Surrey County Council is entering the final phase of a major IT and telecoms overhaul that is expected to save the local authority £46m over 10 years.
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The council, working with IBM, has integrated MySAP R/3 Enterprise with telephony and call logging systems at a new purpose-built shared services centre.
The project, which began in late 2003, will be completed in April this year when adult social services becomes the final front-line service enabled to use the centre.
As part of the SAP implementation, the council has scrapped a range of legacy financial systems and has eliminated paper-based business processes in its human resources department.
The council expects the shared services centre to generate total savings of £57m by 2013 at a cost of £10.8m.
By providing staff at the services centre with integrated access to all council systems, the council aims to increase the number of cases that are dealt with at the first point of contact.
Debra Maxwell, the council's head of shared services, said, "One of the things that is different about this business process is that we place less of a reliance on individual relations [between staff and customers]. We are looking for a first-time fix rate of 85%."
Sixteen people will handle all incoming queries. Enquiries that need expert knowledge will be logged and passed to the relevant back-office department.
In addition to the services centre, Surrey County Council is using MySAP Enterprise Portal to build a website that will offer a public online query and transactions service.
The council is optimistic about selling its services to other authorities in future. "We see in the future being able to offer those services to other organisations," said Maxwell.