Edmonton begins e-business transformation

A new SAP e-business platform is just what the city of Edmonton needs to streamline its operations and improve service, officials said Monday.

Starting in September, the city will deploy SAP Canada’s mySAP.com e-business solution, which includes supply chain management, e-procurement and an enterprise portal solution. The process is expected to be complete by 2004 and the software will be used by 1,300 municipal employees.

mySAP.com is a collection of Web-enabled integrated solutions that includes customer relationship management, supply chain management, e-procurement, and plant maintenance functions, said Richard Sherback, team lead for Western Canada at SAP Canada in Calgary, Alta.

“A number of public sector organizations, particularly in Western Canada, are looking at the mySAP.com solution as a foundation for e-government – Web-enabling government solutions,” said Tim Cleveley, Edmonton’s municipal ERP program manager.

The new IT environment, Cleveley noted, is designed to reduce rising operation costs and service overlap.

“We wanted to enhance service delivery and we’re having trouble doing that because we have multiple systems in place that do not talk to each other. The SAP solution is a single application that will help us streamline customer relationship management so we can deal with our citizens in a better manner,” said Cleveley.

The current structure is based on multiple in-house development systems which are difficult to streamline into a common practice, Cleveley said. Preliminary cost analysis concluded that integrating mySAP.com is cheaper than if the city developed its own platform.

“We’re looking at it as a long term partnership for IT solutions for the city of Edmonton. One of the reasons we went to SAP level software is to ensure the system keeps current and we wouldn’t be laden to the R&D charges required to keep current,” Cleveley said.

The public sector has seen massive organizational shifts in the last seven or eight years and mySAP.com will enable Edmonton to shift to a more visible and integrated business model, said Patrick Dunn, vice-president for SAP Canada in Ottawa.

Although the City has been a SAP client since 1994, the solution was primarily a financial system, and the mySAP.com platform provides a more enhanced ERP solution, Cleveley noted.

“What we hope to be doing over the next four years is implementing a maintenance management solution, e-procurement solution, project and asset management, a high-level, strategic reporting tool, and real estate and property management,” Cleveley said.

“The four year time horizon is based on the immediate projects they have identified. This investment is a 25-30 year investment that will roll out in various stages for years to come,” Sherback said.

SAP Canada Inc. in Ottawa, Ont., is at http://www.sap.com.

The City of Edmonton, Alta., is at http://www.gov.edmonton.ab.ca.