Leisure giant Whitbread is anticipating IT cost savings of up to 20 per cent by installing an enterprise resource planning system from Oracle.
The project was initially conceived as a mainframe killer, allowing the company to turn off its ageing system and move its updated financial and payroll software across to Unix servers.
The board accepted a business case built on very conservative estimates of business benefits, according to Jonathan Eales, programme manager at Whitbread.
"But if we can keep the project to time and to budget, cost savings of well over 20 per cent should be possible," he said.
But the project is now being taken a stage further, after Whitbread realised that it could drive competitive advantage by including additional modules, and transforming business processes.
Human resources and supply chain modules will now be included in the implementation.
The design phase began in June this year, and IT services firm CSC will begin the building and testing phase early next year.
The system will be implemented across the organisation from June 2003, and is due to be completed by June 2004.
It will first be installed in Whitbread's central offices, and then rolled out to over 1,000 of the company's hotels and leisure facilities.
The Oracle system will introduce standard ways of doing business across the company, and improve visibility within the business, giving greater management control, Eales said.
Although tenders from PeopleSoft and SAP were evaluated, Eales confirmed that Oracle was selected "because it came closest to meeting the needs of all departments".
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