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Project Turnaround for Global Automotive Retailer and Distributor

April 4, 2018

 

Our customer is a FTSE 250 automotive retailer and distributor with operations in over 30 markets worldwide, and partnerships with the world’s leading OEM groups.  Turnover is in excess of £8bn, employing over 17,000 employees.

 

The Business Challenge

 

Having grown geographically largely through acquisition, our customer operates a diverse set of financial ledger systems across its markets.  Consolidated group reporting was being performed in a legacy EPM tool that was nearing end of support, and no longer met the needs of the business in terms of reporting agility, reliability and performance.

 

Migration to a SAP BPC on HANA group consolidation and reporting solution was in progress.  The project had, however, run into problems and go-live was over nine months late.  The customer was not receiving guidance from their implementation partner on how to turn the project around and, as a result, a go-live date could not be committed to.

 

The impact of this was that the project had lost credibility within the finance community, senior stakeholders had lost confidence in the team’s ability to deliver and the project budget had run over significantly.  All the while, finance users struggled on with the legacy solution.

 

It was at this point that Fidenda's EPM Advisory consultants were engaged.

 

Identifying the Root Cause

 

Fidenda were engaged to perform a short initial engagement.  This established several key findings:

  1. The approach being taken to deploy the solution was unnecessarily complicated.  This was making it impossible to predict effort required to take the system live. 

  2. Several flaws in the solution design were identified that would have meant the solution would not fulfil its desired purpose.

  3. The project plan was out of date and there were differing expectations of scope and timelines across the various project stakeholders.

  4. Project governance was not defined, with no clear project management from either the customer or implementation partner.

 

Building Confidence

 

The first step in restoring confidence in the project was to define and agree a new project plan and scope with the project team and senior stakeholders.  This was achieved by:

  • Proposing changes to the design to both overcome the discovered flaws, whilst enabling a simpler, more effective and more predictable deployment approach.

  • Creating a new project plan that delivered the functionality in sensible stages, rather than in a single ‘big-bang’.  Clarifying the scope to be delivered at each stage of the project.

  • Engaging with Finance and IT to establish which additional resources could assist the project team in expediting delivery.

  • Recommending a new project governance structure, including the provision of dedicated Project Manager.

Confidence returned to the senior stakeholders and timelines were publicly committed to.  The project re-started with a renewed energy and focus.

 

Assured Delivery

 

Having set the strategy, Fidenda were engaged to ensure the execution of the project ran smoothly.  The project was to continue with a team still comprising the customer’s people and technical consultants from the implementation partner.  Fidenda bolstered that with two key resources to ensure success.

 

A dedicated Fidenda Project Manager focused on ensuring that the project plan was adhered to, change management received focus, and challenges that arose were managed effectively and efficiently.

 

In addition, Fidenda ensured the technical delivery by providing a part time solution architect with a history of large SAP BPC project deliveries and turnarounds.

 

The Results

 

The approach taken by Fidenda was critical in restoring confidence of senior stakeholders by taking the project out of escalation.  It reduced the amount of focus they had had to give to the ailing project, freeing them up to focus on other initiatives.

 

The project went live on time and budget, with positive feedback from the new user community. 

 

A quite remarkable turnaround from its state when we were initially engaged!

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