Weetabix had been using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and while the ERP system had served them well since it was implemented, it was approaching end of life. Initially, the company wanted to technically ‘lift’ what they had in AX 2012 and ‘shift’ it to Dynamics 365.
So, they approached their long-standing partner, Columbus, asking if we could help them with a Microsoft Advanced Migration Assessment. This would help them better understand what the lift-and-shift migration would mean for the business.
After engaging with their IT Business Applications Lead Debbie Woodland and Head of Digital Transformation Alan Potter (previously the Head of IT but his role changed during our engagement), Weetabix refined their goals.
Weetabix learnt a lot from their AX 2012 implementation and had a good understanding of how they wanted to approach their next project. For example, they wanted to:
- Improve business-wide engagement
- Gain employee/user buy-in
- Improve the ERP implementation processes
- Set up and follow a structured training schedule
- Gain the benefits and outcomes they hoped to achieve from the ERP project
Weetabix also understood their business had changed since they had implemented AX in that initial project. So, they wanted to:
- Revisit and re-map their business processes
- Look at the value the business needed today, rather than focusing only on the ERP upgrade and lessons learnt from the previous project
- Better understand what value they could gain from implementing a new ERP system afresh
The solution was clear. While Columbus would still deliver the Advanced Migration Assessment, we also needed to help Weetabix discover the value they could realise from their re-implementation.
Delivering the project
To help Weetabix achieve their goals, we followed the Columbus Value First approach (adapted to suit the company’s unique needs), holding 14 workshops with just under 80 participants involved.
Envision and identify
The aim of this stage was to help Weetabix build a clear, compelling vision for new value and gain strategic alignment and buy-in on the priorities. So, we started with a top level envisioning workshop involving a large cross-section of the senior management team from Weetabix. They were asked to brainstorm their issues and opportunities. Then, using a radar tool Columbus had created, these issues and opportunities were segmented into business functions.
This helped us better understand what Weetabix saw the opportunities were in and what they thought the biggest problems were.
Weetabix’s Managing Director and Executive team were also involved in an envisioning session, which helped:
- The company understand that transformation should be led from the top for it to succeed
- Align the Executive team’s ideas with the senior management team’s
- Understand the different perspectives from the two teams
- Understand ideas in terms of importance and perception of difficulty
- Quantify said ideas in terms of the amount of resource, effort and level of digitalisation required
Plan and engage
Following the envisioning workshops, it was time to hunt the value that surrounded those potential changes and help set a roadmap to achieve it all.
Value analysis and solutions
Our value analysis stage helps us (Weetabix and Columbus) look beyond what the business needed and why things needed to change. It helps highlight where there’s value - whether that’s financial benefits or stakeholder value.
By holding value by functional grouping, Weetabix could better understand:
- Where less digitalised processes could benefit from digitalisation
- The priorities within different functional groups (allowing them to address the ‘what’s in it for me’)
- The value and what we should do to achieve that - for example, identifying which solutions could unlock that value
Value proposition and roadmap
Thanks to all the data gathered in the previous stage, we could then start looking at the business case from different angles - such as value, risk assessment and prioritisation. Together with Weetabix, Columbus examined:
- The capabilities Weetabix had internally to deliver that value
- The planning process so we can build an appropriate roadmap
- What needed to happen within the business for this to happen successfully e.g. governance processes
- The benefits case - where there was financial value and what that would mean if they were to be a success
- The cost required to deliver this - not only from an implementation partner but also from the internal resources required
- Potential return on investment (ROI) in terms of a detailed cashflow forecast of what it’ll cost and when we’ll expect benefits from which areas
This value proposition was then played back to the wider Weetabix team.
What the Value First partnership with Columbus was like
Thanks to our Value First approach, Weetabix can now better envision what they needed, understand the value and structure of the most appropriate solutions, and benefit from an engaging value proposition. All in all, it was a great application for our Value First approach.
But what was it like working with Columbus?
According to Weetabix’s Head of Digital Transformation Alan Potter, it was great to work with a consultancy who saw transformation initiatives as more than an IT project. “It’s a business project and with Columbus, we were always on the hunt for value,” he said.
“It was great because it felt like we were working in partnership throughout the project. We were always focused on value and business outcomes, not just technology.”
Weetabix has not only benefited from the approach, but they’ve enjoyed the journey we’ve taken them on, the tools we used (particularly Klaxoon’s digital whiteboard tool) and the techniques we applied.
Feedback from Weetabix’s business process owners and managers has been positive. They saw our processes as really valuable and helped them to focus on business outcomes rather than the technology alone.
Potter said: “A highlight for me was seeing how engaged our business was from start to finish. That’s a testament to how interactive the sessions were.”