The aim of reorganizing the enterprise resource planning system (ERP) was to achieve an entity of data systems to provide up-to-date data, to eliminate overlapping functions, to enable knowledge-based management – and as if forecasting the spring 2020 – it facilitates smooth remote working and mobile use.
Nevertheless, the most important purpose and target of reorganizing the ERP system was to achieve an administrative system whole for the group of companies, to support business activities in the execution of strategy and to enable the processing of increasing number of data flows. The reorganizing of technology, to be carried out at the terms of the business, requires external expertise and experience. That was what Innoman’s Mika Ropponen had to offer.
From groundwork to execution
Surveys of the present situation and definition of needs had been carried out at the Granlund Group as the groundwork. The alternatives that were discussed comprised a single overall solution or the best separate systems and integrations available on the market.
– The reorganization project commenced in 2015 had advanced to the test use of Microsoft Dynamics AX systems that were tested by a wide-scale business representation. At that time, the system did not fulfil our business needs to a sufficient extent, says Sirpa Sinkkonen, Finance and Administrative Director of Granlund Oy, who shared the main responsibility for the project with the Quality and Environmental Manager Maila Herva.
After the test use and reflections, people at Granlund ended at separate software solutions and integrations. They were about the find the right trail for the reorganization work, when employees of Granlund paid a visit to Rejlers Finland Oy, who had implemented the reorganizing of IT systems of the same size category.
– This was the biggest renewal of data systems ever in the history of Granlund. For that reason, we wanted to make sure that the solution was the right one. Together with other information obtained during our reference visit, we asked if they had used an outside consultant in the reorganization work. They recommended us Innoman and Mika Ropponen. We invited him to visit us and told him about the stage we were in. He for his part told our steering group about his own expertise, experience and views – and we were impressed, Sirpa recalls how they got connected with Innoman.
IT project keeping its schedule
– I joined the project in June 2018. Differing from most other previous projects, the tool selections had already been made. My share was to bring outside project management and technology related expertise to reorganizing work. Therefore, my work started with system specific definition tasks. Service portfolio, clients and business model, operational activities, human resource management and other functions require several systems, in this case the total of 16 systems. And even though this is a multi-system solution, data should be transferred seamlessly between various business sectors. Therefore, the big issue was integrations, describes Innoman’s Mika Ropponen his own share.
Sirpa Sinkkonen continues about the same subject:
– Of course, we had to face variables and different challenges along the way. The Group expanded during the project, and the big issue was how to integrate the data systems. We weren’t able to get accurate enough financial data produced with the ready-made system interfaces for the economic management. We needed a separate integration. Based on his experience, Mika suggested we should choose Dell’s Boom for the solution – that was actually what we needed, Sirpa Sinkkonen recalls one of the major variables that needed to be taken into consideration during the project.
Accompanied with Mika’s expertise and experience, a schedule was drawn up for the project. Two dates were circled on the calendar. Two of the Granlund companies were to start the pilot use of the enterprise resource planning system on September 1, 2019. Another important date was 1.1.2020. On that date, the reorganized ERP would be implemented in all the Granlund companies located in Finland.
– We made a schedule, and we kept it, notes Sirpa, differing from the generally notorious IT projects.
– Differing from a compact whole, a multi-system as a solution facilitates the integration of separate components also in the future, and this way the adapting of the enterprise resource planning system to meet the requirements brought about by future changes, Mika Ropponen says about the situation that tested his expertise, and the benefits of the solution for Granlund.
Great importance of smooth cooperation
Now in 2020, already with a turnover of MEUR 100, the Granlund Group had for its own part invested a significant amount of resources in the reorganization of ERP systems. There was the total of eight persons from different functions of the company, participating in the project group of the entire project. Every one of them brought their own contributions and points of view to the reorganizing – keeping, however, in mind that the end result will serve the whole of the business development. Additionally, there were separate project groups for each separate system. The biggest one of them had as many as 20 members. Within this whole, it was of primary importance that business activities were presented in the definition work in an as comprehensive manner as possible. The purpose of this was to ensure that the system will cover the business needs in a large scale. The in-house know-how was combined with Mika Ropponen’s experience, expertise and ability to cooperate.
– The project group convened once a week to discuss the reform. A number of poignant issues were solved at those meetings. The steering group for its part convened once a month to discuss this subject, describes Sirpa Sinkkonen the goal-oriented project management. Separate project groups were of course working in the project more or less full time.
– A very important point was the inclusion of communications, and communicating matters to the staff. We informed them about the future changes in the procedures in advance. However, people still continue to learn how to use the systems. With regard to management of change, we got help from Innoman there, too, in the form of Sari Lehtoaro’s contribution, Sirpa tells us about changing internal routines in the daily work.
– If the prioritisations within a project limped, we should point out Mika’s role in the cooperation of the project group. When necessary, he returned the strayed ’train of reform’ back to the rails. It was also a comfort to have a person in our group, who knew how to act with system suppliers. That was another thing that Mika handled in a sovereign manner, points out Granlund’s Finance and Administrative Director Mika Ropponen’s role.
Like in case of all reform activities affecting a working community, also in the reorganizing of ERP systems within the Granlund Group, a transitional period will be needed to allow time for routines to change. The time of coronavirus COVID-19 will also add a flavour of its own to the way how new procedures will be adopted. Users’ training and experiences of the new system, however, will work for the fact that benefits will be gained from the new enterprise resource planning system. And communicating between human beings will also be needed for that. This won’t be a problem at Granlund.
– The great corporate culture is reflected to outsiders. People are listened to and encouraged. I’m sure that the ERP we have baptized ’Elmeri’ will be an additional resource for the staff in the Granlund Group to develop business activities, ascertains technology expert Mika Ropponen – restoring at the same time the correct marching order between people and technology.
Does your company have plans to reorganize data systems or to develop your business otherwise? Make an hour’s appointment for an expert’s assessment, free of charge. You’ll have essential recommendations for development, and you can use these as the basis for the development work.