Skip to Content

Edison - A Bright Idea for State Government

History of ERP in Tennessee

Edison Logo

ERP systems began in the private sector and were designed for companies that wanted to integrate their manufacturing processes with other business activities such as inventory, distribution and accounting. The number of ERP implementations in the private sector grew steadily throughout the 1990s. In the mid-to-late 1990s, ERP vendors began to focus on the public sector by adding features such as fund accounting capabilities. Organizations at every level of government have adopted ERP systems – from the United States Department of Defense to the City of Los Angeles. Numerous states have also made the switch to ERP, including Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.

Simple popularity, of course, doesn´t mean that the benefits of a new technology will outweigh its costs. Everyone in state government has experienced plenty of innovations that seemed like a great idea, but just didn´t live up to expectations. In order to make the best decision for the future of State workers and citizens alike, several agencies including Finance and Administration, Department of Human Resources and General Services, formed a working group in April 2002 to discuss various options for replacing the State´s core administrative systems. This group identified ERP as a possible solution for replacing these aging "legacy" systems. The group then began an intensive study of the benefits and risks of making the switch to an ERP system, bringing in Salvaggio, Tea & Associates, an unbiased, independent consulting firm which specializes in helping governments to evaluate, acquire and implement ERP systems.

The results of the ERP Automation Assessment Study, which was completed in 2003, were eye-opening. The data suggested that moving to the new system could result in decreased operating costs due to improvements in business processes made possible by ERP and the reduction of costs associated with the old systems. In Accounts Payable, for example, the study estimated that a reduction in the amount of time spent processing non-TOPS invoices could result in a savings of up to $20 per invoice. Similarly, administrative services departments could see a savings of up to $30 per purchase order just from time saved processing manually-generated purchase orders.

Based on its findings and with strong support from the executive branch, the group decided that an ERP system would help address the challenges that the State faces in the coming years. A full-time project team completely dedicated to the implementation was formed to analyze State business processes, to identify the functional and technical business requirements, and to develop a request for proposal for an ERP solution. The MAXIMUS company, which specializes in public sector ERP implementations, was selected as the prime contractor for ERP software and related implementation, support, licensure and maintenance services for the Edison Project.

The implementation of Edison began in September 2008 with the HCM (Human Capital Management) portion of the system, which contains the Human Resources, Payroll, Time & Labor, and Benefits portion of the system. HCM was implemented with the "big bang" approach, meaning all of the State agencies went live at the same time.

Next came implementation of the FSCM (Financials Supply Chain Management) portion of the system, which contains the Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Billing Cash Management, General Ledger, Grants, Projects/Allocations, Travel, Vendor Maintenance, eProcurement, Purchasing, Contracts, Sourcing, eSupplier Portal, Assets, and Inventory. FSCM was implemented using the "wave" approach, meaning agencies were split into waves and went live at different times. The first wave went live January 2009 and the final wave went live October 2009.