Global System Implementation
Background and Diagnosis
An old-line US based Fortune 500 global manufacturing company desired to improve several business processes. The company had recently initiated an enterprise-wide road-mapping initiative to identify and prioritize areas of targeted improvement. The company’s CFO and Controller were the owners of key functional business processes and had focused on a foundational process where they desired to increase accuracy and efficiency – the global accounting close process across all divisions and geographies.
Parallel and coordinated, the company recently completed a successful succession plan, establishing a new CEO. All the foregoing were in support of the new CEO’s 10-Year vision guiding the business forward.
The CFO and Controller’s stated goals were to support a speedier close, complete with the elimination of manual processes and myriad spreadsheet calculations as well as data transfer. The vision was to have reliable numbers supported by a more robust architecture in order to enable agile business decisions as well as more real-time communication with stakeholders. Given the foundational nature of the needed changes, the CFO and Controller deemed it a requirement to bring in an outside firm to provide project management and assist with needed change management. This need was deemed necessary to mitigate inter-department biases that might otherwise hamper the project. The CFO had acknowledged, in the recent past, keeping large projects from straying was not a strong competency within the legacy business. Sedgwick Partners was brought in to oversee all aspects of project management with the CFO and Controller as project sponsors.
Actions and Solutions
Both the CFO and Controller were project sponsors with the Controller as the day-to-day contact. Sedgwick Partners – as project manager – assisted, organized, and reported on the multiple work threads that made up the project in its entirety. With the core team, Sedgwick Partners helped differentiate, score and select the software vendors who had the consolidation tool applications which would serve as the basis for the improvements. The selected Oracle application was to pull from four North America general ledgers as well as one each for Europe, Asia and South America. As well, with the core team, Sedgwick Partners helped review and select (and then oversee) the technical consultants who would execute the software implementation.
Sedgwick Partners provided a sequential project plan that was maintained and updated with weekly progress on all work threads by region, by task, by project dependency and by responsibility. Status on areas needing attention, based on severity, were communicated to the CFO and Controller on a weekly basis at minimum. On regular established milestone dates, formal updates were given to the Steering Committee (all group CFOs and CIO) as well as quarterly flash updates that were part of the CFO’s Board of Director’s deck. An internal company SharePoint was set-up for the project to share and collect data from division subject matter experts (SME) as well as provide communication to all business participants and subcontractors. Two newsletters – communicating project overview and status for consumption by the business at large – were authored by Sedgwick Partners and shared on the company’s intranet. Sedgwick Partners kept all aspects of the project on track from the initial project budget and scope, all the way through three parallel tests and acceptance of installed system.
Sedgwick Partners successfully brought the project to completion, on-time and within budget. The implemented financial management application further enhanced the company’s ability to execute a subsequent acquisition of an industry peer and increase the company’s global footprint and competitive position in the marketplace.