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Sliedrecht, the Netherlands, 16 August 2010 – Research among 240 European municipalities, including cities, towns and boroughs, carried out by UNIT4, the world’s leading provider of change-embracing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, shows that the majority of municipalities are unable to make system changes independently. Only 9% say they are able to make required changes independent of external advisors and consultants.

UNIT4 interviewed 240 IT and/or Finance Directors in the Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Norway and Sweden about their back-office systems. The findings revealed that more than 50% of municipalities have at least five different systems from different suppliers to manage their back-office operations. This varies from systems for document management (84% of respondents had one of these), HR systems (72%), payroll (70%) and procurement systems (23%) and planning systems (26%), among others.

Survey respondents indicated that their systems need adapting and changing regularly in response to external factors. 60% of the municipalities questioned, indicated they needed to make changes in response to changing legislation and regulations. 37% said the changes were needed due to procedural changes.

A minority (9%) of respondents said they are able to make required changes to their systems without assistance from external consultants. However, 57% believed it is important or very important to be able to make changes autonomously; 64% mentioned complexity of the systems as a major obstacle to change, followed by cost (56% of respondents) and fear of disruption (43%).

“Local governments are the closest to people and the most highly visible government organizations,” says Thom Rubel, Vice President of Research at IDC Government Insights. “The diversity of services and departments is unmatched in nearly any industry. Therefore local governments need post implementation agility more than any other level of government. Yet they are often the least able to effectively realign IT systems to support it.”

“Local government is heavily impacted by constant change whether that’s change to government legislation, organisational restructuring or procedural change,” said Ton Dobbe, Vice President Product Management at UNIT4. “Without systems that can be changed easily to reflect these pressures, municipalities are suffering from inefficiencies and a negative impact on finances resulting in budget overruns; this on top of the huge fees they are paying to external IT consultants. Reality tells us that the longer it takes to make a financial software change – the greater the disruptive impact to the organisation.”

In March, UNIT4 reported that its customers see 50% time savings for ERP system changes versus competitive systems. Comparing the results of two surveys that UNIT4 conducted over 12 months via outside research companies, changes to Agresso Business World take half (or less) of the time required by other ERP system users. Companies reported that they required more than twice as much help from IT professionals to make changes to their ERP systems; specifically, 47% of the respondents required IT professionals to take the leadership role for changes after the system was deployed, versus just 20% with Agresso Business World.

“This agility combined with the cost savings our local government customers report gives them significant advantage and ensures they deliver a better service,” added Ton Dobbe.

UNIT4 is the foremost business software company in Europe providing solutions that transform the delivery of public services and comprehensively support commercial organisations in their ability to adapt and prosper in rapidly changing environments. The VITA architecture that underpins Agresso Business World is designed specifically to accommodate business change and can reduce or eliminate much of the costly IT spend that many executives have come to take for granted.

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ABOUT UNIT4
UNIT4 is a global business software and services company aimed at helping dynamic organizations to embrace change simply, quickly and cost effectively in a market sector it calls ‘Businesses Living IN Change’ (BLINC)™. The Group incorporates a number of the world’s leading change embracing software brands including Agresso Business World and CODA financial management software.
Agresso Business World is our flagship ERP suite for mid-sized services intensive organizations. It is widely acknowledged for delivering ongoing, post-implementation changes without the typical external IT costs and services that cost firms huge sums of money each year. This is achieved thanks to its powerful VITA™ architecture which is unmatched in the ERP world.

CODA Financials is our award-winning suite of best-of-class financial management software designed to integrate with your industry- and company-specific applications. CODA’s LINK™ architecture sets it apart from ordinary accounting systems by providing a financial information backbone for companies with fast-changing and mixed application environments. It is a global accounting solution for mid-to large sized organizations, offering a “no compromise” approach to financial modeling, process control and application choice.

UNIT4 is a top six mid-market ERP software player globally and the 2nd largest European ERP supplier. With offices in 13 European countries, as well as 6 countries across North America, Asia Pacific and Africa and sales activities in several other countries, a revenue of €379.4 million was realized in 2009. UNIT4 is headquartered in Sliedrecht, the Netherlands. The company has 3,456 employees (31 December 2009).

UNIT4 is listed on Euronext Amsterdam by NYSE Euronext and is included in the Amsterdam Smallcap Index (AScX). For more information on UNIT4 or any of its operating companies, please visit the website at www.unit4.com.

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