Wednesday, February 3, 2016

MUIS DISCUSSION

During last night’s Town Council meeting, The Town Manager and the Finance Director talked about changing over from the current TRIO system to MUIS.  There were several reasons for this request but the primary reason was the lack of technical support in a timely manner.  According to the Town Manager, there are 17 requests dating back to 2010 that are not yet resolved.  According to the Finance Director, TRIO makes it very difficult to control the cash flow, and other accounting items.  The people have known this for years but Stephen Eldridge, former Town Manager, switched from Northern Data to TRIO.  I believe it was because it was easier to hide money.

The Finance Director talked for nearly an hour about how TRIO does not do the job it needs to and how MUNIS will solve most of those problems.  Prior to TRIO, the employees of the town were more than satisfied with Northern Data.  Anytime you migrate to a new system, it is always a nightmare.  According to the Finance Director, the town wants to keep two TRIO – Assessing and Vehicle.  This means the town is going to pay for two systems at the same time.  This is always a bad idea to split technical support contracts.  Think about how much money the people are going to have to pay for two systems.  Generally, if you try and use 2 modules from one company they are going to jack up the price for these two modules and you will get no technical support.  If the town has 17 open technical support request dating back to 2010, how much technical support can you expect on these two modules.

These two modules may have better bells and whistles right now but what about in the future.  Trying to keep these two modules updated will cost two to three times more than converting all modules over to Munis and working with fewer bells and whistles.  This will enable one technical support contract and will make it easier to negotiate a better contract.  Any time a company knows you are interested in switching to their system, they will promise you the world in order to get your business.  This would be a perfect opportunity to try in get both the assessing and vehicle modules in Munis up to the way the town thinks it should work.

I have had extensive experience in converting over to numerous systems and I can tell you that it is imperative that you make sure before you start that you back-up the old system and make sure you have a solid back-up copy before you start.  Also, every day, week month, depending on volume of data entered, the system you have not converted the town needs to back-up and verify a good copy until everything is converted and verified.  Before you begin a conversion make sure the conversion table is correct so that the data goes into the right position, such as date goes in as month, day, year into the same or you will have month, day, year on one system going into day, month, year on the other.  There should be a lot of time spend on the preparation to ensure a smooth conversion.  It is critical to keep a copy of the back-up off-site even after the conversion is completed just in case of an unidentified problem comes up later.

None of this information was brought up during the discussion.  Which do you think is going to be easier to receive:  technical support from TRIO on these two modules or having the programmers tailor the modules to how the town wants it to work in Minus?

This is a prime example as to how ridiculous the concept of only allowing the audience to speak during Audience Participation.  The residents have no idea what is going on until the Sponsor explains the reason for the change and the Councilors have their discussion.  There are residents that have experience in many areas and can contribute to the process BEFORE a vote is taken.  This will enable the Councilors to have many more facts in order to make a reasonable decision.  This is why I have argued against the Council Working Rules.  

Larry Fillmore