CGI and Gaz Métropolitain: Synergy Leads to Flawless SAP Implementation
Gaz Métropolitain is a growing company with 1,300 employees and annual sales of some $1.3 billion. As Quebec’s principal natural gas distributor, it has approximately 160,000 customers in the province and a pipeline network of 8,493 kilometers. Gaz Métropolitain also conducts extensive activities in Vermont.
The SAPHIR project was launched in 2000 to redefine all of the company’s business processes. Robert Tessier, President and CEO of Gaz Métropolitain, stated that the project was “central to our pledge of performance and the building of tomorrow’s Gaz Métropolitain.”
Recognizing that success would come through better access to information, the company executive decided to adopt the SAP system and implement it in two phases, following an ambitious timetable. It therefore became essential that Gaz Métropolitain find project partners who were not only known for their efficiency in development, implementation and post-implementation, but also for their expertise in knowledge transfer, which demanded enormous collaboration and synergy on the part of employees. “CGI’s recognized strength in all of these areas as well as the exceptional flexibility it demonstrated from the very beginning of contract discussions earned it a $4 million mandate extending over two to three years,” said Hughes Beaudoin, Director, Information Management at Gaz Métropolitain.
Highly aware of the challenges of the SAPHIR project, the CGI team immediately positioned itself as a natural ally of Gaz Métropolitain, adapting itself easily to the company’s needs and the ever-evolving deadlines, integrating smoothly into internal teams and demonstrating a real interest in Gaz Métropolitain’s global business objectives. This strong client-oriented approach by CGI was evident in both the initial project discussions and particularly in the assignment of highly qualified ABAP developers who were capable of accomplishing the work much faster than most, while providing training to internal resources. “The CGI team integrated so well into ours that we felt as though they were our own employees!” stated Mr. Beaudoin when speaking of the first phase of the project (implementation of the MM - Material Management, HR - Human Resources/Payroll, FI - Finance, and CO – Comptrolling modules).
- SAP system, Version 4.6C
- DB2 database
- RISK/6000 server
The first phase of the SAPHIR project was completed in October 2001 to the complete satisfaction of Gaz Métropolitain. A number of innovative applications complemented the planned administrative programs. “The first phase of the SAP implementation was carried out on time and on budget – a real accomplishment,” explained Mr. Beaudoin. “Our partners at CGI brought us the greatest gains in terms of time and money. We were not only impressed by how quickly they worked – 25% faster than our estimates – but also by their considerable technological expertise and creativity. These qualities allowed us to reap the maximum benefit from the solutions, while often minimizing our costs to a surprising extent.”
The CGI team was also exemplary in its ability to systematically transfer knowledge – a fundamental component of Gaz Métropolitain’s corporate culture. Mr. Beaudoin confirmed that the four employees who received ABAP programming training by CGI are now completely comfortable with their new skills, thanks to the training they were given and the support that they continue to receive as required, “because the project is ongoing and the CGI experts are an integral part of it,” he says. “They’ve become very much a part of the team.” Visionary, realistic and well supported, Gaz Métropolitain is currently involved in a new phase of the SAPHIR project (PM – Plant Management module), which will be followed by the UCCS – Utility Customer Care system module – for large business clients, and the final module of the project, the UCCS – Utility Customer Care System, for small and medium-sized companies and residential customers. The CRM module (Customer Relationship Management) is being evaluated and might also be integrated into the project’s final phase. Rarely are companies able to transfer so rapidly to SAP virtually all of their applications, from administrative infrastructure to customer functions.
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