St Helens Borough Council Coat of Arms (Image source Wikipedia)St Helens Borough Council has selected a combination of Unit4 ERP, Unit4 FP&A, and Proactis Invoice Capture to replace its existing systems. According to the response to a freedom of information request in 2018, the council currently uses an in-house solution for its ERP alongside Proactis for its procurement solution.

St Helens Borough Council is to move its finance systems to the cloud. As part of the project, it is taking advantage of the modern suite that Unit4 offers. The migration will enable the council to retire elements of its in-house IT infrastructure. It will reduce the reliance on internal IT teams that currently supports the business.

Internal staff will now have the time to invest in more strategic tasks. Additionally, the FP&A solution will enable the finance team to spend less time generating reports and more time analysing and acting upon insights. The cloud solution is underpinned by the Unit4 micros services architecture. This means keeping integrations between applications will become easier to maintain. It also ensures that data flows between different systems are maintained and there is a consistency of information across the council’s systems.

Asad Mushtaq, Director of Finance, St. Helens Council, commented, “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.”

More advantages for St Helens Borough Council

Unit4 will optimise the “People Experience”, delivering enhancements to both employees and residents within the borough. The company also called out five further advantages that the council will deploy from the solutions once they are implemented:

  • Automation to reduce the time spent on administrative tasks and increase productivity and reduce costs
  • 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

Unit4 has a stream of recent successes across public sector organisations. It includes Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, Norwich City Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council.

Southampton City Council is already live on Unit4 ERP and seeing the benefits. Helen Baker, ERP Support and Development Manager, Southampton City Council, commented, “Unit4 is making the council smarter and more agile. By automating and streamlining processes in the cloud, as well as introducing self-service, Southampton City Council can direct more resources to front-line services.”

Chris Richards, Regional President, UK&I at Unit4
Chris Richards, Regional President, UK&I at Unit4

Chris Richards, Regional President, UKI, 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.

“Public Sector is about reputation – a safe pair of hands – and, as Unit4 continues its growth in this sector, we have already demonstrated that we deliver a great customer experience in the local authority space.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

All the above wins occurred during 2022. They demonstrate the success that Unit4 is having in winning business under Richards local leadership. However, there are concerns . The Register reports that Surrey County Council has yet again delayed their migration from SAP to Unit4 ERP with a budget that included £3.9 million in additional costs earlier in the year. The project originally planned to go live in December 2021 is now planned for June 2023.

These delays may be due to the complexity of the project and the complex uncoupling of a customised SAP solution. However, success at the other councils mentioned above, including St Helens, will be key for Unit4 in 2023.

If this is a net new win for Unit4, it also shows that the vendor is succeeding against rivals in the market. Technology One has had recent wins with Oracle. To a lesser extent, SAP is also seeing success in the UK public sector. As councils start delivering their digital transformation, the laggards will carefully watch the implementations across the UK and measure their success.  2023 could be a pivotal year for Unit4 in the UK.


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