expects to implement the revised ERP system for the same $22 million already planned for it. The administration has also said, as noted below, it intends to eliminate “unneeded” elements of the proposed ERP plan. It was not clear if those elements to be removed from the plan will be discarded to keep within the $22 million budget or because the new SCS administration of superintendent Joris Ray has a different opinion than the previous administration of superintendent Dorsey Hopson as to what is actually needed.
August 19, 2019 – The Shelby County School system is attempting to determine how much work done under a $7,240,638 contract can be salvaged and applied to a overall $22 million project.
For at least four years, Shelby County Schools has been pursuing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution to help integrate and manage the various core business functions of the school district.
It has planned to spend about $22 million on the project. In 2017, it selected the Oracle database system as the primary service and issued a contract with CherryRoad Technologies, Inc. to provide implementation of the Oracle Cloud based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. It is said that SCS will be the first school district to adopt the cloud based ERP system from Oracle.
Now the school district has revealed that Oracle did an assessment of the progress of the project in October, 2018, and shortly thereafter work on the implementation was halted. School system officials say the contract with CherryRoad has been terminated and that it is investigating how much of the work done so far is “salvageable” and can be used going forward to complete the project. To assist in that evaluation, SCS management says Oracle will conduct another assessment of the implementation effort later this year after the work has resumed. SCS says it is going to relaunch the project in early September.
SCS estimates the project will take a year or slightly more to complete once the work resumes. It plans to “reframe” the ERP project, that it is in an “investigative stage” and cites the fact that many of the top level administrators at SCS have changed with the resignation of Dorsey Hopson as superintendent and the selection of Joris Ray as the new superintendent. The administration change has included the firing in April of its Chief of Information Technology. The Board of Education approved a $5 million contract with Oracle in June to implement the ERP system. CherryRoad was, and according to its website still is, a “platinum partner” of Oracle.
An ERP system is designed to bring multiple business practices into an integrated computer system so that decisions can more easily consider the various aspects of the goals of the business. In many cases, individual elements of the business process have already been automated but were independent from other elements of the business which had their own software solutions. An ERP is designed to replace or integrate existing computerized applications, or create new ones, so that they work together to present a bigger picture of some of the core functions of a business.
SCS says it intends to pursue the areas of the ERP system that involve budgeting, finance, human resources and payroll and to eliminate what it considers “unneeded systems” from the ERP project.
SCS administration officials are reluctant to mention the name of “CherryRoad” in discussions of the status of the ERP project and indicate that there are legal considerations forthcoming. The Shelby County Board of Education has an executive session scheduled for Monday, August 19, 2019. SCS executive sessions are closed to the news media and public and such secrecy is permitted by court decisions allowing the public body to get legal advice from its lawyers when it is named in a lawsuit, anticipates a lawsuit, or is threatened with a lawsuit. It is unknown at the time of this writing what the subject of the August 19 executive session is but reference has been made by SCS administrators to consultation with its attorney(s) in regard to the ERP project. It may well be that the August 19 executive session is primarily called to discuss the legal ramifications of the terminated contract with CherryRoad and its work done under that contract.