Financial Fiasco: Birmingham City Council Takes Center Stage Once Again

Financial Fiasco: Birmingham City Council Takes Center Stage Once Again

in Blog Article by Jeff Hare

Birmingham City Council are once again in the news, and given the severity of the financial situation, it will once again highlight the significant overspend for the failed ERP Cloud implementation. This news is hard to see since ERP implementations typically do not end with massive cost overruns and are not necessarily considered a “failure”. We have seen many governments and commercial entities be successful in their journey to SaaS applications such as ERP/HCM Cloud. These results are not the software’s fault, but the failure of the entity to manage the implementation and partner(s). Some System Integrator (SI) partners are great, and some are not, and the choice of the “RIGHT” SI is even more important than what software solution an organization will purchase.

One significant issue we are seeing with projects is that the award is given to the lowest bidder. SIs often try to be the lowest bidder by scoping out activities that need to be included.  One area that we routinely see scoped out of budget is the customization of roles. A few years ago, we were about the only voice shouting, “organizations should not go live with ERP/HCM Cloud with ANY seeded (not customized) roles!” At the 2023 Ascend conference, we were vindicated by our peers with EVERY presentation. Which were on making sure to scope into projects all customized roles to align with business objectives, reduce risk, and minimize licensing costs. While the article doesn’t specifically point out that this was an issue at Birmingham City Council, it was likely part of the issue. Regardless, it is clear from this article that the SI was NOT held responsible for the project overruns. This is because SIs are best at putting caveats into their contracts. Or better yet, passing the blame onto the customer for the overruns.

If you are currently considering or actively planning to move to ERP/HCM Cloud, you will need to press all SIs. They need to be transparent about what scope they leave out and why. If you’re being told to use some or all seeded roles, you need to continue to search for another SI. Feel free to contact me at if want to discuss this topic further.

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