Birmingham City Council is expanding its large SAP deployments by adding an SAP BusinessObjects strategy maangement system, in an attempt to improve performance.

Birmingham, Europe's largest local authority, has begun rolling out SAP BusinessObjects Strategy Management software as the first step in establishing an integrated performance management system across the whole council. The council's early SAP deployments experienced major difficulties, but last year it insisted it had begun making the implementation work successfully.

The council wants to use the new modules to help meet key performance indicators (KPIs) set by the government, and improve its service to residents.

Once the new system is in place, it is anticipated Birmingham will be able to give its employees insight into how well the organisation is doing against its strategy to improve conditions for citizens across key public services, including housing, planning, social care and environmental services.

Visibility into whether a department or project is on track with given objectives can help ensure employees are aware of potential issues and can make timely corrective actions, said the council.

Managers will use the system to access key data from large databases via dashboards. This data will show how the council is doing against KPIs.

Glyn Evans, corporate director of business change at Birmingham City Council, said: “We have made a strategic decision to invest and build an IT landscape with SAP as our key partner." He said performance management information was vital for local government because "it is how we measure our success against our goals, such as turning over vacant council properties to new tenants as quickly as possible".

Evans said he thought Birmingham was a good example of what an organisation can do with software by recognising that success is "not just about implementing the application itself". Rather, he said, it is about using the software as an enabler to change ways of working, and deliver performance and information improvements across a broad scope of operations.

But three years ago, Birmingham and its SAP implementation received a plethora of negative news coverage after the council deployed an SAP e-procurement system that kept crashing - reportedly causing suppliers to send round bailiffs to collect the value of unpaid bills.

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