City of Pasadena

city hall building

City of Pasadena


About the Client

Pasadena is the seventh largest city in Los Angeles County, and in 1886, became the first to be incorporated in Los Angeles County. Pasadena is unique in that even though it is only 12 miles from central Los Angeles, is remains a self-sufficient metropolis.

Client Challenge

To upgrade to the Financials system on a limited budget while simultaneously building a framework for future Government initiatives.

Client Benefit

CherryRoad helped position the City for future web-based initiatives by developing internal skill sets, building a scalable infrastructure, developing end-user training, establishing IT support and creating an effective change management plan.

CherryRoad Solution

CherryRoad implemented a system that leverages Internet architecture as a foundation for Government – positioning the City for Portal, Procurement and CRM applications. CherryRoad completed the upgrade on-time and on-budget.

“Not only was CherryRoad able to help us complete our upgrade on time and on budget, they also positioned us to support future web-based projects and lay the groundwork for our current Budgeting implementation. It is for these reasons that we consider them a long-term system solutions partner.”

Shari Forster, the City’s Deputy Finance Director

Building a Foundation for Future Initiatives While Stretching the IT Dollar

The City of Pasadena – famed for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl Game, and site of the world-renowned California Institute of Technology – is home to more than 134,000 residents and to organizations employing nearly 100,000 individuals.

As the City of Pasadena prepared to upgrade its Financials system, it faced a challenge shared by many public sector organizations: shrinking IT budgets. Further, although money was tight, the City had a long-range vision for streamlining internal operations, while improving the level of service it provides to its constituents. The City planned, for example, to implement web-based employee self-service, a City-wide intranet, and e-government services. Thus, any upgrades they performed had to be compatible with their long-term IT strategy.

Pasadena turned to CherryRoad Technologies as its implementation partner, based on the firm’s five-year history of successful projects with the City. CherryRoad had successfully partnered with the City on the original implementation of their Financials system, their subsequent upgrade to a current version, and various strategic evaluations and assessments.

CherryRoad Develops Project Plan

CherryRoad needed to help the City reduce the costs of a major upgrade, while also building a foundation to support future IT initiatives that were not currently funded. CherryRoad developed an overall plan to:

  • Identify alternatives for reducing infrastructure costs associated with upgrading to the Internet Architecture (IA), while improving service levels.
  • Assemble an experienced project team that leveraged internal resources as much as possible, while minimizing project risk.
  • Ensure the organization’s readiness for the new system, and their willingness to adapt to new processes and technology.
  • Architect the systems environment to support future growth and initiatives
  • Build internal skill sets so the City could support current and future IT requirements.

Managing the Upgrade on a Limited Budget

Maintaining this focus on adhering to budget limitations while building a framework for future initiatives, CherryRoad worked with the City to formulate alternatives for each aspect of the project, particularly system architecture, upgrade approach, and foundational strategy.

System Architecture

Because the Internet architecture represented a fundamental change in the applications environment, CherryRoad led the City in assessing its infrastructure and revisiting past decisions that were based on client/server architecture. The team explored platform changes that could reduce hardware expenditures, while maintaining focus on scalability. In the end, CherryRoad recommended that the City transition to a new platform that:

  • Yielded costs savings.
  • Met system uptime and performance requirements.
  • Was certified and supported by the system.
  • Matched internal skill sets for administration and support.
  • Offered a scalable architecture to accommodate future growth and initiatives.
  • Was successfully implemented for other CherryRoad clients similar in scale to the City.
  • The results were phenomenal. Not only was the City able to save approximately 80% in new hardware costs, it also maintained – and in some case improved – system uptime, performance, and reliability. Based on this success, the City implemented the same hardware architecture in other areas, such as Budgeting.Most importantly, the new hardware environment will grow with the City’s future requirements. By implementing a server cluster-based architecture, Pasadena can support future implementations and additional users simply by adding additional servers to the cluster.

    Upgrade Approach

    Based on CherryRoad’s experience with the City and knowledge of its environment, business practices, and resources, the firm was able to staff the Financials upgrade project with a smaller, more experienced team. To ensure the project’s success, the City’s functional and technical resources were tasked with additional responsibilities in customizations retrofit, testing, and training. This approach, in conjunction with CherryRoad’s proprietary methodology for streamlining the analysis process during the upgrade, greatly reduced the City’s project costs.

    For instance, CherryRoad focused the Compare Report Analysis task on business requirements rather than individual customizations: a much quicker approach than addressing customizations one at a time. The testing effort was then streamlined by starting with pre-delivered test scripts and having City users customize and coordinate the process.

    As a side benefit, training was also incorporated with testing, as users followed test scripts that familiarized them with the new application pages and processes. Finally, by aligning testing effort with Test Moves (e.g., Test Move 1 with Unit Testing, Test Move 2 with Integration Testing), CherryRoad reduced the number of Test Move iterations as well as upgrade databases.

    The Pasadena/CherryRoad team used strict version and change control mechanisms to restrict “issue leakage,” reducing the troubleshooting effort while maintaining the integrity of the final production database. In addition, the City’s internal IT resources did retrofit work on any customizations, since they were most familiar with them. CherryRoad also performed extensive knowledge transfer with the City’s DBA and Network Administrator to prepare them to provide post-production Internet architecture support. The team saved on third-party load testing tools by using the testing effort to extrapolate for load testing of online and batch performance, since the Internet architecture utilization requirements are linear.

    Building a Foundation for Initiatives

    Through the ERP Financials upgrade process, CherryRoad helped position the City for future web-based initiatives by developing internal skill sets, building a scalable infrastructure, developing end-user training, establishing IT support, and creating an effective change management plan.


    CherryRoad approached the City of Pasadena’s ERP Financials upgrade with a focus on current cost savings as well as future objectives. The short- and long-term results of our collaboration with the City produced the following benefits:

    • Over 40% reduction in contracting costs compared to previous upgrade
    • Over 80% reduction in cost of hardware from switching platforms
    • Upgrade completed on-time, on-budget
    • Applications knowledge successfully transferred to internal resources
    • Foundation for future web-based initiatives established, including EPM, Portal, and HCM

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