The British Council last week embarked on a four-year contract to roll out an SAP implementation across 220 locations in 109 countries.
The first stage of the rollout, which will eventually cover 6,000 employees across the international organisation, is a replacement of more than 20 legacy systems in the UK.
Peter Holes, programme manager for the British Council, explained that its current systems are standalone and that, while they talk to each other, they are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and do not achieve the required functionality.
"We wanted one integrated business platform that does the job of these many systems," he said.
Although it only began last week the project has been two years in the making.
Holes said that the rollout, which will take a 60-strong team four years to finish, will be done stage by stage in an effort to "de-risk the implementation plan".
The UK platform should be completed by the third quarter of next year.
The British Council will be rolling out SAP for Higher Education and Research, mySAP Financials, mySAP Business Intelligence and a SAP Enterprise Portal, all supported by the SAP NetWeaver platform.
It will be used to manage core finances, planning systems and specific end user applications such as project management systems and general information delivery to the desktop, according to Holes.
The Council also has over 100 teaching centres across the globe which will be managed through a web-enabled front end to also allow students to sign up to and pay for education online.
"The system will have to be tailored for the overseas implementations which may require specific fiscal or statutory requirements," said Holes.
"In different countries we have to recognise cultural ways of working whilst still standardising on a system.
"The solution will reduce administrative burdens on staff so that the organisation can spend more time serving students and connecting people worldwide with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK."
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