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UNIT4 customers spend 55% less than general ERP population on annual costs of change

UNIT4 customers’ cost of change is on average 55% less than competitors using other ERP systems. That is the headline from a white paper, sponsored by UNIT4, The Financial Impact of ERP Architecture on the Annual Cost of Business Change, which surveyed Agresso ERP users to discover what it costs organisations to keep systems in sync with changing business needs.

IDC, the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm, undertook the research in November after surveying users of a range of ERP system in May. Comparing the results IDC concluded:

• The reported average annual costs of change (internal and external costs) are substantially higher for the general population than for UNIT4 Agresso customers. UNIT4 customers reported spending an average of 55% less on an annual basis.

• The general ERP users were four times as likely as UNIT4 Agresso ERP users to report negative impact on customer experience as a major obstacle to keeping ERP systems current to meet changing business requirements.

• Companies must look for ERP systems that can provide the flexibility to continue to meet business needs with low investment of scarce company resources.

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How the public sector can make the most of shared services

As revealed in UNIT4’s recent survey into how public sector managers are turning to technology solutions to deal with budgets cuts, shared services are proving the most popular strategy that managers are pursuing to save money.

In the latest of our series of blogs on the research’s findings James Bouch, UNIT4’s Head of Public Sector Sales, considers the benefits, pitfalls and opportunities that setting up or joining a shared services can present.

What is behind the move to public sector organisations forming and joining shared services? Customers are forming different strategies. There are organisations which commission services out to third parties and those which create shared service entities themselves, with the aim of generating revenue as well as cutting cost. They want to offer these services not just to the consortium that set up the shared service, but also to act as a trading vehicle out to other organisations that want to take advantage of the operational efficiencies that can be achieved. Councils more concerned with reducing operational costs are looking to find a partner / supplier to run services on their behalf and offer them immediate savings from day one. Continue reading

Thames flooding flushes out flawed thinking on London data centre location

Time and tide wait for no one. Wise words and all the more so amid the recent flooding experienced up and down the country with even the Thames bursting its banks just a few miles short of central London. If it wasn’t for the Thames Barrier who knows what might have happened? It’s sobering that a fifth of all the 30 year old barrier’s closures took place in the first two months of 2014. Not surprisingly this has sparked fresh calls for the building of a new one should the current one fail through overuse.

When it comes to data centre location, these recent events should serve as a warning to any CIO still intent on going with the flow of conventional wisdom by continuing to take data centre space at premium rates in Docklands – entirely on the floodplain – or the City which is still close enough to be impacted from the inevitable disruption caused. But no matter how much more water needs to go under the bridge until the penny drops, the mandate for any top flight data centre always remains – to mitigate all possible risk to data by ensuring it is protected and out of harm’s way at all times. This must surely include from the reaches of the River Thames.

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Oxford, Cambridge, Swansea and beyond – Developing true partnerships through collaboration

The recent history of higher education has been undeniably turbulent. Change has affected every aspect of the sector; although this presents threats to established institutions, it also presents opportunities. As Managing Director of the largest supplier of administrative technology solutions to the UK sector, one of the biggest opportunities is to collaborate with our higher and further education customers to develop technologies that can help Universities be more efficient, while at the same time deliver better services to the community on campus.

To collaborate effectively we have developed a true ‘partnership’ approach, combining our skill in technology with the innovative minds in education. One recent example of the sort of collaboration that can benefit all stakeholders is between UNIT4 and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The Universities faced considerable research administration challenges – increased competition for research grants, greater reporting for compliance and larger research projects often involving multiple organisations etc. The existing research management systems were not capable of managing the added complexity and volume of work.

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UNIT4 UK raised £77k for The Prince’s Trust in 2013

There are so many worthwhile charities out there and the UNIT4 UK team wanted to channel its enthusiasm and team spirit into giving something back to the communities we all live in. The Prince’s Trust was set up by HRH The Prince of Wales and is our chosen corporate charity. We became a proud patron in 2012 and have not looked back since; through the hard work and commitment to fundraising by so many of our people we raised a staggering £77,000 last year alone.

But why The Prince’s Trust? Well, around one in five young people in the UK are not in work, education or training. Youth unemployment costs the UK economy £10 million a day in lost productivity, while youth crime costs £1 billion every year. The Prince’s Trust addresses this by giving practical and financial support to the young people who need it most. They help develop key skills, confidence and motivation, enabling young people to move into work, education or training. And we wanted to do something positive to help The Trust achieve its objectives and enable change for the young people it works with.

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