Why people made the difference in this successful ERP transformation

Technology-enabled transformations succeed only when you put as much focus on the people who will use a system as you do on the technology solution itself. Changing hearts and minds to achieve organisation-wide buy-in was key to this successful technology transformation driven by Skanska—a leading international construction company—during its implementation of Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP, supported by PwC.

Client: Skanska

Executive Summary

  • Skanska, a leading international construction company, chose Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP to modernise it’s back office technology platform.
  • Following a number of attempts to implement the solution, PwC were approached by the Skanska Executive team to help reset and refocus the programme and set it up for success.
  • Having supported multiple Engineering & Construction clients on Oracle Cloud ERP journeys, PwC brought this expertise and experience to support Skanska as their Transformation Delivery Partner; playing key leadership roles across governance, project management office, business readiness, data migration, testing and solution and process readiness.
  • Additionally, a laser-focus was placed on the people who would be using the ERP system, turning a difficult implementation into an enterprise-wide transformation that placed Skanska’s people at the centre of the change.
  • Following the successful go live, Skanska now have real time access to more reliable data, and have created a strong digital foundation on which to run its business and support the organisation over the longer term.

Case Study

Skanska is a leader in the construction of buildings and infrastructure in the UK and has spearheaded several major UK construction projects—including the development of the Gherkin in Central London, London City Airport and Birmingham New Street Station’s iconic curved ceilings. Alongside these projects, the company also operates across the real estate, defence, education, highways, rail and water sectors.

Skanska needed an advanced technology solution to consolidate and streamline its data generation and back-office processing once its existing system reached end of life. It chose the Oracle Fusion Cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform and had made a number of attempts to implement the new solution with a systems integrator (SI).

Skanska reached out to PwC to help get the implementation back on track with a new approach to the project: a human-led, tech-powered change programme that added clarity, robust governance and certainty over the outcomes that would be delivered for the business. By collecting honest feedback and focusing on developing a high-performing team across the different parties involved, PwC prioritised Skanska's people and placed them at the heart of the transformation in becoming a data-driven and digitally enabled organisation. Throughout the programme and at all levels within the governance model, there was an equal focus on two questions: “is the business ready?” along with “does the technology work?”.

The challenge: collaborating to implement lasting change

Skanska’s goal was to help its people, business and suppliers work together in a more integrated, streamlined and data-driven way and to improve the transparency of data and business performance. It had a huge opportunity to standardise and centralise back-office processing as well as replacing the previously siloed data processing to support data-driven decisions. The silos were a result of working across a wide range of industries with a diverse array of operational and enabling function departments, all generating large amounts of data. The new ERP system, Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP, would provide Skanska with confidence in the processes and trust in the data that is used to drive the performance of the business.

Despite the clear benefits of the solutions, previous attempts to implement the system had stalled due to the project becoming too focused on the technical implementation of the software. Skanska needed a new approach that gave equal focus to the people and cultural aspects of the change programme to transform ways of working across the organisation.

Our role

Skanska engaged PwC to support a review and reset of its ERP programme and subsequently as its transformation partner to deliver on the recommendations identified in the review. PwC drew upon its extensive experience of delivering technology and business transformation programmes to offer practical advice and play key leadership roles across governance, project management office, business readiness, data migration, testing and solution and process readiness.

The approach: a human-led, tech-powered change programme and implementation

To successfully move forward with the implementation—with the backing of its executive management team—Skanska needed a business transformation partner that could bring industry-specific practical expertise and advice. It also needed a partner that understood how to build trust across teams, to re-energise and refocus people so that Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP could be successfully implemented in summer 2022. PwC and Skanska adopted a one-team mentality, working alongside the system integrator and external contractors to conduct the full programme reset and deliver meaningful, lasting change, for 3000+ staff and 450+ suppliers.

Working with the project team and Skanska’s executive management team, PwC helped redirect and re-focus the initiative. A critical part of this course correction was to ensure the right people were in the right roles and to build senior sponsorship. PwC also optimised the governance and project management aspects that provided certainty over delivery and built confidence with stakeholders that the business outcomes would be delivered.

Implementing technology alone will not drive genuine, long-lasting, sustainable change. Skanska needed a people-centric approach to embrace and adopt the standard best practices that underpin cloud technologies at an enterprise level, rather than trying to tailor practices to meet employees’ existing ways of working.

Our team focused on building transparency and trust across every level of the change programme and the business, starting with the senior Skanska team members, who were each personally committed to overcoming the previous unsuccessful attempts to implement the solution.

By engaging with the people who would use the system, we were able to identify how best to help them along the implementation journey. We worked to empower end users out in the field—whether at a construction site, managing a facility or in corporate offices—to adopt the new ways of working and use the single source of truth provided by accurate data to make more informed decisions.

Our approach and delivery were underpinned by strong engineering and construction knowledge, Oracle technology expertise, as well as by enterprise-wide business transformation experience. We were able to apply learnings from similar projects in the construction industry and our suite of methods and assets to optimise the ERP delivery. Central to this was the creation and operation of a project management office, which helped coordinate and communicate project activities and provide assurance on progress.

Putting people at the centre of the programme meant that PwC could provide a strong digital foundation to make further improvements and apply best practice in Skanska’s finance, procurement and commercial processes. This included hosting over 350 of the most-impacted end users at a series of immersive events aimed at driving engagement to help them understand the impact of the changes, see the system in action and hear about the journey ahead.

Highlighting the impact of PwC’s support on delivery of the programme, Martin Neeson, Executive Vice President and Programme Sponsor at Skanska, said, “PwC helped us to review, reset and ultimately deliver our ERP programme, bringing deep expertise in a number of key areas to support the on-time delivery of the programme. The support they provided was instrumental in Skanska successfully rolling out and adopting the new ways of working that the ERP solution delivered.”

In partnership with a strong Skanska team, we achieved our overall goal, to deliver the whole revised programme on time and within budget, hitting every major milestone along the way.

The impact: empowering Skanska and its people to become a data-driven, streamlined organisation

By building and maintaining a one-team mindset and focusing on culture and people, PwC and Skanska achieved exactly what they set out to do together: they successfully delivered the entire revised project on time and within the agreed budget. And they did so at pace —the Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP was successfully delivered to the majority of the UK business in a single day, followed by post go-live support to embed new ways of working, drive end user adoption and transition the programme into business-as-usual operations within Skanska.

The delivery empowered Skanska to create the digital foundation on which to run its business and support the organisation over the long term. Supported by quarterly updates of Oracle Cloud technology, which will bring new and enhanced functionality, this foundation will be vital for Skanska to make continuous improvements in its finance, procurement and commercial processes, as well as to deliver lasting benefits for the business. A key benefit of the project is real-time access to more reliable data, with the delivery of enhanced reporting and customisation via project dashboards. This gives Skanska a single source of truth for its data; disparate legacy systems and Excel sheets are now a thing of the past.

Commenting on the success of the project reset and ERP implementation, Skanska Chief Information Officer (CIO) Barry Smith said, “PwC worked alongside Skanska, our system integrator and other contractors in a ‘one team approach’. The PwC team brought a high level of rigour, forward planning, ERP and change expertise to help us to a successful outcome. PwC were the exemplar of how a consultant can work with a client to collaboratively reach a successful outcome.”

The laser focus on the people who would be using the ERP system drove Skanska’s resulting success, turning difficult implementation into a company-wide transformation. Acknowledging this, Robin McBurnie, PwC Partner, said, “I’m really proud of what the PwC and Skanska team achieved in partnership on this memorable programme. We put a lot of emphasis on the importance of the people factors in work of this nature and a huge factor was how the team from Skanska put their best people at all levels into the programme.” Joining the dots between the people and the programme, McBurnie added that the “resulting strong business ownership of the project meant that, despite the complexity of the transformation, we had the enhanced levels of commitment, drive and decision making critical for success.”

Contact us

Robin McBurnie

Robin McBurnie

UK Oracle Lead, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7595 850026

Mark Slater

Mark Slater

Engineering & Construction Oracle Lead, Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7483 399345

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