|26 Mar 2022
There were three key factors driving Nelson Marlborough District Health Board’s (NMDHB) switch from running its Roster-to-Pay on-premise with AMS to deploying its new AMS Pulse cloud solution. While NMDHB had successfully managed a highly complex pay environment for a 3,000 strong workforce on-premise for decades, in mid-2021 it decided the advantages of cloud were more than compelling.
According to Trish Casey, GM People and Capability at NMDHB, moving away from maintaining a hardware stack wasn’t the only consideration. “Firstly, there was removing the need to have inhouse expertise to manage an increasingly complex technical environment – including managing test environments in delivering the Holidays Act and the many MECA (Multi-Employer Collective Agreement) changes.
“Security was also top of mind, particularly with the recent attacks on DHBs. We were looking for a much stronger, inbuilt, discipline around data security and system access. Finally, increasingly, our people were wanting to remotely access our roster and pay systems which AMS Pulse makes really easy.”
Praise for Joint AMS Pulse Project Delivery
Delivered in just eight months, alongside the many disruptions Covid imposed, Trish was full of praise for the joint project team and how they approached the whole process. “What really impressed me was the project management discipline and the very structured approach taken. Every activity was clearly defined, the actions identified and scheduled with clear ownership. The plan was meticulously followed with everything listed and tested to ensure a smooth delivery.”
While not everything went completely to schedule, risk was minimised by running a live test on an interim payroll run, in-between cycles, with a small subset of employees. This was then followed up by the first major payroll run where the transition was made from old to new and, as Trish puts it: “Everyone got paid.”
Head of Workforce Management for AMS, Ben Barlow, says this was one of the more complex AMS Pulse projects to date. “Nelson Marlborough DHB use the full extent of AMS product functionality, and this was a good test of how well it really has translated into AMS Pulse in the cloud. We also set up a cloud data replication service using MS Azure, that accurately updates all relevant data. It ensures customised internal reporting and integrations built by NMDHB for on-premise, can be sustained in the cloud,” he said.
Real Complexity in Health Payroll
“Timing was also critical. There were very small windows of opportunity for project delivery with year-end, Holidays Act and MECA compliance looming. It was also an incredibly busy time for the Nelson Marlborough payroll team with Covid creating multiple shift changes, overtime and leave requirements above and beyond the norm,” he concludes. “The project delivery is a credit to everyone involved.”
It is complexity that can’t be underestimated. NMDHB’s Trish Casey has worked in many different industries but none of them presents the issues of managing payroll in a health workforce. “You are managing different cohorts of workers, all on different shifts, across different sites, under different employment agreements. If you consider all the pressures of Covid, the recent high profile MECA settlements and the remediation and rectification related to Holidays Act changes – there really isn’t anything else like it.”