Iowa City is making another run at implementing a new software system after an initial attempt ended in failure and a lawsuit.
City staffers are recommending the city contract with Dallas-based Tyler Technologies Inc. for the company’s enterprise resource planning software.
The system would be used for the city’s human resources and payroll, financial and utility billing functions for jobs like making payroll, paying vendors and creating reports.
The City Council is to vote on the $832,165 contract at its Sept. 4 meeting.
Iowa City contracted with Innoprise Software, out of Broomfield, Colo., in 2009 to have the company supply and implement what is commonly referred to as ERP software.
But the software developed bugs and Innoprise started missing deadlines before the city ended the deal in 2010 and negotiated a settlement for $196,000 of the $254,179 it had already paid the company.
Innoprise only paid $10,000 and then was acquired by Canada-based Harris Computer Systems Inc. After that, Innoprise would not respond to Iowa City’s inquiries, city officials said.
In April of this year, the City Council approved a $30,000 settlement with Harris and said the city would continue to go after Innoprise for the other $156,000.
The city spent more than a year on the current search. It came down to two finalists – the other was New World Systems in Michigan – who both had pros and cons, said Kevin O’Malley, Iowa City’s finance director.
The city requested “best and final offers” from both and did background checks. Tyler Technologies’ price was lower when looking at a five-year period, O’Malley said. In addition to the $832,165 capital expense, annually software maintenance would cost more than $55,000 starting in year two.
He said city officials made several visits to other towns to see the software in action. The two finalists also came to Iowa City for hands-on demonstrations with city staffers.
“We saw the functionality we were looking for working,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley said the process was similar to what the city did when selecting Innoprise. But he said after that deal fell through city officials reviewed and redefined its requirements and then had the vendors show them the work could be done.
We “kind of saw the proof in the pudding,” he said.
Iowa City created its current system itself in the 1980s and all but one of the people who wrote the software has retired, O’Malley said.