NS: Outsourcing SAP jobs isn't good for province, Jessome warns

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Metro Halifax

Jessome: "I can say with great confidence that it is not in the best interest of Nova Scotians."

Joan Jessome, president of NSGEU says the prospect of government IT jobs being outsourced to a private company is not in the best interests of Nova Scotians.

By Haley Ryan

[HALIFAX, NS] – Union leader Joan Jessome says she is "raising the alarm" at the prospect of government IT jobs being outsourced to a private company.

"I can say with great confidence that it is not in the best interest of Nova Scotians to move forward," said Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees' Union, on Thursday morning.

The provincial government is reviewing the $20 million SAP program, and considering moving most of the operations to an international IT business.

IBM Canada is rumoured to be the company in question, but Jessome said she could not confirm anything due to a confidentiality agreement.

SAP is used by the Department of Finance and has access to school board, municipality and government records to collect pay roll information, as well as other areas of personal information.

Jessome said people should be concerned if this data goes over to a global company.

"As a province we should be very territorial about protecting that," she said.

Jessome said the majority of the 73 government workers her union represents of the roughly 110 employees who would be affected will not work for the company if a contract goes through.

She said they will not have the same job security, and could be sent to a job in a foreign country, which they definitely don't want.

"If they wanted to be flown all over the world and live out of a suitcase ... that's where they'd be working," Jessome said.

Organizations: IBM Canada, Department of Finance

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • THe Dictator Borat
    October 01, 2012 - 21:17

    @ IT Guy Not Working for the Government again you haven't a clue in regards to the state of IT within NS government. According to the auditor generals extensive research into the issue of IT use in this province's public service there is indeed no constant upgrading of the system and is in fact held together figuratively with gum and elastic bands. Obsolete Novell still has a place in this system despite most of the planet going away from that long ago. Then there is the issue of Windows XP plus Office 2003 still being used in Health Authorities as the medical software does not support Windows vista , 7 or 8 use. And you call the NS public service system constantly changing ? The only change that will come is when XP is not supported with updates in 2014 and indeed the Health Authorities are forced to make a huge upgrade in equipment. IBM with a fixed contract at 100 million would look to savings and the savings would come with a centralized computing center of Blade Servers accessed with Zero Clients from across the province. Ncomputing especially would be of great benefit in that type of deployment as there are no device updates of Citrix or Windows Embedded unlike conventional Zero Clients. Image one virtual desktop you have imaged 100 devices. No IT techs having to image each and every hard drive of 6500 for Capital Health let alone the tens of thousands that take 30 to 60 minutes each. 75 people working at 80 to 100 K a year with a defined pension benefit having the taxpayer pay about 80 percent of a pension that is about 80 percent of full salary and indexed for inflation will cost more then 100 million dollars in ten years. Then you have the IT staffs waste of money that is not tolerated in the private sector. IT people not being able to get work outside the public service is bogus because IBM would be offering the jobs back to the employees . What you seem to want like Joan Jessome is a playground to continue a facade that ripping the taxpayers off is in their best interest. If there are some nurses actually getting 200K because of the amount of overtime in Nova Scotia then I would not doubt there are IT techs doing the same if not all of them. And then you double that with the pension contributions the province has to borrow money to make. Virtual desktops are the way to go to save money as shown with the UKs National Health Service which has saved hundreds of millions of pounds over the last 6 years. Who really cares about IT jobs in this province because if you are indeed good at what you do then you are no long without a job as 3.5 percent of IT jobs in the region go unanswered for recruitment. Virtual desktops are a reality in the business world and rapidly governments are finding that big efficiency that allows the clearing of deadwood.

    • IT Guru
      October 15, 2012 - 06:47

      @Dictator Borat: Obvious troll is obvious and doesn't have a clue. Only idiotic thing left for you to say is "we should house all our patient data on a cloud supplied by India" or some shit. Go get a real IT degree and stop listening to what others tell you to write. That is my 5 Canadian cents.

  • nadine hughes
    September 30, 2012 - 21:34

    i am a SAP expert and have been working all over the world doing SAP installs and upgrades.... information is power.. do not loose the control of your information .. .. as said above "Out sourcing is NOT cheaper, it will end up being more expensive. Just wait until you want to make an upgrade, add additional batch jobs, run a DR test etc...will cost more money everylittle change. IT systems are containly being upgraded.This on top of the lost jobs and forcing our IT people out of the province. " Please Please Please look at the big picture before you outsourse and allow your company to be ran by unknow people with unknow abilities..... I'm from contracting firms .. I've been there... is it scary.... Keep control of your information.

  • max
    September 30, 2012 - 15:27

    I'm not a union guy and don't care for them myself, but as an IT guy who has actually worked on these very types of projects, I have to agree with Jessome on this. This is not in the best interests of our province... and privacy is just scratching the surface. The cost of paying a third party to handle SAP related business functions is undoubtedly (probably obscenely) more than the cost of handling it in-house, not to mention the hassle that's avoided by handling it in-house. This is really not the way to go. Really.

  • PJ
    September 29, 2012 - 23:30

    Having been involved in the huge outsourcing of IT for the State of Virginia, I can honestly say it has been a complete disaster, costing far more than the original estimates and producing reduced services. I was a County employee who worked as a liaison between the County and State, I saw firsthand the utter chaos, huge cost overruns and diminished service levels outsourcing brought. I vendor supplied sub-standard equipment provided by unqualified staff, some of whom could not replace a defective hard drive. Do NOT do it. Once you commit, you are shafted because going back is financially impossible.

  • The Dictator Borat
    September 29, 2012 - 20:38

    @IT guy not working for the Government. Outsourcing to IBM will indeed be cheaper simply because the Nova Scotia taxpayers will not have to bail out defined benefit pension funds for the 70 plus unionized IT workers. Public sector pensions are bankrupting this province IE the bailing out of a 750 million dollar shortfall for the public service workers recently. Also IBM and the Province could then go with virtual desktop devices by WYSE , Ncomputing , or about 30 manufacturers that indeed could rebrand as IBM devices as has happened in the past. This would eliminate travel completely and also the need for anyone at remote sites. Virtual Desktops do not break for 10 years as opposed to 3 years for a typical PC. Virtual Desktops don't need to be replaced for as many as 14 with academic school years and they cost as little as 70 dollars per seat. The electricity consumption is less then ten percent of a conventional computer. Considering Capital Health alone has 6500 computers the electrical bill is massive. A virtual desktop device compared with computer saves 65 dollars a seat in electricity a year with normal business hours annually. It is not hard to understand that 65 time 6500 equals an annual electric savings of 425,000 dollars for just one health authority let alone 8 health authorities, 8500 non Education/ Health Desktops. 70000 desktops in Nova Scotia Public schools. Virtual desktops are good enough for the British National Health Services and most of US health care but don't exist here because of obstructionism by the Unions . ONe of the economic engines of this province is in Goldsboro Guysborough county as the onshore facility regulating the flow of Natural Gas to New England. There are no IT techs there as it is all controlled remotely by Exxon Mobil from Houston ,Texas. AS to the privacy boogie man all salaries in the public sector should be public knowledge anyways and the statement harmful to Nova Scotians might be in the case of the public service employees which are not that vast majority of Nova Scotians who strain under the weight of debt this province carries for people who produce no wealth but get paid twice to four times the per capita GDP of this province.

  • IT Guy Not Working for the Government
    September 28, 2012 - 14:03

    Out sourcing to IBM is NOT cheaper, it will end up being more expensive. Just wait until you want to make an upgrade, add additional batch jobs, run a DR test etc...will cost more money everylittle change. IT systems are containly being upgraded.This on top of the lost jobs and forcing our IT people out of the province. A very bad road to head down....

  • honker
    September 28, 2012 - 12:05

    This is all about the loss of union dues revenues for Ms Jessome's union. If outsourcing is cheaper and more efficient then by all means do it. Jessome's little corporate union will always oppose any move that reduces her revenues, that's just the way it is, she is in the business of growing revenue like most corporate business.

  • Steve M
    September 28, 2012 - 11:09

    Any wonder that unions are crumbling all overt the place. They are so lost and off the path. Unions, its obvious, care only about membership size. The more members, the more money in the pot. Let me say, from someone in this union, I wish that instead of Joan Jessome 'raising the alarm' over this possible change, that someone would raise the alarm over the sad state of the NSGEU and unions in general. Would be nice to see some evidence that the union really was working for me, not themselves.

    • Joe
      October 01, 2012 - 06:55

      I just wonder how many people know that there is a multi million dollar office building being built in Dartmouth to house the NSGEU. Interesting timing.

  • ADK
    September 28, 2012 - 09:39

    There is one job I would like to see outsourced and that is Ms. Jessome's.