LogicaCMG has won a £5.5m deal for a major SAP rollout that is a key part of a wider modernisation programme at Cardiff City Council.
Cardiff is describing the seven-year contract as a "partnership" rather than as outsourcing because much of the work will still be done in-house and no council IT staff are transferring across to the private sector.
The council is currently in the "blueprint" phase of rollout, which involves customising the SAP system around LogicaCMG's local government framework for SAP. From September it will go into the build phase with a go live date set for April 2005.
That will involve the migration of all Cardiff's core financial systems, including general ledger, debtors and creditors as well as a new procurement system, which the council didn't have before.
Crispin O'Connell, chief information and communication technology officer at Cardiff Council, told ZDNet UK's sister site silicon.com: "The e-procurement system will allow us to see what the actual commitment by the authority is at any time."
After that the second phase is the migration of the HR and payroll systems and the implementation of the work management part of SAP, which is due to be finished by April 2006.
O'Connell said ageing legacy systems and the council's wider "Supporting Business" modernisation programme to improve efficiency and deliver better value services were the drivers for the project.
"The general ledger legacy system is a 15-year-old, very robust, batch-based system but it is difficult to extract data in a timely fashion," he said.
Cardiff has also so far managed to avoid any of the union and strike troubles experienced by Swansea and Bradford councils, although there are obviously no staff moving across to LogicaCMG.
"We've always been fairly open in terms of what we've done and consulted with the unions throughout the process," said O'Connell.