North West Enterprise

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North West Enterprise

North West Enterprise


This case study is intended to provide other authorities with an overview of the approach taken by North West Enterprise (NEW) to the change management issues faced during its e-procurement system implementation.

Baseline Point

North West Enterprise's e-procurement project was part of an overall IT Systems replacement project (the Enterprise Project'), which replaced the NEW's aged mainframe systems for finance, procurement and human resources. Whilst our legacy systems were relatively old, certainly in procurement and finance, they were generally quite advanced in providing good functionality for end users. As they were built in-house, the majority of end user requests for improved functionality had been met over the years. The legacy systems provided:

system generated purchase orders

electronic workflow for authorisation

payment of invoices against the original order

financial commitments for budget monitoring and general ledger postings

Generally therefore, end user expectations of a new system were very high. There were recognised weaknesses in existing systems which impacted corporately rather than on end users including:

poor corporate management information on procurement

lack of electronic links to suppliers

off-contract purchasing was easy to achieve, with end users having full local control over the purchasing process.

NEW, therefore developed the following key objectives:

Reduce off-contract purchasing

Improve control over local devolved purchasing

Provide better procurement management information

Rationalise the supplier base

Increase the scope of corporate framework agreements

Streamline the purchasing process.

The NEW decided to implement SAP's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to provide all of the functions of finance, procurement and human resources, including SAP's own electronic catalogue software, Enterprise Buyer (EBP). This approach was adopted because:

so many legacy systems needed to be replaced at the same time

integration was a key consideration

an ERP presents potential for other functionality which the NEW is considering implementing, such as customer relationship management.

NEW decided to take a phased approach to implementation, mainly because as a very large authority with many systems to replace, NEW believed this was a sensible and pragmatic approach and is an approach NEW have used in the past. The Enterprise Project started in October 2000 in a phased rollout as follows:

General ledger ¡V April 2001

Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll and Central Stores and Purchasing ¡V September 2001

Corporate Human Resources October 2002

Trial of Devolved Finance, HR and e-Procurement ¡V May 2003

Full rollout to the NEW October 2003 to March 2005.

As with any local authority, NEW are used to frequent change and change management responsibility has generally rested with each department. As a highly devolved, diverse and geographically large organisation change management is difficult to achieve consistently across the authority.

Implementing e-procurement in North West Enterprise

The e-procurement implementation was part of the overall project plan for the SAP implementation. Initially the plan was to implement all required procurement and e-procurement functionality by September 2001 and then to rollout the required functionality to devolved end users over an 18 month period. Issues with the corporate implementations in September 2001, meant that a more cautious approach was adopted to enable the issues to be resolved before rollout to all users. The timetable is now to rollout e-procurement to ...
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