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IBM, Accenture, Infosys vie to replace Centrelink payments engine

Shortlisted for "complex" WPIT project.

IBM, Accenture and Infosys are vying to replace the calculation engine used by the Department of Human Services to determine the eligibility of Centrelink recipients.

iTnews can reveal the trio have been working to develop prototypes for DHS' new welfare payments entitlements engine after being shortlisted for the complex and high-risk project.

The department's calculation engine is used to determine how much is paid out to welfare recipients through the country’s new SAP-based Centrelink payment platform.

But the existing solution is embedded within Centrelink’s 30-year-old income security integrated system (ISIS), which DHS is progressively replacing through its massive billion-dollar WPIT program.

It is based on Model 204 technology and some COBOL rate calculators, with around 40 percent of ISIS's IBM z13 mainframe CPU consumed running tens of millions of assessment processes each day.

DHS went looking for a fully configurable end-to-end solution in September last year that would decouple business rules from processing using a single master entitlements rules repository.

However it warned that the project promised to be a “significant” part of the WPIT program, due to the complex and high-risk task of deciding the eligibility of customers.

A spokesperson told iTnews that Accenture, IBM and Infosys were shortlisted after last year’s procurement process to take part in a competitive dialogue process.

The process was used to understand the suppliers proposed solution over a 13-week period, with up to $500,000 provided by the department to develop a prototype solution.

“We spent three months working with these vendors so they fully understood our requirements before submitting their respective proposals in late March,” the spokesperson said.

The department is now in the process of evaluating those proposals, with a decision expected anytime from June.

The new solution is expected to be completed during 2021, and will be incrementally deployed to allow the department to mitigate any risks.

The procurement for the new calculation engine is the first major procurement under WPIT since Accenture was chosen to provide systems integration in 2016.

It is one of four providers that make up the systems integration panel for the mammoth welfare system upgrade on which IBM is also present.

However up until November last year, IBM had not been awarded any contracts for the WPIT program.

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