Things
are really hotting up at Telstra Super and in particular with the
trustee board. Inside information has it that individual board members
are lobbying to have a crisis meeting of the board being convened for
late next week to assess the situation with the struggling application
replacement project.

Of critical concern to the board is the
fact that the legacy system that administers the members’ contributions
is based on a 20-year-old product called SuperB. SuperB has had a
chequered history over the life of the product and along with its
sister product, Calibre, is built on a proprietary platform.

The
ownership of the intellectual property for SuperB and Calibre products
has passed through five different companies over the life of the
products. The original developers being CoCam, who were bailed out by
Colonial and when Colonial failed to make any money from these products
sold them to PMSC in the US. PMSC later got into financial difficulties
and merged with CSC and again CSC were unable to make any profit from
these products and recently sold to Bravura.

Is it any wonder
the board is concerned about not only the ill-fated application
replacement project but also the fact that they look like being left
stranded on the legacy system they were so keen to replace.

It
is expected that the crisis meeting of the trustee board will seek to
have a full and independent inquiry of the project carried out as a
matter of urgency and is expected to report back to the trustee board
within 30 days. The terms of reference of the inquiry are still to be
finalised but from my inside position I think it should include the
following:

1. The validity of the original selection process;
2. The execution and outcome of the initial ‘Proof of Concept’ that was set out in the tender process;
3. The project governance and independence of the Project Management Office (PMO);
4. A full audit of the total project spend to date as well as the likely spend to completion;
5. The viability of the selected application and application supplier to deliver a successful outcome;
6.
Recommend an appropriate exit strategy from the Financial Synergy
‘Acurity’ system if it is seen that a successful outcome cannot be
achieved in an acceptable timeframe and cost.

The inquiry is
expected to be led by one of the big four consulting organisations. The
trustee board’s inquiry is being initiated ahead of any inquiry that
the regulator may make in an attempt by the board to be seen by both
members and the regulator to be accepting its responsibilities. Let’s
hope it isn’t too little too late.

CRIKEY: See a package of our recent Telstra Super coverage on the site here.

Peter Fray

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