Dublin-based technology company Mentec has been awarded a €5m contract to deliver a replacement financial management system for all 16 colleges belonging to the Association of Northern Ireland Colleges (ANIC).
The solution will be delivered as part of a five-year managed services contract and is a key investment by ANIC in further developing the range of services provided to students and employers in Northern Ireland.
“We expect improved financial control and business efficiency and to facilitate greater decentralisation of budgetary control to manager level across the organisation,” said John D’Arcy, chief executive of ANIC.
“We were particularly impressed by Mentec’s project experience in the higher education sector and its ability to provide a solution that addressed our particular needs. Deploying the solution as a managed service will allow our IT staff to focus on areas that add real value to our operations, rather than being tied up with the day-to-day administration of the system,” D’Arcy said.
Mentec was awarded the contract after an extensive selection and tendering process.
The solution is based on the Agresso Business World platform and incorporates core financials, income management, web requisitioning and integration with ANIC’s student administration system.
Administration and support of the solution through a managed services agreement is expected to deliver a significantly lower cost of ownership and improved system performance.
The system will be hosted centrally at BT’s Belfast data centre and will be deployed to over 300 users across ANIC’s 16 member colleges using thin-client technology.
The solution will be piloted in two colleges initially – North Down & Ards Institute in Bangor, and also Castlereagh College, then rolled out to the remainder, with completion of the project expected in early 2007.
Mentec has previously delivered centralised projects of this type in the higher education and healthcare sectors. This approach allows independent institutions, such as member colleges in this case, to share system resources and achieve ongoing savings.
“This project will support the needs of a modern education service, driving efficiencies and facilitating effective information distribution for all levels of staff, management and external parties,” explained Mentec managing director Kevin Haverty.
By John Kennedy
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