King Co., Wash. renovates housing authority computer system

The King County, Washington Housing Authority (KCHA) has tapped Agresso to manage ongoing changes for their new enterprise resource planning suite, the company announced yesterday. Under the terms of the deal, Agresso will assist the KCHA in their Moving-To-Work (MTW) program as federal compliance requirements and regulations change.

The purpose of the MTW program is to give public housing agencies and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development the flexibility to design and test various approaches for providing and administering housing assistance, so long as minimum standards are met. The program was started in 1996 and there are currently thirty-two public housing authorities participating in MTW. KCHA delivers services to 40,000 King County residents, among a population of over 1.7 million, supporting more than 17,000 households.

“The program provides us a degree of flexibility within the bureaucratic framework to develop better approaches. To participate fully, we needed nimble financial tools like Agresso that could keep pace with our new ideas, and allow us to report in non-standard ways,” Craig Violante, the director of finance for KCHA, said in a statement. Mr. Violante said one issue the department deals with almost yearly is regulation tweaks for Public Housing and Section 8 programs from Congress. “Some of these tweaks can have profound impact on our finance department,” he said, adding their legacy system created roadblocks and inefficiencies – highlighting a need for Aggresso to manage ongoing changes.

King County is one of the largest counties in the country and they have a storied history in implementing ERP software.

In 2000, the county made headlines due to a $39 million failed implementation that would have used PeopleSoft human resource software and SAP R/3 financial applications. The project was halted and restarted several years later with new systems integrators. KCHA’s evaluation tools use solutions from Microsoft, SunGard and JD Edwards – of which Agresso will perform post-implementation work.

Despite this blight on King County’s record, it remains a leader in leveraging technology to deliver vital services to its residents. And Agresso North America president, Shelley Zapp sees housing authorities as a promising area of growth for their public sector practice. “We see housing authorities as a great fit for Agresso,” she said. “We expect to see momentum build with North American housing authorities as our message of post-implementation agility spreads.”

Related: King County Housing Authority is looking for Software Conversion Specialist to perform a variety of duties related to the conversion to a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system for Accounting and Human Resources. The position closes October 30, 2009 at 4pm. Click here to view the ad.

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