Hampshire County Council is saving £2m a year on IT running costs after implementing an enterprise resource planning application running on an IP network. By 2010, council officers expect to have saved £10m.
The SAP system has been deployed to more than 9,000 users, making it one of the largest local government implementations of SAP. According to local government IT managers association Socitm, the cost of supporting a user at the council has fallen to £1,665, compared with the average cost for all councils of £2,023.
Hampshire County Council adopted thin client technology at the same time as it implemented the SAP system. By moving to a thin client architecture, the council was able to decommission its mainframe and avoid purchasing an expensive replacement. The IT department chose Citrix Metaframe software for its thin client applications.
A council spokesman said, "A roll-out team was set up within IT services, working with each customer site to identify their requirements and help them with the transition from desktop to thin client applications. In some cases, this meant working out transitional arrangements that let the old system co-exist with the thin client devices."
The SAP system replaced all the applications used by the council's finance, human resources and procurement functions. More than ｣400m of procurement a year is now being processed using SAP. The council spokesman said, "A separate implementation team was set up by the county treasurer who recognised the need to give priority to the core financial applications used by all departments. The multi-disciplinary team comprised IT experts and key users seconded from county council departments."
The SAP system has been extended to include users at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. The council is one of a handful to share services with emergency services.
Council IT officers plan to extend the use of SAP within the council to include its corporate time recording and project control functions.
Further extensions of SAP will be considered if they meet the council's conditions for IT projects: they must generate cost savings and they must provide savings and service improvements at the point of delivery that are visible to the customer.
This was first published in March 2006