Service Stream finds itself in surprise ERP overhaul

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Service Stream finds itself in surprise ERP overhaul

Starts with three processes, ends up with entire business transformation.

Telecommunications network contractor Service Stream has found itself in the midst of an enterprise resource planning transformation after initially targeting just three business processes.

When Hubert van Dalen joined the organisation this time last year as its new chief information officer, he singled out his key priorities: revamping workforce management, work order management and project management.

His goal was to upgrade existing systems to more appropriate platforms, which at the time were going to be ServiceNow and Interactive Intelligence.

Workforce management was already being run on the ServiceNow platform, while project management was based on an ageing legacy application, and Oracle's ETADirect was used for work order management.

Van Dalen decided building internally was not the right approach, and so ditched the plan to rebuild the legacy project management function into ServiceNow.

After taking his requirements for a new project management app to vendors, he quickly realised the underlying processes that facilitate finance and supply chain were not well integrated with project management, which presented a barrier to achieving what he had in mind.

"We wanted something out of the box that could replace the existing legacy application and more," van Dalen told iTnews.

In the end, the product that impressed him the most was the IFS project management application, given his desire to avoid customisation.

But the IFS app was part of a broader ERP ecosystem - using it just for project management would have been "overkill", van Dalen said.

"So we looked at it in a broader perspective including finance and supply chain and realised we should get a solution that automates our enterprise," he said.

"There’s a lot of functionality in IFS for HR, asset management, safety, and they all looked like elements we could use, and the more we use of one platform the more modification we could avoid. This is planning for the future once the IFS has proven its benefit."

He tasked the vendor with undertaking a lengthy scoping study, and three weeks ago went to the board with a deployment plan.

The project will see Service Stream replace its Microsoft Navision finance and supply chain software with modules from IFS under four phases to commence in August.

Van Dalen plans to roll out three modules - project management, finance and supply chain - in parallel, starting with one of Service Stream's business units (specifically the division that which builds mobile towers for providers).

Once that rollout is complete, the network construction division will be moved onto the new software, and then towards the end of the project the company's two other business units and support organisations will be deployed onto the new platform.

Van Dalen has also made moves to migrate off the ServiceNow workforce management application and onto a newly-signed provider, but was coy with the details ahead of more concrete work.

For the moment, Service Stream will continue using its ETADirect work order management platform while van Dalen assesses its future viability.

Work orders are included in the IFS bundle Service Stream has signed up for, but it is still unclear if the two platforms have similar capabilities.

The contract for phase one of the project includes over $2 million worth of licenses and services, IFS said.

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