Everywhere and anytime. This is what many people expect at work. Employees also work increasingly with colleagues and externals without sitting anywhere close to them. However, it has become crucial to collaborate efficiently, easily and in a professional manner to achieve the defined objectives. A case in point is the introduction of a company-wide ERP system.
Lukas Fischer, project manager in the Corporate Development team at Emmi, Switzerland's largest dairy processor, was part of the successful implementation of their new ERP system based on SAP between 2012 and 2017. The certainty that Emmi would not be able to deal without an integrated ERP system was matched with equally large respect: this was a huge project with many unknown factors at the start.
"Every core process is affected by the introduction of such a system: countless stakeholders, countless meetings, and a never-ending number of new people who have to be onboarded and get involved as quickly as possible," explains Lukas Fischer the situation. “How can we make sure that everyone in the project team is connected intelligently and that we do not have to spend too much time with administration and IT issues?” These were the questions the project team had right from the beginning."
Efficient collaboration – agile progress
Questions that were easy to answer at Emmi. As early as 2009, Emmi started to facilitate the company-wide collaboration across its various businesses. "We wanted to enable our employees to become more efficient and agile in their collaboration. Everyone had to be able to access relevant information and existing knowledge quicker and more effectively, as well as to communicate and collaborate digitally with all involved parties, from within the company and with externals. That was the goal.
EmmiNet - the name of the SharePoint-based solution at Emmi - crystallized as a future-oriented and sustainable platform. Emmi’s operating system was already Microsoft Office at that time, and that had to remain unchanged. Hence, a professional Microsoft-compatible platform had to be found to prepare the company for its digital transformation.
No file shares, less emails
"CoffeeNet, the collaboration solution by MondayCoffee, sparked our interest not just of its original name," the application managers summed up. "We were presented an out-of-the-box and user-friendly platform that allowed us to work more efficiently and effectively, from a collaboration, communication and an enterprise-wide document management point of view. That, of course, was exactly what we needed”, Lukas Fischer recalls.
File shares and thousands of emails with attachments were gradually becoming something of the past. Needless to say, the project workers needed time to get used to the new way of working. However, they quickly familiarized themselves with the benefits of this collaboration platform and made good use of it.
The concept and implementation phases of the ERP project were entirely handled over EmmiNet. All project members can access the various documents in virtual workspaces, working together at the same time and from any device. Project updates or meeting notes can be placed at the same location, where the task lists and documents are also stored, "Lukas Fischer explains. "This has helped us to focus on what really mattered."
The rollout of the ERP project across the entire group will also take place on the EmmiNet as it allows our international colleagues to access relevant information and data quickly and easily.
In parallel to the ERP rollout, Emmi's application managers developed the EmmiNet further and also switched from a on-premise to an online solution, based on SharePoint Online / Office 365. "We focused on user-friendliness, modern and intuitive design, and a strong search function", explains the SharePoint team leader at Emmi, Thomas Pizzolato.
"We handed over the responsibility for the daily administration of EmmiNet to the business. In other words, they had to decide what kind of workspaces they wanted to use for what kind of topic and with whom”, Thomas Pizzolato summarizes the most relevant change that came with the new development. That’s why adopting the new way of working away from file shares and towards SharePoint technology is not an IT project, but much rather a business project with a large change component. "But once the users are familiar with the advantages, they don’t’ want to go back.” Precisely because one can focus on what matters most!