SAP4i Business Project Manager and Change Manager
This assignment was carried out for the Credendo company which carries out activities are in the insurance sector. Lasting 2 years, the objective of this assignment was to manage the implementation of SAP from a business perspective. Indeed, this digital transformation involved a notable change in ways of working, both in Belgium and the Czech Republic. It was therefore necessary to prepare the company for the SAP launch, set up the NOM (New Operating Model), and manage any resulting changes. At the same time as this project, we were entrusted with other responsibilities, such as setting up a Helpdesk for customer requests, communicating the launch of the extranet, and carrying out the pre-analysis for implementing an e-learning system.
The main aim of this project was to take the lead in change management. Indeed, the project had been initiated several years earlier and the company had been required to face many decision- making and organisational challenges. This project presented difficulties which impacted employee involvement. In order to effectively implement the process of change management, ADKAR methodology was used.
Change agents had already been appointed in each department. Representing key players for the project, they were the main point of contact for all questions: feature implementation, tests, "business" contractors, training, etc. The priority was therefore to motivate them to finalise the project and involve them in the concept of change. Collective working groups, as well as face-to-face meetings, were therefore organised. The purpose of these was to identify changes and assess their impact on internal procedures and job descriptions and also define each individual’s responsibilities. The change agents thus acted as key leaders, capable of driving change within their respective departments.
In addition, as this digital transformation impacted each individual company employee, a special effort was put in place to encourage communication. Emails, newsletters, intranet, meetings, communication networks; efforts mere made to ensure that all these elements were activated to improve project visibility. The objective being to create enthusiasm around the change, project transparency and effectively prepare the SAP Go-Live (or launch).
NOM - New Operating Model
The implementation of SAP also involved a New Operating Model (NOM). The objective was to encourage interaction between the Belgian and Czech entities and to promote exchanges.
Initially, the main task was to work with the department directors of the 2 entities in order to define the new procedures while respecting the legal, technical, and commercial constraints. This general vision was then consolidated in a document summarising all the elements. This document was then shared with the change agents who were required to check its feasibility. Depending on the feedback, the procedures were then refined in order to be able to find solutions to the technical and human constraints. While changes in the technical implementation of SAP may have been necessary, certain obstacles were circumvented by the implementation of manual procedures.
All new manual and technical procedures were documented as part of the change management and training preparation.
The complexity of this project mainly centred around aligning the technical implementation with the business. In order to best prepare for this “go-live,” a detailed schedule was put in place. While the technical implementation part remained at a general level, the complexity was to align all the technical steps with the business constraints and to better manage the schedule of the numerous stakeholders. Using detailed retro-planning, it was necessary to identify and incorporate all the key dates for training management, procedure revision (NOM), communication around the change and SAP launch without forgetting the importance of information and customer management. The SAP launch was accompanied by the launch of an extranet for customers.
Finally, the challenge also lay in the involvement and coordination of a large number of stakeholders: external suppliers, IT, departments in Belgium and the Czech Republic, not to mention the various local offices located throughout Europe. It was not just one project but a multitude of projects that needed to fit together and be aligned. It was therefore necessary to ensure that everyone knew what to do and when. As a result, planning proved to be crucial to the project’s success.
The SAP launch was accompanied by a significant change in ways of working. It was therefore necessary to ensure that each person in the company received appropriate training and that they knew how to manage their tasks after the launch of the system. It was therefore a question of organising the training of more than 450 people, during the COVID period, across several countries. In collaboration with managers and change agents, working groups were created and a detailed schedule put in place. It was a matter of knowing exactly who
was going to receive what training and when. It was also necessary to manage instances where people had to follow several training courses.
Since the training was provided by in-house personnel, coaching sessions, in collaboration with the Human Resources department, were set up. Their aim? To ensure that all training followed a framework and was similar from one department to another. It was also necessary for trainers to be comfortable with their presentations and
the way they delivered courses.
Depending on the individual department, training courses ranged from a few hours to several weeks in duration.Finally, again in collaboration with Human Resources, a tracking
system was put in place so that they could know exactly who had received training, when, where and for how many days.
Customer communication for the launch of the extranet and Helpdesk
As previously mentioned, the SAP launch also involved a crucial change for customers: the implementation of an extranet (Credendo Online). Requests were previously handled by email or telephone and the goal was to now centralise everything in SAP via the extranet. From invoicing to insurance claims and risk analysis, all requests had to be made via the extranet. It was therefore necessary to inform customers and train them in the use of Credendo Online. To facilitate learning, videos were set up with the help of an external partner.
Eleven videos subtitled in 8 languages were subsequently produced and they addressed the major themes of the extranet. In order to share the videos, a newsletter system was set up. As the sales department is the main point of contact for customers, an extra effort was put in place to prepare them. Specific training and Power Point materials were also made available so they could inform customers upstream. Once again the planning was crucial since each stage of the communication was defined according to the launch date.
Finally, since the launch of the extranet involved thousands of users, it was necessary to ensure that the company had the necessary structure to handle customer calls and requests. Specific customer service was therefore set up by telephone using a ticketing system. Covering the 8 customer languages , the agents were trained to answer common questions. From simple access (login and password) to the functionalities of the extranet site, the objective was to cover as many scenarios as possible. Agents received training and standardised responses were prepared. The customer service ticketing system was implemented on top of the company's existing one. Thus, if an agent was faced with a technical problem, they could submit their request directly to the IT department without having to create a new ticket. The objective was to standardise and optimise internal procedures and not waste time copying and pasting information.
As the launch of such a project is not without risks, a risk communication was put in place to prepare for any eventuality. Internal communication aimed at customers, the objective was to plan the messages in 8 languages, which would then be broadcast in the event of an incident. Whether by email, intranet, or newsletters, the objective was to inform users as well and as quickly as possible.
Challenges and opportunities
A real technical and logistical challenge, this project presented many challenges that made this mission exciting. Involving the digital transformation of an entire company, the main challenge was to take on the current project and understand (in a very short period of time) the main functionalities and the problems encountered. It also required
leading the teams on the business side.
In addition to defining priorities, planning was essential, and it was therefore necessary to coordinate a very large number of employees. It was necessary to ensure that all the steps were anticipated, defined, and clearly understood, whether that be for IT, external suppliers, different internal departments, foreign entities, or customers.
Finally, as the company was undergoing a complete digital transformation, the change management part was essential. While the ADKAR methodology made it possible to lay the foundations for this change management, the human side took over and made it possible to know more about individuals but also discover a new sector of activity: export risk insurance.
At the end of the mission and in parallel with the SAP project, a small project was managed in collaboration with Human Resources. Indeed, at the beginning of the project, the training had to be given face-to-face. However, the COVID period had arrived, and it was therefore necessary to completely rethink the training system and consider doing it online. Noticing that there was no e-learning system already in place, it became necessary to launch a new project to fill the void. Having already worked on online course systems during previous professional projects, it therefore seemed obvious to work towards defining this
Since Credendo is a public service company, all new services have to be put out to tender. After surveying the market to find out the latest news in terms of e-learning, an analysis and definition of needs was carried out in order to draft the tender document. Finally, a general schedule was put in place to give an idea about the duration and implementation of the project.
To summarise this mission:
Managing the implementation of SAP4i, from a business perspective,
and across the different entities (Brussels, Prague, and Moscow):
- Change management
- Coordinating and participating in the deployment of the new product and organisation (New Operating Model) across different departments and entities
- Facilitating sessions to align procedures, organisation, and people’s responsibilities. Analysing the impact of the SAP implementation on company organisation.
- Managing internal and external resources in order to keep to the project schedule
- Defining and organising the training plan across the different entities around the world. Coaching and managing trainers
- Managing communication related to the launch of the project (videos, support for customers, newsletters, etc.)
E-learning / online training project manager:
- Defining the needs and functionalities for the implementation of a new tool for online training. Creating the tender document
- Contacting and selecting providers
- Creating a schedule
Methodologies: ADKAR, PMP and Agile
Technology and software: ServiceNow, PlanView, SAP, MDG and SalesForce
Online e-marketing/communication: videos, newsletters.