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Salford-Liverpool partnership aims to market services


City councils sharing SAP centre of excellence looking to make developments more widely available

Salford and Liverpool City Councils are looking towards taking their joint work on SAP systems out to a broader public sector market.

David Hunter, Salford’s assistant director of ICT, spoke of the plan at a round table discussion on smart cities at the SAP Innovation Forum in London yesterday.

The move marks progress in the partnership between the two councils, launched last year, that has involved the development of a centre of excellence to work on SAP platforms.

“We’re now sharing transformations, sharing process development, sharing assets in terms of a single technology platform for the two cities,” Hunter said. “It gives us the opportunity to create a managed service provision for other cities, for which we are in discussions with one or two. We hope that more and more cities will join the partnership.

“At the moment we are combining the platforms around finance, procurement, asset management, mainly around ERP environments. We are then moving into SAP HANA (the company’s relational database management system for processing heavy volumes of data) and looking to roll it out later in the year.”

Market potential

He spoke of developing shared processes to prevent duplication, and said the partners are looking to take various solutions to market in time. In response to a question from UKAuthority, he said they are thinking of doing this commercially.

Hunter also referred to the partners’ efforts to use the platforms in asset management, develop a self-service app for council employees and emphasised the potential for a smart hub that would make it possible to match the demand for support on a social issue with where it is available in the city or close by.

In addition, he highlighted the potential for a data analytics hub to help the councils focus on early interventions and building digital skills in their communities.

“Those are our biggest challenges, how we can use the technology to give people the direct opportunity to manage their data and manage their opportunities to make the best of their abilities,” he said.

“We’re working with key partners to ensure those technologies and opportunities are being driven into the city, and that residents, especially those of school age, are able to take advantage and develop those skills into careers.”

Image: Salford Town Hall by Jhamez84, public domain through Wikimedia

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