St Helens Council plumps for Unit4 ERP to forward automation plans | Computer Weekly

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St Helens Borough Council has selected Unit4 enterprise applications technologies to advance its digital transformation plans.

The council is replacing an in-house system with software-as-a-service enterprise resource planning (ERP) and financial planning and analysis software. They are also using some invoice capture software from Proactis.

Asad Mushtaq, director of finance at St Helens Council, said: “Unit4’s credibility in the public sector, coupled with a really positive engagement experience, has cemented the ‘trusted partner’ approach we are taking.

“We have collaborated closely to determine the resources and skills required to implement a successful project and, as we do so, we are very excited about our future and delivering even more efficient services for our residents.”

The local authority is one of five district councils in Merseyside. It’s home to more than 180,000 people and has 4,800 businesses based there. Not unusually, its focus is on delivering services to residents, and it hopes that by investing in new technology, it will be better placed to improve the way teams work together and deliver those services.

This should allow the organisation to integrate business processes more easily, offering a better user experience.

The council maintains that its existing systems are no longer fit for purpose, and has decided to move its finance system to the cloud. This will reduce reliance on the in-house IT team, as well as the need for manual intervention in business processes.

Again not unusually, the hope is that this will free up staff to focus on other, more strategic activities, such as streamlining internal workflows and enhancing the analysis of financial information. Employees will be able to improve approvals of supplier invoices and create more predictability in relation to financial performance.

St Helens Council will also, it is said, be able to take advantage of:

  • Automation to reduce the time spent on administrative tasks;
  • Integrated asset tracking with accounting, procurement and other financial functions for full financial control and visibility;
  • Improved control to drive efficiencies throughout the entire procurement process;
  • Increased speed and accuracy in planning;
  • Deeper insight into operational and financial information for informed decision-making.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, and Norwich City Council are also Unit4 customers.

Chris Richards, regional president for UK & Ireland at Unit4, said: “We are delighted to welcome St Helens Borough Council as a new customer, and partner with them as they transform their back-office finance and business applications.”

Unit4 is one of the smaller business applications suppliers, counting its revenue in millions rather than SAP’s and Oracle’s billions. Under its chief executive, Mike Ettling, it has pursued a strategy of providing multi-tenant, software-as-a-service business applications, with a big stress on offering a “cloud native” microservices architecture. This is said to be designed to give its customers the flexibility to plug in modular components and services.

Its target market is best described as service industries, expressly not manufacturing: professional services firms, nonprofits, and higher education, and the public sector, as with St Helens Borough Council.



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