Delivering best practice back-office collaboration with ERP

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Sally Murdoch, Director – Public Sector Marketing at Unit4, discusses how next generation ERP can improve back-office processes

The UK’s Government Digital Service recently proposed new standards that serve to underscore a key theme in public sector digital transformation: getting the back office back under control.

Creating a unified working environment for back-office processes continues to be a major challenge for many government and public sector organisations. Achieving it requires a full-scale embrace of digital transformation. It requires a culture receptive to change. It requires the retirement of legacy systems that organisations may have relied on for decades.

But before we embark on any of these projects, it requires something much more basic. It requires us to establish what “good” actually looks like – to create best practices for the back office that specify exactly how we want them to operate, and what we want them to achieve.

This means creating a framework for public sector ERP, HR, and Payroll services that’s right for the challenges we’re facing in the present, and which enables us to face the future.

In this article, we’d like to showcase public sector organisations who have made this leap. Which has in turn helped them to create ERP and DOP systems that radically streamline their operations, creating a better working environment for their people and a better platform for the delivery of key services.

The evolution of ERP

In defining best practices for ERP, we should be sure we know what we’re talking about when we talk about ERP. Originally developed for manufacturing industry applications as a central, monolithic system for resource control, ERP systems have traditionally been a major asset and limitation to the public sector. Because they were developed for the industrial world, retrofitting them for the purposes of people-centric organisations like a government department, local authority, or housing association has generally required a great deal of engineer-lead customisation – not to mention a great deal of hyper-specialised physical infrastructure.

In its most modern forms, ERP has ceased to be a central hub for resource planning built around the needs of the assembly line. Instead, it exists as a collection of microservices that integrate seamlessly into the workflow practices already established within the organisation to automate and streamline processes.

In conjunction with the rise of cloud computing and SaaS architectures and the theoretically unlimited processing and storage power it delivers, this increasingly distributed and decentralised ERP represents the perfect foundation of a “digital operating platform.”

It’s this kind of flexible architecture that Unit4 have been using as the basis of a reimagining of ERP for people-centric and service-centric organisations. Creating more flexible operational platforms that make ERP, HR, and Payroll services logical and consistent for verticals like the public sector, in which the main “resource” to be “planned” is the expertise and time of specialists.

ERPx – the next-generation solution that changes the game

ERPx – Unit4’s fully cloud-native next-gen ERP system – is built to radically simplify your back-office systems. Creating a single working environment and source of truth for the entire organisation that allows you to integrate multiple services and tools into one powerful system – that still retains a lightweight and intuitive user experience for your end-users.

Its AI and machine learning capabilities provide a foundation for the intelligent automation of many of your day-to-day workflows. Removing the burden of admin from your staff and freeing them up to pursue higher standards of citizen services. Saving the entire organisation time and money, which can be refocused into more productive areas. AI-powered data analytics also helps to synthesise insights in real-time to match resources to needs and create realistic and actionable forecasts for finances, HR, and service demand.

What does this mean for the public sector?

A platform like ERPx has the potential to completely transform the way the public sector handles back-office functionality, creating a new paradigm for operations that builds in best practices from the point of implementation onwards to allow the agility needed to build, grow, and shrink shared services across authorities, supporting agencies, and partner organisations. This potential has been and identified and praised by multiple leading enterprise software analysts – from Constellation Research to IDC, Gartner, Forrester, Nucleus, and more.

How Unit4 ERP is already helping public sector organisations apply next-gen best practices to their back offices

The following two recent engagements should illustrate the kind of transformative power Unit4 ERP can bring to public sector organisations as they embrace new digital operating methodologies.

Basingstoke and Dean Borough Council have recently begun implementation of Unit4 ERPx and Talent Management through our partners Embridge Consulting to help rationalise operations for 580 employees and 176,000 citizens. The solution is set to free up resources and time to focus on frontline service delivery, provide a modular approach to digital transformation to allow the council to evolve at their own pace while boosting collaboration, transparency, predictability, and accountability through more robust planning tools, and the ability to more effectively recruit, retain, and deploy talent.

Golden Lane Housing has recently begun the implementation of Unit4 ERP in the cloud as part of its ongoing mission to transform the lives of thousands of people living in properties across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Working collaboratively with our partners and social housing experts at Integra Associates, Unit4’s solution will allow the group to create more efficient processes with increased resource availability via a future-proofed solution build specifically for public sector needs that can be adapted quickly and easily over time without the need for intensive IT customisation.

What our customers say about us:

“Through an industry best practice implementation approach, the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will replace legacy finance and HR systems that were no longer fit

for purpose, with an integrated, intuitive, and agile next-generation cloud ERP platform.

“Unit4’s Public Sector implementation model, ensures rapid time to value with the generally accepted financial and personnel controls and standards which adhere to UK policy and regulations including GDPR out of the box.

“Through our transformation programme, we were looking for an agile ERP platform that would help us to adapt quickly and grow whilst maintaining stability for our customers and optimising our resources and we are pleased to be working with Unit4.”

“As a council, we are committed to delivering excellent services for our residents and customers and speeding up our processes through the use of new technology. Through our transformation programme, we were looking for an agile ERP platform that would help us adapt quickly and grow whilst maintaining stability for our customers and optimising our resources and we are pleased to be working with Unit4.”

Sue Cuerden Executive

Director of Corporate Services

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, UK

“Unit4 is helping the Trust to deliver medical treatment more efficiently, for example, we can examine patient incidents, including the type of incident, where it took place and the patient demographics – and use that insight to find more cost-effective ways of providing care as well as benchmarking our performance against other ambulance services in the area.”

Darren Ward

Senior Finance Analyst

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, UK

“Unit4 has vast experience supporting the emergency services and public sector with its next-generation enterprise software, including police forces, local and regional government, and the ambulance service. The functional fit and speed to deliver with Unit4’s Public Sector implementation model means that Cheshire Constabulary will have solid, high quality, transactional service delivery that can be maintained and kept up to date at all times, allowing changes to be made easily and effectively.

“Selecting Unit4 will enable us to re-direct frontline services and give us the data and support services we need to enable our officers and staff to be their most effective.

“Our vision is for even safer communities for the whole of Cheshire.  Selecting Unit4 will enable us to re-direct frontline services and give us the data and support services we need to enable our officers and staff to be their most effective. Achieving this will ensure that it does not distract but supports their primary role of real neighbourhood policing.”

Julie Gill

Assistant Chief Officer

The Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, UK

“Unit4 ERP is now seen as a key enable to support business process. The improved visibility, workflow, flexibility time and cost savings mean that our customers are ideally placed to meet the challenges they face today and in the future.”

Mike Pearson

Business and Corporation Applications Manager

Hoople, UK

“Unit4 flexes to fit the users, so they are using a system designed around their needs – not visa-versa. Our staff really likes the intuitive interface, the workflow, and the automation.”

“Financial reporting is faster and more insightful too, budget managers, head of services, and other senior decision makers across the trust rely on Unit4’s timely financial insights for decision makers.”

Duncan Squires

Finance System Manager

Berkshire NHS Trust, UK

“For the first time, we have a single complete, timely picture of demand, the skills, and resources available to meet that demand, and the nature of the incident. Armed with this rich, evidence-based insight, we can connect our workforce to demand and achieve better outcomes for citizens across south Wales. This enables us to realise our vision of the right person, right place at the right time with the right technology and skills.”

Umar Hussain MBE

Chief Financial Office

“We needed a true cloud platform that would deliver high-level business outcomes across the Council ecosystem and Unit4 is the solution to deliver this for us.

“Our vision for a transformation program meant an end to-end review of the finance, procurement and HR and payroll processes and systems we had in place with our previous IT supplier. We needed a true cloud platform that would deliver high-level business outcomes across the Council ecosystem and Unit4 is the solution to deliver this for us. It will be a bold step change in the user experience, empowering people with accurate and insightful data for enhanced, intelligent decision making, and ultimately future-proofing our workforce.”

Leigh Whitehouse

Director of Resources

Surrey County Council, UK

About Unit4

Established in 1980, Unit4 is a global business with 3200 employees and operations in over 100 countries. Unit4 is the largest provider of SaaS-based ERP software to the mid-market, with more than 6,000 customers globally – 4,500 of which are in government or the third sector.

Our roadmap focuses on further increasing low and no-code capabilities to create solutions with a lightweight user experience for all users and the in-depth customisability needed by power-users to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Discover how Unit4 can help you create the operational ecosystems that create public sector best practices for the back office.


Please note: This is a commercial profile

© 2019. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license

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