ERP Project with an Human Face
Beata Kisszőlősi Szánthó and Krisztina Medgyesi, Hungary
Beata Kisszőlősi Szánthó
“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey
Magyar Telekom changed its SAP system for an internationally optimized Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This project, named One.Erp, become widely accepted and even popular within Magyar Telekom. How did the change management of this implementation become a best practice within the company?
Magyar Telekom Plc. is the leading info-communications company of Hungary, subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom (DT), with cc. 8 000 employees. It had an highly and 10 year tailormade SAP system and changed it for an ERP System that is locally more challenging. ERP systems are used to give companies the ability to see business processes from a single integrated view.
One.ERP is one of its most important international projects supporting Deutsche Telekom (DT) strategy. Once the roll-out will be completed the project vision of “One Figure – One Truth” will become reality, i.e. standard data, processes and IT systems will support the operation internationally. Common and standard supporting systems, created in frame of the One.ERP project, will enable DT Group to present itself on the international market as one single player. The Hungarian rollout has started in 2013 and ends in 2018. Each year focuses on new SAP modules (Finance, Controlling, Procurement, Logistics, Technology and field service, Travel, Enterprise operations, etc.) and the affected local systems (legacies). Over 3000 end users are affected in the rollout, across the company. The project has around 300 dedicated project members.
We briefly introduce change management of this project, with special highlight on the 10 factors that most highly contributed to its success. This project had an integrated approach: we had organization development (OD) process for the project itself and organization development – change management activities towards end users. When we talk about ‘change management’, we talk about end user interventions, unless mentioned otherwise.
1. Integrated structure of a Business Readiness team: One.ERP handled change management within the multi-functioning Business Readiness (BR) team, in a close cooperation with communication, training and Business Process Mapping. This structure contributed to an integrated approach and actions.We introduced the main change management messages at the beginning of training sessions for end-users. We had joint quality checks to evaluate project acceptance and training quality. We synchronized change, communication and training measures to have ‘one voice’ towards the end user.
We also kept change, communication and training measures consistent. In addition, we carried out certain diagnostic tasks together: all team members conducted interviews to create the annual Change Impact Assessment, a survey for checking end-user awareness for the annual scope and acceptance of the changes. This helped in leveraging resources within the team, and also enabled all team members to obtain first-hand information on the perception of end-users.
2. Trust and authority given from parent company to create local change management practice. One.ERP is an international project ongoing in the HQ and several national and international subsidiaries of Deutsche Telekom. Closely cooperating with DT’s Central team, MT’s Business Readiness team was given the trust and authority to come up with more and more tailor-made ideas, messages and a local change management strategy. We hold thorough discussions to find the best ways to connect to local end users, we share information, provide benchmark to participating BR teams internationally, and work in a fruitful cooperation.
3. Change- and Expectation management from the beginning. One of the specialities of One.ERP project at the Magyar Telekom that Change Management began at the beginning of the project, despite the usual practice in One.ERP. The necessity of OD with interventions became obvious at an early stage in 2014. What were our main directions at the beginning?
1. End User Expectation Management – We involved those key experts, who participated in the project, and in the meantime worked in close collaboration with end users affected by One.ERP. Their monthly organized Contact Forum become an interactive information sharing platform in 2014, 2015. Furthermore we created various events, channels based on the needs of end users, and regularly measured expectations.
2. Involvement of Directors, Sponsors and Key Users – We created various events, channels based on the needs of end users (see pictures 1,2), and regularly measured expectations. We had regular weekly meetings with business senior management and held over 50 roadshows in each rollout phase on top. By giving business key stakeholders a representative role and answering their questions and concerns, we won them for the project and they slowly became One.ERP’s champions.
4. Project Managers’ openness and dedication to managing change. One of the main success criteria was the fact that Project Managers knew the importance of conscious change management from the very beginning. The BR team became a strategic partner of the Project Managers through weekly status report meetings, intensive and creative discussions. Besides, PMs regularly facilitated end-user events and gave talks about the project. The way the Project Managers believed in the success of the project and their representation had a strong emphasis on project culture formation.
5. Efficient management of resources and communication channels. We used both the already existing channels for communication and created certain new ones to penetrate the communication “noise” of the organization.We organized 20-30 minute presentations at the division / directorate meetings; we regularly showed up at management staff meetings with the project’s strategic matters and operative details.Besides these channels, we also created certain new ones: Marketplace events, “SRM Breakfasts” and open forums where end users could meet project professionals to talk about upcoming changes. By the third year of the project we created a UX (user experience, user-centered design), participatory tool, called ‘Learning Buddy’ for sharing end user experiences. We encourage end users to share their experiences with using the new system and also encourage multipliers (key users who also train end users) to share their learning- and applying solutions.This shifted responsibility from teachers vs. student approach, to co-creating learning experiences.
6. Measuring change, changing measurement At the beginning in 2014 change management actions were based more on data gathering and analysing. We needed to gather data to get to know the project, the end-users and to build our change management strategy on the data. With time our credibility and project knowledge grew so we could rely more on our sensations, intuition and other connections with the end users. Today we are applying a healthy combination of hard data and our sensations. When we hear some insight from end users, we inquire, we discuss and if needed send out a quick questionnaire to see the broader details. We internalized the slogan of the BR Team leader: “End users are our friends. Let’s step in their shoes!”
7. Creativity and humor in reaching end users. We can do it! Differently. From 2015 the project communication significantly differed from the typical MT communication. The CFO who is a key sponsor of One.ERP project gave us the mandate: Be Loud! In response, we also applied creative and humorous forms of reaching end users. One of the most welcomed and appreciated actions is the series of Virus videos designed and implemented by some extremely creative project members. Three master pieces are available on the internet.
The first video is based on Al Pacino’s speech in Any Given Sunday. Also we are proud to share that the second video, based on Life of Brian, gained a Telekom Oscar in 2015. The latest video, based on Hair is priviledged to be on the blog of Thomas Dannenfeldt, Deutsche Telekom CFO. In 2015, after the “Brian” video the training team included some funny sentences from Brian and other well known actors in a very dry online training material, just to make the heavy work more fun. By giving space for various initiatives we not only reached end users in an alternative channel, but also encouraged project members to invest, to create and to bring to, and gain energy from the project.
8. OD work and project culture within One.ERP. The first change management survey carried out in 2013-4 had two foci: it assessed project operation, and checked end-user perception of the project. Based on this in summer 2014 the first Team leaders’ offsite was organized. Since that it become a monthly event, called Common Sense Team Meeting. Members are not only experts, but they also focus on people and work for improving project culture. They are considered to be an insiders’ group, e.g.: reading aloud a wow is a must to become a member.
A few highlights of culture setting steps:
Appreciation System: expressing satisfaction, saying “Thank You” is a daily practice within the project. E.g. we acknowledge high team performance and supportive, happy team culture by giving awards; the weekly project news end with the sentence: We thank the incredible work for XZ.
Project Values: Common Sense Members developed 8 project values to orient them in their leadership role.
Increasing Leadership Knowledge: Although more than 50% of Common Sense Team Members are consultants, they are entitled to widen their leadership toolkit. Project managers invested in them and supported their leadership development within One.ERP, therefore Common Sense became a learning platform, too.
Values, Appreciation of Hard Work, Celebrating the Individual, Reinforcing Good Team Spirit, Differentiation, Proudness and Acknowledging Tangible benefits (besides bonus), ceremonies to maintain and reenergise daily atmosphere makes our project culture lively and extraordinary.
9. The organically developed project platforms step by step responded to the needs of people and fulfill project managers’ expectations.
Strategic Body is meeting once a week and deals with strategic professional questions
Common Sense Team described in point 7.
Forum of Professionals is the platform for cross functional, cross professional reconciliation. All professional questions which are discussed in complexity by relevant professionals.
Key Workers’ Forum are quarterly events for key project members for mutual information sharing, energizing key workers and also expressing appreciation for those who are the engine of the project.
Project Managers’ Open Door – Once a week project members are welcomed for face to face discussion with project managers.
In the last 2,5 years we learned that any given system which provides a real answer for needs and manages expectations will prosper, when we remember that people lead to success.
10. Passion. The above mentioned concepts were the engine of the project change management and the fuel of it was our passion. We were committed to deliver good solutions, ready to provide immediate and appropriate responses spontaneously beyond plans if needed, and go the extra mile. Practices were developed step by step based on real needs. We went beyond the academic theories and we were present with true exploration. As a result today some OD experts and top managers label our work as ‘benchmark culture creator’.
We showed the most important aspects of the project’s OD and change management palette. We have seen a perception change: end users appreciated the attention to their needs and requests and the project has become accepted and even liked, despite the end product’s challenges. A real transition evoked by mindset changes and project culture.
Some of the main preconditions of the successful One.ERP project was the clearly defined and managed Project Scope. DT also sent the strong message that there is no plan B: the project will be implemented. This dedication of the goal and sticking to it was a key factor; without it, and the hard work was carried out by all project members, no change management activities would have been able to make the project successful. Consciously managing what needs to be fix all the way through, and what needs to change organically with time is probably the most important factor in any project’s management and also managing change.
Special thanks to Business Readiness Team members:
Szabolcs Pethő, Business Readiness Team Lead
Ágnes Magyar, Communication Specialist
Gabriella Lukács Training Team lead and Dóra Csóka, Anna Dálnoki, Training Team
Also special thanks to
Project leaders Gyula Darits, Lilla Rados and Attila Beck,
Central Team, especially Martin Entress
Krisztina Medgyesi – Organization development consultant, trainer and coach. Senior organization development and management development specialist at Magyar Telekom Plc. Responsible for change management programs, management development programs, coaching and mentoring within Magyar Telekom. In charge of One.ERP end user change management with Beáta Kisszőlősi Sz. within Business Readiness Team. Teaches coaching at Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Kriszta believes in continuous development and is excited to support others in their personal growth journey. Mother of a baby girl.
Beata Kisszőlősi Szánthó – Organization and Cultural development consultant, executive coach and trainer. Project consultant and responsible for change management with Krisztina Medgyesi within the Business Readiness Team and OD consultant for One.ERP Project. Founder of the Positive Attitude Consulting Ltd. with the aim to spread positivity. Bea believes that increasing happiness at work leads to higher level of employee engagement. She is the mother of a 5 year old boy. She also believes in flourishing and for expressing the self, she had two exhibitions form her paintings.