PERAC will launch its new self-service portal beginning April 2017. This new system aims to streamline some of our internal processes and modernize the way administrators and outside vendors work with our agency. The vendor, CGI Group, has been working with PERAC staff to design a system that brings us squarely into the 21st century.
Rob Roberts from CGI provided an overview of the vision for this project, which will be called PROSPER, at the Fall MACRS conference last year. While the main goal of the project is to improve system capabilities and offer more efficient business processes, after conducting both internal and external studies, it was clear that the project would also need to focus on four key components in order to succeed:
- Modernize Technology
- Reduce Manual Processes
- Consolidate Applications & Data
- Reduce Paper
The Board Administrator Technology Survey sent to board administrators last September helped us assess the level of readiness that exists for the system. Out of the 104 boards, 68 responded. We thank you for your responses which indicated that the majority of boards are software and system ready for PROSPER. If your board did not get a chance to participate in the survey but would like to, please let us know and we will have another link to the survey emailed to you.
Collaborative also conducted in-person research with over 150 meetings with PERAC staff as well as on-site meetings with some boards, retirees, medical and financial vendors and MassIT. The existing system for processing requests will be changing once the PROSPER project is in full swing. The paper-based process that exists today is labor intensive and turnaround is sometimes slow. Additionally, because the process is so manual, there is always the possibility for human error and it is also difficult to easily and securely share information. Paper forms also have no built in validation and it can sometimes be difficult for boards to know the current status of their requests.
PROSPER will introduce a new way of doing things with the board self-service portals. Board administrators and members will have instant access to some of the information they most need such as educational requirements, status of member applications, and instant access to ALL PERAC memos (we heard you!).
Each retirement board administrator and board member will have their own secure access to the self-service portal and will be able to complete many transactions online 24 hours a day, significantly reducing the need for paper forms. Although this new system represents a radical change from our current way of operating, many things will remain familiar. Most forms will retain the same look and feel as the paper forms. Also, your own board interactions with your members will remain the same. Many of the board vendors will also have access to PROSPER for submitting the many disclosures that are required by statute.
The project is scheduled for a staggered roll out beginning this spring with Compliance. Please be on the lookout for training dates, system requirements, security access forms, and roll-out schedule as we get closer to offering you this self-service portal system. Online training materials and in-person training sessions are planned every step of the way as well as dedicated support staff to assist with technical questions.
PROSPER – it’s easier and faster and you get more visibility and more information – the benefits are endless! We welcome your continued input, participation and support as we work to build a more efficient and transparent agency for the future.