In the press - June 2014

01 July 2014

Below are UNIT4’s UK press coverage highlights from June

In with the new as Unit4 refreshes its executive team

Business software vendor UNIT4 has announced a management shake-up following its acquisition by private equity investor Advent International in a $1.6 billion deal that closed in March this year. CEO José Duarte has wielded a new broom that sweeps away the old management board structured around geographic lines and populated by decades-long company insiders. In come five new appointees from European enterprise software and services backgrounds including SAP, ATOS, Software AG and Siemens.

Duarte told diginomica yesterday that the changes had been in the works for some time: “Even before the investment was made, the realignment of the top management was planned. Since we completed the transaction in mid-March we have accelerated on this. We have now pretty much the whole of the team lined up. Now it’s execution time.” Four of the new team have been named today, filling roles heading up global strategy and operations, marketing, sales and services respectively. They will join Duarte on the management board along with Jeremy Roche, CEO of, and the company’s CFO and head of HR.

A CTO has also been recruited and will be named in September, said Duarte: “The organization structure changes from geographically driven to a value driven or client lifecycle chain. I’m a big believer that customer centricity is key for success in any organization. You’ve got to drive accountability around the customer lifecycle. That’s basically what we’re doing.”

Read the full article here

UNIT4 begins to execute on growth strategy

It’s all systems go at UNIT4 as CEO José Duarte utilises the resources available following the Advent purchase and resulting move to private company status to start executing on the goal of becoming bigger and better known. The overall strategy laid out in January is still in play, but now the resources are being visibly applied to deliver on it. One of the most obvious signs is the expansion of the executive management team.   Stephan Sieber (formerly SAP) joins as executive VP for Strategy and Operations; Ivo Totev (formally Software AG) as executive VP Global Marketing; Paul Vogel (from Siemens) as executive VP Global Sales and Gonçalo Leitão (from the SAP practice at Atos and previously SAP) as executive VP Global Services.

Given their backgrounds (i.e. senior execs in much larger companies than UNIT4, and/or companies UNIT4 is winning contracts against) the appointments are a clear statement of competitive and growth intent. However, they are from very traditional companies who are working out how to operate in today’s cloud-centric environment. The absence of any big names from the cloud environment is surprising, although as Duarte points out, UNIT4 can call on the expertise from its SaaS pure-play joint venture FinancialForce, and has recently appointed individuals with cloud experience in other senior management positions.    

UNIT4 has made great strides in the public sector and these appointments show it intends to build on that and make similar progress in the private sector, directly and via partners. It is also recruiting a CTO (who will join the Executive Committee), whose task will be to drive SaaS business model with cloud and mobile at the fore. As Duarte says, these capabilities are pre-conditions for operating in the software market so it is not hanging back in terms of commitment (subscription sales exceeded licence sales during the last financial year .

The top level takeaway is that UNIT4 is ramping up its efforts to disrupt the enterprise software market.

One of country’s largest mental health trusts automates processing of 40,000 invoices per year

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust (AWP), one of the largest NHS trusts of its kind, has significantly streamlined its purchase-to-pay (P2P) processes with V1 document management software integrated into UNIT4 Agresso’s finance system. The Trust, providing large areas of the South West with mental health services and operating from more than 100 locations including prison units and hospital wings, previously relied on finance staff to manually input invoice data from the 40,000 supplier invoices received each year. AWP has now implemented V1’s Capture and PDF Capture to automate the capture of invoice data from both paper and PDF invoices. This has cut the time-consuming manual capture of invoice data by up to 80 per cent and is enabling suppliers to be paid more efficiently.

As a result of implementing the V1 solution, managers, who are based across a wide geographical spread of sites, from Bath and North East Somerset, to Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire, will benefit from improved day to day management of the finance function.

Andrew Russell, Payments Group Leader for AWP, said: “Before purchasing the V1 software, my team was processing invoices manually. With around 40,000 invoices a year it was particularly time consuming for staff, whereas now we have a far more automated P2P process. This is providing major cost benefits in terms of saved man hours. “We chose V1’s software because, being existing users of the company’s BACS payment system, we’d always been happy with the software and the support offered. Having gone through a competitive tending process with three other software providers, we decided that V1 was the right choice for us and the best fit with our UNIT4 Agresso finance system.”

UNIT4 plots growth plans with Cloud ERP and Mobile Apps

UNIT4 is betting investments in cloud computing and mobility can raise its profile in the crowded ERP software market, following its recent move to go private. The company will also focus on becoming a top ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendor for services industries and plans to continue investing in, its joint venture with, according to a statement Thursday. The company also announced a number of executive appointments. Former SAP executive Stephan Sieber has been named executive Vice President of Strategy and Operations. The company appointed Ivo Totev to the position of Vice President Global Marketing and Paul Vogel to executive Vice President of Global Sales.

Read the full article here

National Audit Office to rip out Oracle ERP system - Analyst suggests competitors like UNIT4 could be an option
ComputerWorld UK

The National Audit Office is looking to replace its existing Oracle enterprise resource planning system.

The NAO said it was inviting expressions of interest from potential bidders to provide a replacement for its existing Oracle e-Business Suite system, with additional areas of functionality like training. Through a tendering document the NAO said the five-year contract would be worth in the region of £1 million, and may be extended to cover customer relationship management. The ERP system will include accounting, financial analysis, time accounting and self-service-human resources, performance management, budgeting, payroll, e-procurement, training management and software development services.

Around 1,000 staff will need some access to the functionality. They are primarily based in the London office but around 100 staff work in the Newcastle office. Staff have the capability to work remotely via secure connections to the NAO's network. The NAO requires an annual renewal contract over five years, with a one year optional extension. The deal would include design and installation and training.

TechMarketView analyst Angela Eager said of the contract: "The NAO is no doubt acting on initiatives to generate sustainable savings, and the tender could be an attractive proposition for alternative ERP providers like UNIT4."

A problem shared

The notion of sharing has become fundamental to the UK Government’s strategy to cut costs. While shared services is far from a new concept in both the public and private sectors, the past few years have seen new momentum and lateral thinking at all levels of government. The recently extended One Public Estate programme, for example, is exploring opportunities for institutions - from blue light organisations to local authorities - to slash the costs associated with their property estates by sharing offices. While in central government, the Cabinet Office’s far-reaching Next Generation Shared Services (NGSS) strategy aims to achieve up to £600m of savings per year by establishing independent back-office shared service centres.

There are encouraging signs at a local level, too. Research conducted earlier this year by business software company UNIT4 found that 63% of local government managers identified shared services as a priority for reducing costs.

Read the full article here  

New evidence confirms coding burden of top 4 ERP solutions

UNIT4, the global leader in software that supports business change, today released new user-based evidence collected by technology management consulting firm Eval-Source  proving that its Agresso enterprise resource planning (ERP) architectural capabilities continue to provide substantial advantages for ambitious, rapidly-changing organisations, compared to other leading ERP software.

The report examines service-based organisations that consolidate to a single system and the system’s ability to manage business change post-implementation for areas including governmental regulations and compliance (GRC), reorganisation and restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, business process change and financial management-driven change.

The evidence, collected from Microsoft Dynamics AX, SAP Enterprise Suite, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Fusion and UNIT4 Agresso users, who each certified that they “clearly understood the nature of the questions,” and had faced these change situations previously, shows substantial architectural differences between the ERP offerings of the vendors.

Read the full article here


Nobel winners say scientific discovery virtually impossible due to funding bureaucracy
Daily Telegraph 

Anwen Robinson commented on article:

I am Managing Director of a business software firm that provides administration software to research organisations. In my experience talking to institutions there has been a huge increase of administration that is not limited to the peer preview process but is in addition - pre-award management, full economic costing, post award management, financial management, human resources management and more…..

In many instances this means that highly skilled researchers, and back room staff, are spending too much time on administration. Not only are potential discoveries being impacted, the situation also adds up to greater costs and time being wasted trying to find information.

There has to be a balance between enforcing quality measures and allowing innovation, finding the right mix will be difficult. Until that time however technology can help make this complex process simpler, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have written about simplifying the complex costing and pricing process here:

Read the full article and comments here



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