By Marc Veul, Royal Vopak, and Sachin Jain, Cognizant
Royal Vopak is the world’s leading independent tank storage company and a global leader in storing vital products with care. Recently, Vopak embarked on a global finance transformation program to help create value, improve business insights and strengthen key controls.
Vopak chose to partner with Cognizant to implement Oracle Cloud ERP. But deep into the program execution, COVID hit. The timing was terrible: the implementation was at its most critical phase, with imminent go-lives in two countries, user acceptance testing in a third, and system integration testing in a fourth country. As with most things COVID, the disruption was unforeseen, immediate and significant.
The global lockdown tested our ability to effectively deliver projects and programs, particularly those in which seamless global mobility was at the heart of the delivery strategy. How did Vopak and Cognizant adjust our short- and medium-term strategy? How did we keep schedules intact, and what did we learn?
As we raced to adjust our strategy, we had to answer some critical questions:
The rapid and large-scale ban on travel caused significant disruption to ongoing projects that relied heavily on global mobility. Major adjustments were made to processes, deployment strategies and decision making in order to be effective, especially for regional centres in Asia.
We quickly transitioned to remote “virtual live rooms” to replace travel and in-person meetings. These virtual rooms always had subject matter experts for key areas and were used for daily “beginning of play / end of play” reviews, including key goal metrics for tracking.
Establishment of governance with clear, realigned roles and responsibility was at the core of our plan. With globally dispersed teams, reassignment of roles was performed wherever necessary due to time-zone differences and travel limitations. Further investment in online availability of all materials (e.g. training, testing) was made to support a more remote approach. Capability centres (global and/or regional) were set-up with experts for all time zones.
As we return to a new normal, it’s likely many ways we work will be changed forever. The approach to project delivery will change, as well as the role of the program leader.
Royal Vopak’s global finance transformation program has achieved its goals despite unprecedented challenges. The lessons and adjustments proved effective for successful delivery in a world vastly different—and a manner completely unforeseen—at the project’s inception.
Marc Veul is global program manager for the MOVES program at Royal Vopak. MOVES is an umbrella program aiming to replace Vopak’s current ERP solution with a combination of self-built and cloud solutions, enabling a further digitizing of frontline execution and optimizing back end processes.
Sachin Jain is global program manager at Cognizant responsible for the delivery of the finance transformation program. With over 21 years’ industry experience, Sachin specializes in IT consulting primarily focusing on management and delivery of large global IT led business transformation programs.
Cognizant is a world leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services. Cognizant partners with global organizations to engineer modern business to improve everyday lives.
To hear more about this story, listen to the Partner Perspectives podcast, Royal Vopak Optimizes Operations and Improves Services with Cognizant and Oracle ERP Cloud.