Staffordshire County Council is to roll out SAP Duet, the system that enables users to access core SAP functions through Microsoft Office applications. It is one of the first major UK organisation to announce plans to deploy the software.
Duet promises to increase efficiency because users do not have to leave the Microsoft environment to access enterprise data. This also reduces the need to train end-users on SAP systems.
The Duet implementation, which is scheduled to go live early next year, is the final part of a five-stage strategy to consolidate Staffordshire County Council’s IT architecture on SAP enterprise software.
The council outsourced the maintenance of its SAP systems to Fujitsu earlier this year in a deal likely to be worth more than £1m in its first year.
It then rolled out SAP customer relationship management throughout the council. The CRM system is also being deployed in the 420 schools in the county, all of which use SAP as their payroll system.
SAP’s social care module will be used to provide the council with children’s electronic social care records in the second half of this year.
The council is planning to upgrade from SAP R/3 to MySAP 2005 or 2006 this year. The move is designed to enhance the performance management capability of its core back-office processes and to prepare for the implementation of SAP Duet.
Council CIO Chris Robinson said, “Each directorate at the council had its own self-standing IT department. We are running 450 applications at the moment. I am keen to streamline down to a smaller number of applications.”
Staffordshire County Council aims to use Fujitsu as its long-term outsourcing supplier for the SAP consolidation project, but the different stages of the project are being awarded separately so that the council has the flexibility to bring in different suppliers if needed.
Robinson said, “I am not in the game of signing a 10-year deal for Staffordshire because the council is in no way ready to go with a mega deal. There are a lot of savings that could be made internally.”
Read leader article: Consolidation challenge
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