CSC on USPS payroll

The U.S. Postal Service late last month awarded Computer Sciences Corp. an ordering agreement potentially worth $198 million to provide payroll and benefits solutions to support more than 850,000 employees. Under the Preferred Portfolio Partnering Agreement, CSC will develop its largest payroll sys

The U.S. Postal Service late last month awarded Computer Sciences Corp. an ordering agreement potentially worth $198 million to provide payroll and benefits solutions to support more than 850,000 employees.

Under the Preferred Portfolio Partnering Agreement, CSC will develop its largest payroll system to date because the USPS payroll system is one of the largest in the world.

Under the new so-called payroll portfolio, CSC will help USPS transition from a decades-old legacy payroll system to a modern system that will be integrated with human resources and benefits functions. Work under the agreement will include business process re-engineering, software selection, applications development, systems integration and deployment, and specialized applications such as Internet solutions.

"We want to use commercial packages as much as possible," said George Bacon, partner and practice manager at CSC's consulting group. "Given the size of the Postal Service, the [system] has to handle issues related to scalability. That will have to be examined for any [commercial off-the-shelf] solution or hybrid solution."

It should not be too difficult to find an appropriate payroll package because there are some "heavy-duty COTS packages out there" that have already been "federalized," said Bob Dornan, senior vice president at Federal Sources Inc. Still, implementation will be a challenge. "You don't just roll them in, [install] them and flip a switch. It can take a year or more to roll out," he said.

The payroll portfolio with CSC is a one-year agreement but has the potential to last nine years. However, the door is still open for other vendors to work in the payroll area, said Beverley Goodale, contracting officer at USPS. "There is only one payroll portfolio, but there are other ways to award support in the payroll area," she said. "We are always considering the best ways to contract for it."

USPS hopes its approach of awarding Preferred Portfolio Partnering Agreements will bring standardization and interoperability to USPS systems that traditionally were developed in isolation. Through these agreements, USPS wants vendors to apply industry best practices to achieve results.

The payroll portfolio is the second such award for CSC. In May last year, the company won an agreement to provide enabling applications, which include work in a variety of functional areas, including facilities, information systems and purchasing.

CSC also will work with Andersen Consulting to integrate human resources functions with the payroll system.

So far, the agreements have been working well, Goodale said. USPS will decide in March whether to extend the agreements it awarded last year to CSC, Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Andersen.

MORE INFO

USPS Preferred Portfolio Partnering Agreements

* CSC: payroll and enabling applications

* Andersen: mail operations, marketing, finance and human resources

* EDS: IT infrastructure

BY COLLEEN O'HARA
Feb. 08, 1999

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