Springville, Lehi not alone in blasting computer system (UT)

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Springville, Lehi Not Alone In Blasting Computer System Tuesday, February 22, 2000


SPRINGVILLE A financial computer system that officials in Springville and Lehi say is a major pain has proved to be a headache for other cities inside and outside Utah.

Besides the two Utah County towns, Sandy and Tracy, Calif., also have reported extensive problems with the software package from Creative Computer Solu- tions.

Of the Utah sites, only West Valley City says it is fully satisfied with the product it purchased for $200,000.

Springville and Lehi have abandoned the CCS Select software and are trying to recoup their investments. Lehi officials have indicated they might sue the Pleasanton, Calif., firm, and Springville officials have inked a confidentiality pact with the company in hopes of securing at least a partial refund.

Officials in Sandy, which has invested $235,000 thus far, still are using the system but express only lukewarm support for it.

In Northern California, Zane Johnston, Tracy's finance director, said his city has endured troubles since upgrading to the CCS software 2 1/2 years ago.

It was so bad that we called them downgrades, said Johnston. The joke around the city was that we had just got another downgrade from CCS.

Sandy has bought about 15 individual modules or programs of CCS software that deal with budget preparation, accounts receivable and payable, billing and payroll, among other things. Individual CCS programs usually cost between $10,000 to $15,000. The results Sandy encountered after installing the software varied.

Some of the things we were told the software should do, it didnt do quite right, said Sandy financial administrator Scott Bond.

For instance, Sandy encountered problems in the utility bills the system printed out. Bond said some of the information on the bills was incorrect, forcing city staffers to hand-type bills in some cases and to delay billing.

In Lehi, which invested roughly $125,000, city employees struggled with the complex system and eventually abandoned it when they could not get it to process W-2s and missed one payroll.

The level of difficulty in making the software work was not within our capacity to make it work without hiring additional staff, city Administrator Ed Collins said. Lehi employs one part-time computer management information specialist.

Tracy officials likewise were flustered by the inability of processing W-2s. Johnston said he finally got so frustrated with CCS that he called Stephen Anderson, the company's chief operating officer.

I told him, You are either going to fix this software so my printer can print out W-2s or youre going to have to print them for us, Johnston said. So they had our W-2s printed in Delaware and shipped them to us.

CCS Select is billed as a comprehensive package that can handle virtually all of a citys financial and accounting needs.

Sandy and Tracy officials main gripe is the company does not provide adequate support for cities struggling to convert to the new system.

Anderson agrees with their assessment, but noted the company has beefed up its support staff. He said he is unsure, however, if the company will be able to resolve all the technical questions raised by clients.

Some cities expect a little more support than is possible for us to give, he said.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), February 22, 2000


"Some cities expect a little more support than is possible for us to give, he said."

Yeah, the nerve of those people, expecting them to provide a program that actually works!

-- rocky (rknolls@no.spam), February 22, 2000.

Have noticed in many articles, the TRAINING of workers using the system is inadequate.

When Leska worked for IBM, the training was superb. The manuals were extensive, easy to read, and logical. The support staff was excellent. But that was for the DisplayWriter, the cadillac of word processors, back in 1986, before manuals moved to incomplete incomprehensible garble under the "Help" menu ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), February 22, 2000.

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