FirstGroup on road to consolidation

FirstGroup is consolidating 191 IT systems to fewer than 40 as it enters the second phase of a five-year project to transform the business and cut IT costs.

FirstGroup is consolidating 191 IT systems to fewer than 40 as it enters the second phase of a five-year project to transform the business and cut IT costs.

The international public transport company aims to cut the number of systems it uses to between 30 and 40 by April next year. The systems will be split between its bus, train and US-based businesses.

FirstGroup CIO Darin Brumby said, “We are rationalising on single enterprise-wide platforms across the group.”

The company aims to migrate the whole business to an SAP 4.6 enterprise resource planning system by August and then on to MySAP by April 2007.

Brumby has budgeted for savings of £5m in the current financial year from platform consolidation and other major IT-enabled projects, including a migration to a new BT-managed wide area network and a Citrix thin client roll-out.

The first part of the five-year business transformation plan was to replace the company’s voice and data network. A BT-led consortium was awarded a £46.9m contract earlier this year to supply a managed network to 700 sites in the UK and 300 sites in the US.

FirstGroup also overhauled its approach to IT governance in preparation for its platform consolidation project.

“We implemented a very simple Prince2 methodology. At the individual project level, we are using a programmatic ITIL-based approach,” said Brumby, who added that the IT department at FirstGroup uses part of the ITIL methodology rather than the whole project management approach.

Read article: Underground aims to get everyone on the same track

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