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History of Success of ABS Company

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    HEC006 Volume 4 Issue 1 March 2006 An ERP Story: Background (A) Case prepared by Professors Carmen BERNIER and Vital ROY, as well as Eric BRUNELLE Business Context In 1950, when the general insurance company Aux Bons Soins (ABS) was in its early days, it offered a full range of general insurance products for individuals residing in the province of Quebec. Over the years, Canada has seen a consolidation of its general insurance industry. Three years ago, ABS acquired the insurance company General Maritime Protection, serving Eastern Canada.

    Last year, ABS seized an opportunity to conquer Western Canada’s market by acquiring Western General Insurance in Calgary. These acquisitions positioned ABS as a major panCanadian insurer. To date, these three companies have continued to function autonomously. Six months ago, management at ABS announced that it was bringing these three original companies under a single legal entity to form ABS Canada. Jean Roberge was appointed VicePresident of Information Technologies Management and was mandated to develop a strategic IT plan.

    During the annual strategic planning meeting of the management committee, held recently in Calgary, all of the committee members were pleased to see that the company and its two subsidiaries were in a good position to plan an aggressive strategy for sales growth. This is the context in which Jean Roberge recently presented a three-year strategic plan for the development of information systems and technologies. The plan, developed by a team of internal collaborators from the three original companies with the support of consultants, was officially presented and approved at the annual management meeting held in Calgary in March 2009.

    The main recommendation of the plan is to provide ABS Canada with an integrated management system and processes that could be shared by the three constituent entities for financial management, human resource management as well as sales and An ERP Story: Background (A) marketing management. In particular, the team of experts that worked on the IT plan recommend the acquisition of the ABC software package – specifically, the modules for finance and accounting, human resources and sales.

    Current Systems and Processes Since the reorganization of the three original companies under the new company ABS Canada, each company has continued to operate with its own information processes and systems. Gradually, the controllers and vice-presidents of finance of each entity began to consider how they could consolidate the accounting aspects and financial statements of ABS Canada. Similarly, the vice-presidents of human resources met several times to begin harmonizing human resource management policies and practices.

    Currently, a great deal of manual work is required to extract information from the systems of the various companies and to prepare consolidated management reports that provide an accurate picture of the financial and human resources of the new ABS entity. As for sales and marketing, efforts to consolidate data have proved very difficult due to the diversity and quantity of information available in the respective systems of the three original companies. The development of a strategic IT plan led to an analysis of the current situation and a discussion of the desired situation for the new ABS Canada entity.

    In terms of information systems, the following observations were made: Element Applications Current problem ?? Incompatible in terms of Desired situation ?? Identical functionalities for all functionality and architecture: no possibility of data exchange between systems;? ?? Redundant applications and nonoptimal maintenance of various systems based on different technologies.? ABS components and integrated applications that enable data exchange;? ?? Simplification of system maintenance and architecture in order to group original IT functions into a single IT function and achieve better management of costs, expertise and use of IT potential.?

    Consistent and accessible in real time. Data The definition of data differs according to the original company (for example, the customer identification data retained is not the same in all of the systems). Differ according to the application and the original company. Interfaces Similar for all applications, facilitating employee mobility. An ERP Story: Background (A) In terms of business processes, the following observations were made: Element Accounting and financial processes Current problem Processes are specific to the operations of the three original companies.

    Desired situation Harmonization of accounting and financial processes: ? standardized end-of-period processing; ? accelerated processing cycles by eliminating duplication and manual verification; ? consolidation of the three companies into one in accordance with provincial and Canadian regulatory requirements; ? reports for tactical and strategic financial management rather than purely operational. Human resource management processes Processes are specific to the operations of the three original companies. Moreover, the two acquired companies’ processes are inefficient due to their obsolescence and strictly operational style.

    The strategic vision of HR management as a company asset is not part of the current processes, which make little use of IT potential. Processes are specific to the operations of the three original companies and correspond to a local vision of the market. Harmonization of HR management processes: ? redefining the human resources management approach of the new ABS entity; ? adding activities such as skill management, skill development and mobility; ? improving process efficiency. Harmonization of HR management processes involving: ? creating an integrated marketing vision for the new ABS entity; ? mproving process efficiency by increased use of Web potential. Sales and marketing management processes The Decision to Launch the IMSP Project In the conclusion to his presentation of the IT strategic plan to the management committee, Jean Roberge stressed the unique potential of an integrated management system for the development of ABS Canada. He pointed out that managers at all levels as well as senior management could track in real time the financial and marketing progress of the growth plan for the entire company, from both a cost and profit perspective. Moreover, this system enables proactive decision-making

    An ERP Story: Background (A) that takes into account the company’s global financial picture as well as its human resource potential, which are key to the success of any service-oriented company. Therefore, decision-makers can and must concentrate on the more lucrative activities or those that are the most important strategically in terms of short- and medium-term growth. Lastly, a shared management system for marketing initiatives and financial and human resources will enable the implementation of a more efficient mode of operation by promoting better use of expertise throughout the company.

    The forecasted financial benefits of the project are reduced operating costs in the order of 10%, which could be achieved at the end of the second year following implementation of the new system. The total cost of the project is evaluated at $50 million spread out over the duration of the project, estimated at 24 months. A vanilla implementation strategy is planned, which means minimum changes to the software package (if possible, no changes at all) and standardization of the processes of the new ABS entity, based on the processes inspired by best practices and proposed by ABC.

    Moreover, the system would be delivered in three phases: 12 months for the finance, accounting and auditing module; 18 months for the human resource module; and 24 months for the sales and distribution module. On the basis of these advantages and this vision of IT aligned with business objectives, the management committee that met in Calgary unanimously approved the recommendation to launch the Integrated Management System and Processes (IMSP) project.

    Back in Montreal, Jean Roberge is very pleased with the support of the management committee. From his perspective, the potential of an integrated software package will pave the way for the true integration of the information systems and technologies at ABS Canada. This will make it easier for him to re-engineer the main management systems (finance/accounting, human resources, marketing) of the three companies, while preserving specific applications that give the company a clear competitive edge.

    In fact, interfaces can be developed between ABC’s modules and the company’s legacy systems that the company wishes to preserve. Moreover, this technological renewal includes a systematic review of various disparate, and sometimes obsolete, processes, in favour of better business practices. This exercise should lead to real progress in the company’s practices, both in terms of its business practices and skills. This will help ABS to maximize its IT potential so that it can do business throughout Canada and North America.

    With the adoption of a new integrated software package, Jean Roberge is aware that the IT function he is managing is profoundly changing his role, from the development of applications to the flexible and rapid delivery of technological software solutions. The IT professionals at ABS are concerned about the change in direction of the IT department. Jean Roberge believes that these changes in the nature of the IT function will present several new challenges. Already hard at work in his new functions, he knows that he cannot manage the ERP project single-handedly despite its importance for the company.

    He must quickly find a project leader who has the skills and experience to lead such an important project. The Search for a Project Manager Jean Roberge understands the enormous importance of ABS Canada’s first major IT project. Its success is crucial in order to establish his credibility as a manager and in his new IT function. An ERP Story: Background (A) Selecting a project leader is therefore extremely important. For Mr. Roberge, the ideal candidate for this position should master the ABC software package and have excellent knowledge of the systems being replaced and their functionalities.

    This candidate should also be able to exercise his or her authority over the project team and have enough experience managing large-scale projects to stay within the budgets and schedules set out by management. Aware that the company does not have all the skills needed to take up the challenges that lie ahead, Mr. Roberge has asked Francois Caron, from the firm GTI, a preferred supplier of ABS for 10 years, to meet with him. Mr. Caron is a seasoned consultant who has been the technical expert, analyst and project leader on several development and implementation projects of financial and insurance systems over the last 20 years.

    He is currently the vice-president of business development at GTI and has been in charge of the ABS Canada account for six years. He regularly meets with the IT manager of ABS to discuss the company’s changing needs as well as IT trends in the insurance industry. He asks Luc Martin, an expert in the delivery of ABC solutions, to join him for the meeting with Jean Roberge. The following afternoon, Jean Roberge presents the new IT direction of ABS Canada to Francois Caron and Luc Martin. He discusses in more detail the urgent need to find a suitable project leader for this major IMSP project.

    Jean Roberge believes that the IT function should assume ownership of the project, since the proper technical functioning of this complex software package will ensure its success. Moreover, he expects that the software package will be implemented within the set timeframe and budget. With regard to employee adaptation to the new system, he is confident that an effective and well-targeted training plan will allow employees to quickly understand the system and resume their productivity. This is not the first time the company is introducing a new information system.

    Employees expect to have to change the way they do their work since the three companies are being merged into one. However, the main change will be a new software package that users will have to learn. In terms of project management, Jean Roberge stresses the fact that management expects compliance with the set budget and schedule. He hopes that the project leader will prioritize the quality of the product and effective management of its development. Since the project team should, in his opinion, be comprised primarily of IT specialists, a homogeneous team like this will require a project leader with extensive technical knowledge.

    Moreover, if the project is to stay on schedule, Jean Roberge considers it crucial that the project leader exercise firm authority in order to quickly resolve any conflict between the parties involved in the project. Lastly, Mr. Roberge plans to lend strong support to this project as he has always done for other IT projects, well aware that proper follow-up and a lot of technical support will be needed to ensure the project’s success. He asks Francois Caron to recommend three qualified candidates for the management of the IMSP project.

    The next day, Francois Caron and Luc Martin meet to discuss their meeting with Jean Roberge. They discuss his expectations and examine the following points: An ERP Story: Background (A) Questions: 2. What are the project’s main characteristics and challenges identified by Jean Roberge? 1. In your opinion, does the project have other characteristics or challenges that Jean Roberge did not identify that should also be taken into account? HEC007 Volume 4 Issue 1 March 2006 Choosing a Project Leader (B) Case prepared by Professors Carmen BERNIER and Vital ROY, as well as Eric BRUNELLE

    Choosing a Project Leader A few days later, Francois Caron, the account manager in charge of the relationship with the client, and Luc Martin, in charge of supervising the delivery of the mandate to the client, meet again with Mr. Roberge to propose, as planned, the candidacy of three project leaders capable of fulfilling his expectations and needs. Before submitting the candidates’ curriculum vitaes to Mr. Roberge, the consultants discuss the specific context of the project at ABS Canada, as part of a brief presentation they have prepared. Jean Roberge is impressed by the presentation.

    But, judging from his comments and questions, he is still very concerned about finding a project leader with solid expertise and in-depth knowledge of the ABC software package. Although he is a little surprised by some of the ideas put forth in the consultants’ presentation, Jean Roberge is pleased to see that several projects similar in nature and scope to the one planned at ABS Canada have been successfully implemented in other businesses with the support of the consulting firm, as proven by the candidates’ portfolios and their firm’s previous achievements in the area of deployment of ABC solutions.

    After the meeting, Jean Roberge carefully reads each of the three curriculum vitaes and reviews the strong points of the presentation and the discussion with the consultants. Who should he choose? Choosing a Project Leader (B) Question: 1. In your opinion, what should be the key points in the consultants’ presentation to Jean Roberge? 2.

    Jean Roberge has asked you to help him review each of the three curriculum vitaes in the appendices and to formulate your recommendations in accordance with the needs of ABS Canada. Of course, you must justify your response, while taking into account Mr. Roberge’s point of view, which he expresses as follows: I had imagined the role of project leader as centred more on technological solutions. In my experience, technical people are rarely interested in the soft organizational dimensions of IT projects.

    I don’t think organizational questions should be too problematic given ABS Canada’s extensive experience in systems implementation. Our main challenge is that we are not very familiar with the ABC software package and we need to act fast. We strongly suggest that you prepare an appendix to your presentation containing a list of questions that you would like to ask the candidates in the event that Mr. Roberge decides to meet with them. An ERP Story: Choosing a Project Leader (B) Appendix 1 Curriculum Vitae of Candidate A for the Position of Project Leader Career profile Mr.

    A has over 12 years experience working for large service and R&D companies in the private and public sectors in various fields including IT, operations, quality assurance, continuous process improvement and labour relations in the private and parapublic sectors. Over the last eight years, he participated in several ABC development and implementation projects as a project manager. His key skills are project management, procurement, change management, business process reengineering, process re-engineering, knowledge management, IT project management office and business development. Types of intervention ? Management consulting ?

    Process analysis ? Needs analysis ? Organizational impact assessment ? Strategic planning ? Technical change management ? Project management ? Systems integration ? Contingency and succession planning ? Systems conversion and interface ? IT operations ? Auditing Skills Business sector: Equipment and environments: Database: Tools: Methodologies: Software packages and solutions: Media, aerospace, government services Windows 2000, Windows NT Oracle MS Office 2000 Suite, Visio, FrontPage, Lotus Notes, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Netscape SHL Transform, CGEY e-Speed ABC Education 1990 Bachelor’s in business computing Universite de Sherbrooke

    Upgrading 2001 2000 1999 1998 ABC IMPLEMENTATION ABC CertificationCC Various project management courses ABC START CBT, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young ABC Academy (Boston) SHL, EDS and CGEY ABC Canada (Montreal) An ERP Story: Choosing a Project Leader (B) Appendix 1 Curriculum Vitae of Candidate A for the Position of Project Leader (cont’d) Mr. A is the project manager for the implementation of ABC (FI, CO, SD, MM, PM) and is responsible for all deliverables and all of the activities carried out by a 24-member team during various phases, including project preparation and planning, overall design, execution, final preparation and deployment.

    Implementation was carried out in ASP (application service provider) mode. In addition to overseeing medical-administrative processes, he is also in charge of change management deliverables and the training of end users. To date, the client has been very satisfied with his services. Environment: ABC, Windows Novel, Oracle, MS Office 1998, Explorer Large service enterprise He was the project manager for the implementation of ABC (FI, CO, PA, MM, SM, SD, PS and HR) and was responsible for all deliverables and all of the activities carried out by a 23-member team during the project preparation and planning stages as well as overall design.

    He shared these responsibilities with the client’s project manager. He was also responsible for managing a $4. 5 million budget. According to the client, the project, which involved 400 users and required the re-engineering of several business processes, complex interfaces and conversions, progressed very well. At the end of the overall design, the client decided to delay the project and prioritize the implementation of the ABC Human Resources and Payroll project.

    This project will be necessary once the ABC project has been completed, sometime around September 1, 2002. Environment: ABC, Windows NT, Oracle, Remedy, MS Office 2000 Suite, Netscape Large media enterprise As project manager, he oversaw the review of strategy, roles and responsibilities of the ABC support department. His recommendations were designed to improve user services, ABC user rates and the return on investment. Environment: ABC (FI-CO, MM, PS, BW modules), Windows NT, Oracle, Remedy, MS Office 2000 Suite, Outlook An ERP Story: Choosing a Project Leader (B)

    Appendix 2 Curriculum Vitae of Candidate B for the Position of Project Leader Career profile Mr. B is a senior consultant in project management with close to nine years experience in information technologies and a master’s degree in operations and decision systems. His career consists of managing large-scale development projects. His profile, firmly rooted in respect for objectives, effective management of client relations and teamwork, has brought success to all of the projects he has led, the appreciation of his clients and the respect of his peers.

    He has successfully led and recovered a number of projects in various industries, including food distribution, finance, insurance, pulp and paper, energy and government. During the course of his mandates, he has developed and acquired the following strengths: planning and organization, budget maintenance and justification, client follow-up and project leadership. Types of intervention ? Project management ? Functional architecture ? ? Skills Business sectors: Food distribution, financial services, pulp and paper, government, electricity and insurance Project control and recovery Technical consulting

    Equipment and environments: AS400, Windows 95/NT, VAX/VMS – Alpha, CICS, NOS, MVS, VSAM, JCL, UNIX, Cyber, IBM, TSO/ISPF, IDD, DMLO, OS/2, Unisys 80, TIP 30, HP-3000, AMDAHL AB+, COBOL II et 85, PL1, Fortran, C, C++, Visual Basic, Speedware, Excelerator, Image, Pascal DB2, MS Access, Sybase, Open Ingres, IDMS/DB, Total, SGBD Turbo-Image, dBASE III+ and IV ABC, Cincom Lotus Notes, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Stairs, SDFII, Playback, File-AID, Panvalet, Clist, Debug, Intertest, Librairian, TQL, GALO, Samna, Lotus 123 Concert, SILVERRUN-DFD and MCD Education

    Languages: Databases: ERP integrated systems: Tools: Methodologies: 1989 1987 Master’s in IT management sciences Bachelor’s in computer science HEC Montreal Universite Laval An ERP Story: Choosing a Project Leader (B) Appendix 2 Curriculum Vitae of Candidate B for the Position of Project Leader (cont’d) Upgrading 2002 2002 2002 ABC Implementations ABC – Tools in Detail ABC Business Integration Seminar (Certified) Relevant recent professional experience Large service enterprise Management of an integration project for administrative services involving corporate services and three business units.

    The project’s aim was to offer the same range of services and the same level of service in order to procure efficiency and financial gains, while respecting the needs and specificity of the internal clientele. ? Implement efficient and proven project mechanisms. ? Lead a team composed of a dozen experts and six partners. ? Implement a project methodology in a particular context of administrative services. ? Assist the project manager in decision-making. ? Plan, coordinate and control the project. ? Participate in the development of deliverables. Carry out quality assurance of documents. Environment: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, MS-Project, Project Workbench Large telecommunications enterprise Recovery management of the project to replace the enterprise’s 12 legacy systems with the ABC integrated solution in ASP mode. The modules implemented by the ITM team are: HR, PAYROLL, CS, SD, MM, F1 and CO. The Big Bang implementation approach was used. ? Replace the client’s internal project leader 12 months before deployment (total duration of the project estimated at 24 months). Lead the development team (AB+ configuration and programs) composed of some 30 people. ? Create an efficient work environment within the project team. ? Plan and monitor application start-up within the prescribed timeframe. ? Environment: ABC, DB2, Windows, MS Access, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, MS-Project. An ERP Story: Choosing a Project Leader (B) Appendix 2 Curriculum Vitae of Candidate B for the Position of Project Leader (cont’d) Large food services enterprise In the context of this project, the enterprise began implementing the ABC software package for the grocery sector.

    The ITM mandate was to carry out analysis, programming, functional tests, support to integrated testing and post-implementation support for the development and reports for the grocery sector. Development represented an effort of close to 2,800 person days over six months by a 28member team. ? Build a highly-skilled team of 28 ABC analysts and AB+ programmers. ? Plan within the limited timeframe of the project. ? Lead the team for analysis, programming, testing and post-implementation support. ? Deliver the project on time. ? Ensure high-quality deliverables.

    Environment: ABC, AB+, AS400, DB2, Windows 95, Lotus Notes, MS Access, Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Aerospace enterprise Lead two outsourcing teams comprised of some 15 people working to complete the final tasks before the year 2000. ? Quickly plan the final year 2000 activities of the two ITMP outsourcing teams. ? Prepare the transition plan composed of over 30 activities. ? Finalize the contingency procedures in case of problems. ? Develop and implement an effective communication plan. Environment: VAX/VMS, Windows NT, ERP CINCOM.

    Appendix 3 Curriculum Vitae of Candidate C for the Position of Project Leader Career profile Ms C has a bachelor’s degree in administrative sciences, accounting option. Upon completing her studies, she joined the accounting firm Samson Belair/Deloitte & Touche. She has been a member of the Quebec Order of Chartered Accountants since 1990. As an auditor, she has worked in various sectors, including health, banking and pharmaceuticals. She then turned to private enterprise for her work as a controller. In charge of all accounting operations, she was also responsible for special projects, such as the implementation of an inventory module.

    Over the last eight years, she developed in-depth expertise in process analysis and ERP implementation. In addition, she has completed several ABC software implementation projects, which allowed her to develop her methodological approach, her management skills, her extensive knowledge of Oracle applications, particularly the General Ledger, Purchasing, Inventory and Order Entry modules, as well as Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and Project Management and the eBusiness suite (iStore, iPayment, iMarketing, Marketing Online and Sales Online).

    Lastly, she has on several occasions carried out the analysis and definition of business processes, analysis and implementation of charts of accounts and items, as well as project management, including development and monitoring of the implementation calendar, tracking work progress, resolving issues, managing change requests, assisting and coaching the client’s project leader as well as the implementation team. Types of intervention ? Project management ? Team management ? Process analysis ?

    Strategy and test preparation Skil ls Business sectors: Languages: Methodologies: Software packages and solutions: Procurement, accounting, distribution, inventory management, municipalities, telecommunications SQL Ascendant (PwC) ABC (General Ledger, Order Entry, Inventory, Purchasing) ? Information systems integration ? Systems migration ? Product selection ) An ERP Story: Choosing a Project Leader (B) Appendix 3 Curriculum Vitae of Candidate C for the Position of Project Leader (cont’d) Education 1990 1988 Member of the Quebec Order of Chartered Accountants Bachelor’s in administrative sciences, accounting option HEC Montreal

    Upgrading 2000 1998 1998 1998 1998 Organizational Analysis and Design (OAD), Montreal ABCFAST, Montreal Reengineering: The Leadership Perspective (Michael Hammer), Boston Transforming the Supply Chain: Integrating to Serve the Final Customer (Michael Hammer), Boston Succeeding with ABC (Boston Academy) Relevant recent professional experience Telecommunications Inc. The main objective of the project to review the company’s chart of accounts was to create a shared global chart of accounts for the company’s 40 units.

    The second objective was to standardize the chart of accounts in order to ensure conformity of their respective charts (known as mapping), the concept of parent/child and the presentation of financial statements. As project manager, Ms C’s responsibilities were to: ? develop and monitor the work plan; ? document needs related to accounting and financial reports, determine the strengths and weaknesses of the current chart of accounts, review each segment of the chart of accounts and document its use, review the parent structure of the “natural account” segment; ? ecommend a new structure to respond to all needs and evaluate the impact of this recommendation on the various external systems; ? produce a user guide, in collaboration with Teleglobe, including definitions for each of the natural accounts; ? develop conversion and implementation strategies for the revised chart of accounts; ? coordinate and participate in the analysis, design and construction of financial reports and participate in related unit tests; ? coordinate and participate in the production of a new chart of accounts and provide support for the first endofmonth. An ERP Story: Choosing a Project Leader (B)

    Appendix 3 Curriculum Vitae of Candidate C for the Position of Project Leader (cont’d) Telebroadcast Inc. As project manager, Ms C coached the company in its invitation to tender for the selection of a new accounting system and performed the following tasks, among others: ? assisted in writing the invitation to tender for the selection of an information system, including preparing the list of needs, presentation of the client, etc. ; ? analyzed the bids of the suppliers in order to proceed with an initial preselection; ? attended, along with the resources of Telefilm Canada, the demonstration of the applications of the suppliers retained; ? repared and presented the recommendation for the choice of a supplier; ? submitted an implementation calendar for the chosen solution; ? supported all communications with the suppliers; ? coordinated the work team as well as developed and managed the work schedule and work progress. She served as the project leader of the ABC General Ledger module during the implementation of four modules (General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Purchasing and Accounts Receivable). Within the framework of this project, deployment was carried out in five countries in North America and Europe.

    Her main responsibilities with regard to the General Ledger module were to: ? ? ? ? ? analyze current processes; analyze mismatches between the processes and functions of the Oracle General Ledger application; establish the parameters of the application; analyze and make recommendations regarding the structure of the new global chart of accounts; define a multiorganizational environment; ? analyze discrepancies between standard Oracle reports and targeted needs; ? prepare and present prototypes (CRP); ? define the test strategy and prepare integrated test plans. Environment: ABC

    Parapublic service centres Evaluate the feasibility of an integrated customer management system designed to improve the quality of services offered, optimize business processes and maintain a single customer file with clinical and administrative data that is intact, relevant and easily accessible by all players. Develop a change management strategy based on the organization’s capacity for change. Large accounting service company Coordinate the development of a three-year master plan for the information technologies department: ? diagnosis and inventory of technological needs related to the strategic plan; ? evelopment of technological orientations; ? draft of target architectures. HEC008 Volume 4 Issue 1 March 2006 An ERP Story: Troubles Ahead (C) Case prepared by Professors Carmen BERNIER and Vital ROY, as well as Eric BRUNELLE Troubles Ahead After choosing the candidate with the most experience with the ABC software package, the Integrated Management System and Processes (IMSP) project at ABS Canada is launched. Within weeks, however, unexpected difficulties gradually begin to arise. The project manager’s first action is to establish an action plan with the IT department based on specific deliverables.

    But this plan immediately creates controversy because several members from functional departments, particularly finance and accounting, feel excluded from the outset. As a representative from the finance department explains: I know that this project is very important for the company, but I am convinced that ABS will lose out in the end if we insist on delivering a product that doesn’t address our main problem, which is finding better ways of working. Later on, the project manager bluntly informs users that their business processes will soon be turned upside down to allow the company to adapt to the system.

    A representative of the users involved in the project has this complaint: The only thing that matters to him is that we respect delivery times. He doesn’t take into account personal considerations. Regardless of whether or not the needs of users are being met optimally, the project manager insists on focusing on the technical implementation of ABC. Several of the managers responsible for functions affected by the project feel that the project manager is focusing his efforts on ensuring that the tasks of the project plan are executed as quickly as possible, without showing any real concern for business processes.

    Moreover, team Troubles Ahead (C) members do not appreciate the project management style. “I’m discouraged and I feel paralyzed in my work because I am constantly writing progress reports,” explains one member of the team. After three months, the managers responsible for the functions affected by the project confirm that the project manager has gotten swept up in political games that have prompted him to favour ABS’s IT group.

    These managers are beginning to think that ABC may be the wrong choice since it does not meet their needs and the credibility of the IT department is being put to the test, including Mr. Roberge. Despite this, the ABC experts have reiterated their message to function managers and management that the many R/3 configuration options in addition to changes in the company’s processes can have a significant impact on the evolution of business practices and efficiency at ABS. A confrontation between the user groups and the IT function seems inevitable. Mr.

    Roberge knows full well that this situation is jeopardizing the project. He also thinks that the current project leader is not effectively managing the various dimensions of the project. Faced with this situation, he is feeling a great deal of pressure from management at ABS. He decides to take the weekend to evaluate the situation and decide on the future of the project. Questions 1. Offer your own analysis of the situation to Mr. Roberge to help him pinpoint the main causes of the difficulties of the project. 2. What should Mr. Roberge do now?

    Propose two possible solutions and present their respective advantages and disadvantages. HEC009 Volume 4 Issue 1 March 2006 An ERP Story: Epilogue (D) Case prepared by Professors Carmen BERNIER and Vital ROY, as well as Eric BRUNELLE Epilogue Over the next few days, the current project leader is replaced by Andre Gagne, a candidate who has studied accounting and has a master’s degree in information systems, in addition to solid experience in the insurance industry. He has also managed several systems development projects involving integration of information technologies and business process review.

    The project leader’s main concern is to restore the project’s credibility and win the confidence of the project’s team members as well as of the users and management. He reorganizes the project team into multidisciplinary teams in charge of formulating solutions for each of the problems identified by the project, while respecting the established project plan, budgets and calendars as well as the constraints of the company. Each of these teams includes technical and management experts as well as experts from each of the business units involved.

    Once this reorganization is underway, Andre Gagne organizes an orientation meeting, followed by an evening cocktail hour for all of the members of the project and the users involved. A few weeks after the arrival of the new project manager, there is still apprehension about the changes to come among the staff of the various business units affected by the project. The most serious rumours are about the number of layoffs that will result from the implementation of the new software package, the process review and the reorganization of tasks.

    Andre Gagne requests and obtains the budgets needed to offer future users intensive information sessions on the potential and features of ABC. He also gives users a more active role in the project: they are made responsible for reviewing their business processes. As for ABS’s technical experts and the Troubles Ahead (C) ABC supplier, their responsibilities evolve into the role of consultants who propose configuration options that meet the needs of users.

    Twelve months later, Andre Gagne and his team go live with the new information system at ABS Canada. The project team and management at ABS are now confident that the new information system will be used and will represent a major evolution in the company’s business practices. While most of the team members are exhausted due to long hours spent on implementing the project, they are all eager to move on to new challenges. For the consultant, the time has come to carry out the project post mortem.

    Francois Caron reviews the performance evaluation document that his client Jean Roberge has just submitted. The second project leader has successfully met the challenge and exceeded the client’s expectations. He is now getting ready to complete his report that will summarize the main points of the project and the lessons learned. Question: Jean Roberge and Francois Caron wish to document the key elements that led to the success of the ABS project. They ask you to prepare a synthesis report of these factors. or 617. 783. 7860.

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