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North Carolina State Government is a large, complex organization. With an annual general fund budget of more than $25 billion and over 85,000 employees, the State would be a Fortune 500 company if it were a private organization. Although the State's agencies have different missions and serve different constituencies, they share similar business functions, such as human resources, payroll, budget management, accounting and more.

The legacy human resources and payroll systems replaced by BEACON were 20+ years old and offered limited functionality. These systems relied on outdated technology, did not communicate well with each other and were difficult to change for new operational requirements. Moreover, these systems were at risk of failure due to old age and withdrawal of vendor support.

About BEACON: Program Background  

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In the 2001 session of the General Assembly, legislation was enacted to authorize a State Business Infrastructure Study. Session Law 2001-491 directed the Office of the State Controller (OSC) to determine the feasibility of developing and implementing a new business infrastructure for the State. The study, under the direction of the OSC with assistance from the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), and the Office of State Personnel (OSP) commenced in February 2003. Deloitte Consulting was engaged utilizing competitive bid processes to complete the study through a two-phased approach.

  • Phase I - Inventory and Assessment - Completed April 4, 2003
    Goal: To develop a high-level inventory and assessment of the business systems, subsystems and integration/ interface components that provide financial, human resource, and payroll information and support to programs in state government. This included the identification of technical and business requirements, problems and risks, and an approximation of present costs incurred for operations and maintenance.
  • Phase II - Blueprint for Selecting Improvement Approach - Completed October 31, 2003
    Goal: To determine and document viable options for implementing a business infrastructure that would include integrated operations for budgeting, accounting, payroll, human resources, revenue collection, cash management, investments, and other business functions of state government. Descriptions and risks for each alternative approach are provided, along with benefits, constraints and other relevant considerations.
  • The study concluded that continued use of the current business systems may adversely impact the fiscal integrity of state government, as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations. Therefore, the State decided upon a replacement strategy that carefully weighs the risks of potential system failures with the current State budget condition and State funding priorities. The strategy involves an extended implementation approach with the first focus on replacing the Human Resources and Payroll Systems.

    HR Payroll Project Implementation 

    Implementation Phase: April 20, 2006 to June 2008

    The start of the Implementation Phase was marked by the official Project Kick-off Celebration on April 20, 2006. This included the official unveiling of the BEACON name and logo. Previously known as SBIP, or the Statewide Business Infrastructure Program, the decision was made to change the name to BEACON (Building Enterprise Access for NC's Core Operation Needs) to emphasize the program's goals.

    Throughout the course of implementation, the following objectives were established:

    • Install the HR and Payroll SAP software and develop associated business processes and reports
    • Provide a secure and reliable system that meets current and future user needs
    • Implement the system with minimal disruption to ongoing business operations
    • Ensure focus on organizational change management (readiness, work transformation, and system/process acceptance) including the transformation of the current DOT Payroll, Central Payroll and PMIS organizations
    • Develop the business processes around the system's strengths, rather than the system around current business processes
    • Provide training for the project team, technical users and end-users
    • Enable state employees to support and maintain the system on an ongoing basis
    • Provide strong technical infrastructure for future innovations and scalability
    • Establish statewide standard processes that are based on recognized best business practices

    The Office of the State Controller (OSC), Information Technology Services (ITS), the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) the Office of State Personnel (OSP), and the Department of Transportation (DOT) oversaw the implementation effort. Representatives from nearly every agency in the State participated in the design of the new infrastructure.