Birmingham City Council has claimed it will save £46 million this year after turning round a failing SAP-based system.

The Voyager finance system, which is used for e-procurement including paying bills, crashed repeatedly in the four months after its October 2007 launch and at one point led to a backlog of 20,000 to 30,000 unpaid invoices, it was reported. Angry suppliers sent bailiffs round to the council to reclaim their money, it was reported at the time.

Councillor Paul Tilsley said Voyager was now working, paying over nine in 10 bills within the council’s 30 day target. The system would deliver savings of £625 million by 2018, he claimed.

Voyager is aimed at improving procurement and increasing efficiency. It is part of an overall service transformation at the council, understood to be the largest transformation programme in any local authority in Britain, aimed at delivering £1.5 billion savings through process change.

“No other local authority is committed to such a radical and nationally acclaimed transformation programme,” Tilsley said. Birmingham would become a leader in local government IT and customer services, he said, as a result of the transformation.

Birmngham runs 18,000 desktops, just over 3,000 laptops and 200 Citrix terminals.

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