6/16/2003 - Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has awarded Fujitsu Consulting, the global consulting arm of the Fujitsu Group, a £6 million, seven-year contract based around the implementation of an Oracle e-Business suite. The new system will present Sandwell Council with significant benefits through improved purchasing, and, by re-engineering its business processing, a more efficient operation across the council.
The e-Business implementation will integrate and modernise the financial, purchasing, procurement, cash receipting, HR and payroll functions and ensures that the council is well placed for delivering e-government in the run-up to the government's 2005 deadline.
The full implementation is working to a 15-month target, which began in May 2002 and is on schedule to be completed by July of this year. Once completed, it will deliver full standardisation across the Council and will facilitate adoption of best practices across different functions.
Advanced capabilities, such as the HR self service function are due to be rolled out in Summer 2003 - mean that Sandwell Council's employees will have their own personal data accounts allowing them to update personal information, such as their address or bank details, and they can submit their own holiday request forms. The function is designed to save Sandwell Council significant time and money and will empower council staff to do more online.
Tina Nicholls, project manager at Sandwell Council, explains, "Our original set-up was based on a number of ageing stand-alone, back office systems, most on a mainframe platform due to be decommissioned. The decision was made early on to use this opportunity to not only replace these systems with an integrated solution but to also modernise our working practices and offer extended capabilities like e-procurement."
Delivery of the phased implementation began with Oracle Financials, which has been in use since October 2002. The initial work has already enabled Sandwell Council to meet the obligations of the local government budgeting cycle, which include posting the agreed budgets for the financial year 2004/05 to the Chart of Accounts. The main 'go live' of core financial, HR and procurement modules in April 2003 has meant that around 2,000 users of Sandwell Council's 15,000 employees are now using the Oracle system successfully.
Future developments, over the next 12 months, will extend e-procurement functions and will include an evaluation of CRM technology as an aid to joined-up service delivery.
Lynda Bateman, director of finance and business services and the Sandwell project sponsor, added: "Fujitsu presented a very strong business case for an extended Oracle implementation. This coupled with clear experience in this area through similar implementations Fujitsu has developed with councils like Cambridgeshire, meant that they would be the best long-term partner to help us modernise our back office systems and processes and develop a citizen-centric approach."
Lynda added, "We're working to offer facilities such as self service to key suppliers and ultimately to Sandwell citizens, all via individual portals. For example, authorised suppliers will be able to access the Oracle system directly and check the payment of an invoice themselves, without having to go to Sandwell Council's accounts department. The new cash receipting solution, called PARIS, implemented alongside Oracle Applications by Fujitsu, will offer more ways than before for customers to pay bills, including an Internet payments facility."
Pauline Hinton, Cabinet Minister responsible for the service added, "This is an important milestone for Sandwell Council and I'm pleased that the new systems will not only save the council time and money, but will provide improved services to the citizens of Sandwell. The new system will be a major step towards our commitment to delivering our e-government strategy and modernising the council to benefit both our customers and employees."
Fujitsu Services is one of the leading IT services companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa. It has an annual turnover of £2.4 billion (€3.9 billion), employs 15,500 people and operates in over 30 countries. It designs, builds and operates IT systems and services for customers in the financial services, telecom, retail, utilities and government markets. Its core strength is the delivery of IT infrastructure management and outsourcing across desktop, networking and data centre environments, together with a full range of related services, from infrastructure consulting through integration and deployment.
Headquartered in London, Fujitsu Services is the European-centred IT services arm of the Fujitsu Group. The Fujitsu Group is a $38 billion (about €43 billion) leader in customer-focused IT systems and services for the global marketplace.
Prior to April 2002 Fujitsu Services operated as ICL. Fujitsu Services website: services.fujitsu.com
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