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Hand pointing at a touch-screen computer interface representing a work management system

Why This Audit Matters

Since Toronto’s amalgamation in 1998, City divisions have used various work management systems. These systems mostly operate separately from each other and are difficult to upgrade as approaching their end of life.

The Enterprise Work Management Solution (EWMS) program was initiated in 2013 to improve the work management process across the City by integrating and replacing these legacy systems of multiple divisions, as well as integrating with shared services, such as 311. The EWMS program is intended to achieve financial benefits as well as improve service response times and equipment and materials management.

By The Numbers

  • 10 years since start date of EWMS program, phase one is still in progress
  • 4 divisions and their 20 business units to have EWMS implemented over three phases
  • $52.3M – EWMS program budget reported to the Executive Steering Committee since July 2020
  • $51.8 M – EWMS phase one spending as of August 2023
  • $7.5 M – remaining spending to complete the original phase one scope
  • $33.1 M – estimated costs by management for phases two and three
  • At least $92.4 M – estimated total costs by management for all three EWMS phases
  • Over $1 M – cost of unused EWMS licenses in the past two years
  • $14.1 M – estimated cost to support both legacy and EWMS systems in parallel until expected full implementation of EWMS in 2027

What We Found

A. Project Planning

  • The initial program charter did not include timelines and the total cost to complete; program budget was not clearly identified. Five out of the eight project charters were not approved by all key stakeholders.
  • Program goals were not measured on a regular basis to assess if they were being achieved.
  • Stakeholder communication and involvement should be strengthened to improve project planning and decision making.

B. Project Governance

  • Technology Services Division’s program dashboard criteria definitions require revision to ensure the program status and risks are accurately presented.
  • Executive Steering Committee meetings were held at irregular intervals with meeting minutes not always recorded.

C. Project Execution

  • Two out of four divisions did not have EWMS implemented for phase one after more than 10 years.
  • Software license acquisition and management requires improvement.
  • Although EWMS went live at Transportation Services, it was done at a time of significant change for the Division, and full system functionality was not operationalized for the winter 2022-2023 season due to business processes and role-based training not being designed prior to the system go-live date.
  • Reporting of actual consolidated budget and expenditures to City Council and Steering Committee requires improvement.
  • A formal process is needed to record and maintain critical project documents.

D. Project Risk Management

  • Current EWMS software version will no longer be supported after 2025.
  • Risks associated with EWMS software upgrade and infrastructure change for cloud implementation should be evaluated and documented.
  • Prior relevant Auditor General audit recommendations should be incorporated into the project governance framework to apply the recommended controls consistently to all information technology projects.

How Recommendations Will Benefit the City

Implementing the 14 recommendations from this audit to the remaining phases of the EWMS program and to all the large IT projects at the City will improve project planning, governance, execution, and help realize the benefits as intended by these projects.

EWMS Phase One Delays

After more than 10 years since the inception of the EWMS program, implementation for Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PF&R) is still in progress and Toronto Water’s (TW) implementation has not yet started. Phase one has been implemented for Solid Waste Management Services (SWMS) and Transportation Services (TS) with project closure scheduled for completion by December 2023. The figure below summarizes major delays during 2013 to 2023.

A summary of delays to the EWMS project. Target completion dates for phase one of the project ranged from 2013 through 2020 originally but shifted to 2017 through 2023/TBD as end dates for all elements are not certain.