The Highland Council is set to begin a £66 million IT overhaul, naming Fujitsu as preferred bidder for the work.

The five year project, with an optional two year extension, will entail a “complete transformation and modernisation” of the council’s infrastructure, systems and services.

It will also involve the implementation of a new customer relationship management system and a Cisco-based unified communications setup.

There is also the scope for new IT systems to be delivered to schools in the region.

The new setup is expected to be more reliable and scalable, as well as providing better application management. It will be based on thick and thin clients running the new Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.

The council expects the service to deliver £6.8 million savings over the period, principally through “major energy cost savings”. It will also cut the council’s carbon footprint.

Service management will be based on Fujitsu’s Triole and its Sense & Respond service development and improvement methodology. Easier, more flexible and remote working will also result from the changes, it said.

Carolyn Wilson, chair of the Highland Council Resources Committee, said: “This new contract will offer the council and all the staff a number of interesting opportunities for new, improved and flexible ways of working in the future, and allow significant investment in new ICT systems and infrastructure for both corporate and school curriculum ICT.”