National Energy Co - Specialist Project Management
Xoomworks provides high level management and consultancy services to ensure a large National Energy company’s SAP transformation project proceeds according to strategic objectives.
The standard process platform
The client was an international electricity and gas company and one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world, playing a vital role in providing energy to millions of customers across Great Britain and the Northeast US in an efficient, reliable and safe manner.
As well as owning the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales and operating the system across Great Britain, the company also owns and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain - its distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses.
For many years this large energy company has adopted SAP to support role-specific business processes, addressing its needs in generation, transmission and distribution across the organisation. Some 6 years ago, the company took the strategic decision to radically enhance its SAP implementation in line with long term objectives brought about, in part, with changes mandated by OFGEM, the regulator body for Britain’s gas and electricity industries. Over the years the company had inherited and commissioned a large number of disparate systems, some of which were integrated with SAP and which were proving more and more difficult and costly to maintain. A significant amount of data manipulation took place outside of SAP to produce customer and management information and the increasing maintenance overhead of these different systems, combined with the need to restructure the business, led the company to expand the use of SAP as the standard platform for all its processes.
This ambitious project soon ran into difficulties, most of which were derived from the fact the energy company had not considered the huge impact that such a massive transformation project would have on its operations. Although the internal IT team had the skills to develop and enhance the existing SAP implementation, it soon became apparent that the business was unable to absorb all of the changes in one go. Recognising that it needed to manage the transformation project so that changes could be implemented on a departmental basis according to a carefully planned cycle of releases, the incumbent partner turned to Xoomworks for program delivery experience.
The need for an experienced SAP project manager
This highly complex initiative involved several specialist IT organisations, each of which was providing consultants responsible for specific aspects of the project. Matters were also compounded because the company has a large number of alliances and coalitions with other utility and service organisations and it was crucial that the impact upon these from any substantial changes in business processes was carefully evaluated so that issues could be addressed before they could impact day-to-day operations.
In turn, the incumbent partner recognised the need for an experienced project manager with SAP skills, able to oversee and coordinate the activities of consultants from a large number of independent IT specialists, ensure that planning programmes and delivery schedules were tightly adhered to, and liaise with project sponsors and stakeholders to ensure that strategic decisions were implemented with the correct structure and in accordance with industry best practice and governance.
Calling in the SAP experts
The incumbent turned to Xoomworks - a niche consulting and outsourcing company that delivers benefits to business by helping organisations define strategic objectives and then developing effective solutions. As a SAP PartnerEdge Partner specialising in the delivery of SAP Business Intelligence and SAP SRM, Xoomworks has a track record in assisting in the creation of Business Intelligence strategies to correctively address and prioritise SAP projects, giving customers the comfort of knowing they can attain key drop dates along the critical path.
Xoomworks seconded Scott Kenyon, one of its most highly respected and experience SAP management consultants, to support the incumbent partner.
As well as liaising closely with senior stakeholders and management team, and managing relationships with Best-of-Breed (BOBs) vendors, Scott’ s initial objectives were to provide SAP solution expertise and manage the Process and Design Teams, ensuring that project timelines were maintained. The solutions also had to be rationalised internally by one of the largest global IT outsourcing services specialists – WIPRO.
Under Scott’s guidance, the project was divided into a number of distinct release cycles, which covered response and management of emergencies, and maintenance situations - which addressed the maintenance of existing infrastructures. “This long term and on-going project involved close liaison and management of an increasing number of specialist consultants from a variety of specialist organisations,” continued Scott. “In addition to managing the various partners, we had to ensure that the strategic decisions taken by the energy provider and stakeholders could be implemented effectively and efficiently, on time, to budget and without impacting other areas of development.”
Xoomworks’ reputation and success comes from being recognised as technical experts with real business understanding focused on identifying requirements, developing excellent relationships with stakeholders at all levels and delivering successful results for all involved. “This aspect is critical in governing the success of complex Business Intelligence projects,” explained Xoomworks’ Managing Director, Nic Hutchins. “Our consultants are comprised of former employees of SAP, Business Objects and tier one consulting companies, all of whom are able to lead teams effectively and guide them through the major milestones of implementations whilst minimising risk. Our wealth of experience in SAP BI solutions allows clients to be aware of pitfalls that many companies face.”
“It was clear from the outset that the project needed to be broken down into a number of clearly identifiable phases with defined deliverables against strategic objectives,” explained Scott. “Internally, the energy utility had considerable IT expertise but lacked the ability to manage such a huge project, particularly as this involved close liaison with a number of independent SAP specialists.”
Scott Kenyon, SAP Management Consultant, Xoomworks