The largest Local Council in the UK saves £1.5m annually by replacing its SAP Legacy System with Oracle Cloud

About the Client

Birmingham City Council (BCC) is the largest Local Authority in the UK & Europe. It is responsible for the governance of Birmingham city in England and is the chosen venue for the Commonwealth Games, 2022. With a population of over 1 million residents and an annual budget of £820m, it employs and provides HR / Payroll services to around 42k people. 

Products: Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle SCM Cloud, Oracle HCM Cloud, Oracle EPM Cloud, Oracle PaaS Cloud

Legacy system migration: SAP to Oracle Cloud 

Industry: Public Sector 

Project Summary

Since 1999, Birmingham City Council has been using SAP for its Finance, HCM and Payroll solutions. It was managed and delivered to the Authority through a shared function and joint venture with Capita, known as Service Birmingham. 

The legacy platform was costly, extremely outdated, and heavily customised, reducing the business agility and ability of the organisation to grow. It was unable to meet the BCC’s requisites in terms of intuitiveness, data sourcing, reporting, compliances, and invoicing, among others. The decision to migrate from SAP to Oracle Cloud solution was, thus, an absolute necessity for them. 

As part of this transformation, the Birmingham City Council has achieved several milestones during the implementation and its usage: 

  • BCC is the first Council to adopt and implement Oracle’s multiple assignment level sickness process offering in the UK region. 

  • BCC is the first Council in which 100% Shared Services has been implemented to provide access to school bursars, headteachers, and form authorisers by adhering to the security requirements. 

  • All local councils within the West Midlands region advertise their jobs in the West Midlands job portal (WMJobs). Standard Oracle products provide integration with limited job portals like LinkedIn, etc., and do not support WMJobs. Mastek collaborated with teams from BCC, eQuest & WMJobs to integrate WMJobs into the implemented Oracle solution. 

  • To meet its security requirements, Birmingham City Council also became the first Council for which Multiple Assignment Security (MAS) has been implemented. 

Challenges

The legacy SAP solution at BCC hosted a raft of business processes with HR, Finance, and Procurement at its core. It had been heavily customised for usage, yet they did not communicate well with one another. 

The SAP solutions’ feedback from business and corporate users provided during the review suggested: 

  • The system was not intuitive and provided a poor user experience, making it difficult for all. 

  • The regular users had incorporated services to use and extract management information, making it highly customised, yet not in-sync with other business entities. 

  • It did not provide a single version of the truth as the information relating to the HR did not align with that in the Finance structures – leading to a significant lack of confidence in the reports generated and a substantial amount of off-system data manipulation. 

  • The system was unable to support agile working model. 

  • Required manual intervention to carry out standard processes such as current budget status and commitments.

Solution

As Oracle Cloud offered the depth and breadth of the Council’s requirements, it was their platform of choice. BCC chose to invest in a fully integrated system with a single source of truth between the HCM and the financial structures of the organisation. This meant a major overhaul to their back-office that included implementation of Oracle ERP Cloud (Finance & SCM) and HCM (HR & Payroll), EPM – PBCS, OIC, and, PaaS Solutions. With several third-party system (Inbound and Outbound) integrations and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) options as its inclusion, the solution helped the Council achieve all its unique business needs. 

The Birmingham City Council’s administration has been working on austerity measures to support its growth & development strategies. In line with these goals and the Oracle Solution at hand, the Council has planned savings to the tune of £10.9 Mn over a 10-year period with annual savings of approximately £1.5 Mn p.a. with Oracle Cloud transformation.

Outcomes

  • Being a cloud transformation program, it will benefit BCC as a whole with enhanced efficiencies within the HR, Payroll, Finance, and Purchasing functions. 

  • The program enables wider financial management improvements in the BCC, aligned with CIPFA recommendations. 

  • A single data model across all the modules ensures a ‘single source of the truth’ for the Council allowing accurate and informative reporting with a 360-degree view of the business processes involved. 

  • The high-performing Oracle Cloud solution will improve database operations, reducing administrative costs, and enabling the Council to focus more on enhancing its services. 

  • Customised reports and their accurate reconciliation with General Ledger will help the Council to deliver closure reports efficiently in less time and effort. 

  • Real-time analytics helps the Council’s employees to quickly access data and manage their analysis, helping with making informed decisions. 

  • Best practice and automation-led processes to help the Council meets compliance standards while reducing the stress on its internal IT resources. 

  • Infrastructure security is constantly updated. 

  • Customised integration with WMJobs to help the Council post its openings on the preferred UK job portal with ease. 

  • Self-service functionality for employees and managers to improve user experience and enhance the system’s usability for the public, Council’s employees as well as its suppliers.