Pension Administration System Implementation

A California county-level retirement association that managed defined benefits for their county employees was faced with complying to updated state-wide retirement services regulations. Eight years into an attempted implementation, they had yet to achieve implementation and were challenged with significant data integrity issues, reporting deficiencies and incomplete functionality in the new line of business

The organization was unable to completely transition from the legacy pension system to the new Pension Administration System (PAS), leaving them stuck in parallel operations for over two years.

Enterprise Iron was contracted to define, manage and execute a system transition plan. As part of the transition plan, Enterprise Iron was responsible for the transition of parallel operations (legacy and new PAS system) to single system operations (new PAS system solely). Enterprise Iron partnered with the solution vendor to:

  • Resolve outstanding software defects
  • Resolve remaining data integrity and cleansing issues with the data management team
  • Streamline operational processes and reporting to decommission the legacy system
  • Transition 100% of functionality to the new PAS
  • Ensure the quality implementation of all core system functionality

The following tasks were to be completed:

  • Cleansing of all active, retired and deferred member data
  • Transition cyclical processes from legacy system to new LOB system
  • Actuarial valuation, 1099, cost of living adjustment (COLA), semi-annual interest posting and annual health enrollment
  • Transition all letters, forms and reports from legacy system to new LOB system
  • Oversee the completion of outstanding functional defects and enhancement in the new LOB
  • Analyze and lead the deployment of new business processes and functions
  • Implement Agile project management framework to effectively manage ongoing system issues and enhancements
  • Conduct IT assessment and make recommendations for systems and future growth
  • Complete legacy decommissioning and final system shutdown

Interfaces were required to the courts and county employers in order to ensure timely receipt of member/plan sponsor contributions, earnings and demographic data. County employers submit data files individually. Interfaces were also required for retiree payroll and payment of lump sum withdrawals, federal and state tax files and actuarial valuation files

The organization administers a multi-tiered pension plans:

  • Plans were mainly final average earnings and cash balance plans, but some of the final average earnings plans had a cash balance component based on employee contributions
  • For other plans, employees could opt to take a return of their contributions with interest at retirement and receive an annuity from the employer contributions only

The calculation formulas included non-level benefits and supplements

  • Because of the nature of their plan, benefits across tiers were supported
  • Some plans allowed for employee contributions
  • Service calculations had to allow for determination of eligibility requirements and reciprocity for employees who had transferred from one reciprocal agency to another

By leveraging Enterprise Iron’s resources and PAS implementation triage experience, all project work was successfully completed under budget. The client was able to successfully take control of and complete the development of an Agile / Scrum-based project management approach to resolve outstanding data cleansing issues and software defects, ending a 2-year parallel operations cycle. Reviewed and prioritized remaining issues to develop sprint-based approach to improve collaboration and communication across teams.

Resource conflicts were managed, projects monitored for potential risks and any issues to successfully decommission legacy system were mitigated. The legacy system was decommissioned and all parallel operations ended three months ahead of schedule. In addition to the original scope of work we were able to assist the organization with the development of a sustainable internal PMO team structure for ongoing project and system support within the planned budget.