Wing Commander Trevor Field, a public relations consultant and forces administrator, said problems where still being ironed out, and self-service access was still limited. But only about two per cent of 50,000 RAF salaries had been miscalculated by the system. He could not confirm how many people had benefits such as flight pay miscalculated, but insisted the system had been properly tested.
He explained it had been a difficult job for EDS because there were 70 old computer systems that needed to be incorporated into the old one, and that the old method probably gave more errors.
As it stands, HR staff have filled in where RAF personnel were supposed to have been using the computer to do self-service HR.
"Consider for a second how it must feel to see your job about to be replaced by a new system, and then to have to work all hours to bail out that system in order for it to have any chance of success," said one PPRuNe poster purporting to be a RAF HR. Many others were far less restrained.
The RAF rollout was originally supposed to be finished in December, but it has a problematic legacy. JPA is part of a £300m deal EDS struck with the MOD in 1997. It was originally drawn up as a public finance initiative (PFI) contract, but had to be redrawn when PFI was discovered to be a sure way of bodging a government IT project.
According to quotes that PPRuNe posters say came from official documents, the RAF had by mid-April restricted access to the system to ease the strain. The same was done again in late-April. Then two weeks ago it was said the systems would be running properly by mid-May.
EDS is not new to rolling out problematic systems for the forces. Its US Navy Marine Core Internet (NMCI) system is one of the most expensive bodges in history, yet is now attributed to keeping its corporate chin up. Its first quarter results, posted just days ago, attributed a rosy outlook to a $3.9bn contract renewal with the US Navy.
At the MOD meanwhile, EDS's meaty D(II) project, which was largely responsible for EMEA revenues jumping 16 per cent to $1.6bn, has also run into problems that have had EDS demanding compensation.
D(II) is intended to be a new communications network. Funnily enough, the problems that have beset JPA are thought to have been to do with a feeble network.®