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Bristol, UK., September 27, 2010 – UNIT4 Business Software Limited, the UK division of UNIT4, the world’s leading provider of ERP for fast changing organisations, today announced that Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Hereford Hospitals Trust are to implement UNIT4’s Local Government Platform based on its unmatched Agresso Business World ERP suite, to enable the first cross-sector shared services in the UK. The deal is worth £1.5m in software and services and could pave the way for public sector shared IT projects that deliver vast annual savings.

The project, which will see local government and health bodies share back office services, will enable closer collaboration to improve services and deliver expected savings of £2.7 million pounds annually. The UNIT4 platform will provide integrated business support across Finance, e-Procurement, Human Resources, Payroll, Service Orders, Service Agreements, e-Invoicing, Scanning, Supplier and Contract Management.

UNIT4 was the unanimous choice of the 40 members of a selection panel that included representation from procurement, the business, the project team, IT and the Board of Directors from the Council and PCT.  They decided UNIT4’s local government experience, combined with the adaptable Agresso Business World software, was the only solution that could accommodate the nuances of both local government and health. Also key to the decision was that UNIT4 could provide all the functionality Herefordshire required with much lower initial implementation and ongoing maintenance costs than its main competitor and incumbent in the ICT department, SAP.

UNIT4’s local government platform incorporates the Agresso Business World ERP suite, which is specifically tailored for local government and is designed to allow fast, ongoing post-implementation changes without the typical external IT costs and services that can result in considerable year-on-year investment. The new platform will therefore help Herefordshire respond to change and adapt to the considerable challenges it now faces as a public sector organisation.

All three organisations now operate within the same geographic boundaries and the shared services project reflects the nationwide pilots that seek to improve collaboration between public sector organisations and the value delivered to citizens known as the “Total Place Agenda”. The new platform will be aligned to this, allowing greater visibility and cooperation across common processes. For procurement this will mean greater economies of scale with improved buyer power and less administration. For similar business or social objectives, such as a drive to reduce smoking across the county, executives spanning each organisation will have clear visibility of the same information on the cost and success of individual initiatives, allowing future resources to be optimised accordingly.

Darren Hunt, Sales and Marketing Director for UNIT4 said, “This agreement demonstrates that the flexibility of our solution is ideally placed to deliver successful cross public sector shared services with a lower cost of ownership to the client. This is a ground-breaking project and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Hereford to support their transformation agenda.”

Anwen Robinson, Managing Director for UNIT4 Business Software pointed out the significance of the project, “I think in years to come this undertaking will be seen as a turning point in the way local services are managed. We believe local agencies should be able to adapt their business model quickly to changing circumstances and not have to worry about managing technology change. This project will pave the way for other public sector organisations in the UK to considerably improve services and the value provided to the taxpayer, while reducing costs.”