Global support services corporation

Enabling operational change with enterprise solutions from SAP

Based in the UK but with a global presence, this major plc delivers mission critical support services to customers in defence, energy, emergency services, transport and education.  A characteristic of the client is its federated structure, which enables each of its four market divisions to operate with a high degree of autonomy.  Group level control is maintained through the application of key financial and fiscal levers and other corporate governance mechanisms.  To drive improved operational efficiencies and enable greater visibility and control of performance, the Group initiated a programme of business change, enabled by the implementation of new enterprise software from SAP.

With high levels of engagement by all stakeholder groups the programme got off to a good start and apart from the usual niggles the programme was seemingly on track.  But as the design phase neared completion and detailed planning got underway for the Phase 1 implementation, it became clear that there were significant deficiencies in the performance and behaviour of the third-party chosen by the client to deliver the SAP workstream.  The risks to the programme were exacerbated by the resignation of the client’s Programme Director, a situation the client knew it had to fix before the implementation phase began.

DAV’s reputation for managing the delivery of complex, technology enabled business change was already known to the client and following a short confirmation process, the company was appointed to manage the programme on the client’s behalf, through the critical first phases of delivery.

The DAV Programme Director made an immediate impact, bringing strong leadership to energise the internal team, practical reality to re-plan the programme delivery and effective communication skills to facilitate sustained stakeholder engagement.  More significantly, she brought the experience to get to grips with the implementation partner’s performance issues, which remained the biggest risk to the programme.

Under the Programme Director’s leadership, the internal programme workstreams made steady progress.  As confidence grew that the business would be ready for the coming changes, attention increasingly focused on the implementation partner and its ability to hit planned delivery dates for the enabling SAP modules.  Through a tenacious mix of support, encouragement and professional assertiveness, the Programme Director ensured that all stakeholder groups, not least of all the implementation partner, met their delivery commitments.  Consequently, the crucial first release was made on time and the ‘go-live’ of Phase 1 was achieved.  Leveraging the momentum generated, the Programme Director drove the team on to deliver Phase 2 of the programme, which followed some 3 months later.  This was a major milestone in the programme and reaching it enabled the client to prove all principle elements of the SAP configuration in a business context.

At this point the most challenging aspects of the delivery had been successfully delivered and the client had a solid blueprint from which the remaining phases of the programme could be completed.  As the level of intensity reduced, the DAV Programme Director implemented her succession plan and, as intended, management of the programme was transitioned to the internal team she had developed and mentored over an 18-month period.

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