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Further to my report in May, there have been a number of advances made in the area of technology over the past three months. The Technology Steering Committee has completed a proposed IT Strategic Plan, to be discussed at this meeting of the Board. This strategic plan gives clear direction for CUPEs technology initiatives, particularly with respect to the conversion from Oracle-based systems to new, less costly and more reliable and stable systems.

I am pleased to report that the previous very heavy reliance on outside contractors in technology development and maintenance has been reduced. As important initial steps,
we were able to reduce the number of outside contractors from the 12 in place when I took office last year, to eight in April and just four in September. Two additional external contractors have recently been converted to temporary CUPE staff, and our intention is to make these staff positions permanent, pending approval of the IT Strategy Document and the 2003 Budget.

The strategic plan also proposes an organizational and staffing structure for the IT function at National Office, with a restructuring and conversion of roles currently being filled by outside contractors over the next 12 months. Proposed changes include the addition of a permanent IT Director (upgrading an existing Senior Officer position), additional internal Help Desk staff at national, as well as possible technical support staff at some of the larger regional offices based on need. The expansion of CUPEs ability to provide internal support both at National Office and in the regions will reduce reliance on outside contracted resources, save money, and increase the level of service provided to CUPE members and staff.

Many controls have been put in place to ensure transparency and accountability when it comes to IT expenditures. A detailed purchase order process has been implemented that ensures proposed purchases are justified, approved and within budget. Large commit-ments such as replacement of applications require three documented bids and any decision must be fully justified. A more detailed description of the purchasing controls for technology is contained in the IT Strategy Document.

The IT Steering Committee is now in the process of evaluating replacement applications for the Oracle installation. There are now three packages being examined that appear to meet the user and technical requirements and all are within the approved budget framework for a replacement system. The next step in this process is to have the end-users evaluate the possible replacement products and provide input as to the best fit for their needs.

Selection of an Oracle replacement application based on fit is just the first step of the replacement process. Following selection of an appropriate product, a tendering process will be used to determine which vendor of that product can best provide the implementa-tion consistent with CUPEs needs and budget. Tender evaluation will be done not just on cost but on the total value provided by the bid. Factors such as capacity to deliver, value-added guarantees, and verified references for similar work will factor heavily in the selection criteria. A vendor will be recommended by the Technology Steering Committee to the National Officers for approval.