Head of Business Applications Norway
Storebrand is one of the largest finance groups in the Nordic region. It is well established, has offices in many countries, and has previously invested in a variety of IT systems.
Now the company is practising what it preaches; in order to achieve both short-term and long-term benefits, it is gathering all its systems together on a single common platform.
For a long time now, users in the Storebrand group have had to deal with a large number of old and overlapping accounting systems that have never communicated with other systems in the workplace.
To ease the employees' working day and to open the way to standardising and streamlining the whole organisation, Storebrand wanted to establish a common Nordic accounting system that could be integrated with the other insurance systems in use.
After a thorough evaluation process, the choice of a new common platform for Storebrand fell on Unit4 Business World (UBW) from TietoEVRY.
We spoke to Storebrand's senior vice president for accounting some time after the system was launched, and he confirmed that the choice of system and cooperation partners had been the right one.
Photo: Joakim Kase, Senior Vice President Accounting at Storebrand
"We regard UBW as one of the key building blocks in our business-critical systems", says Joakim Kase, Senior Vice President Accounting at Storebrand.
A common platform gives us major advantages in the form of simplified reporting processes and at the same time makes critical management information more easily accessible. An added bonus is the positive impact the implementation has had on employee engagement.
"We see that it makes us better equipped to deal with the digitalisation which is going on throughout the finance industry and which generally strengthens Storebrand's competitiveness in both the short and long term. We regard this investment as a good "insurance policy" for the whole group", says Joakim.
Implementing a new business system is a huge project which many organisations dread starting on, but professional and experienced partners can make it easier to implement such a major change, which affects both procedures and employees.
In Storebrand the UBW systems consist of modules for general ledger/accounts, plant, accounts payable/accounts receivable and reports. The scale of the implementation project was huge, and involved many people.
"The project was completed on time after close cooperation between TietoEVRY as system supplier, KPMG as project manager, and our own highly engaged and talented project team members.
Cooperation throughout the project has been characterised by trust, transparency and solution orientation.
We also found that the suppliers manned our project with their most experienced consultants, which has a positive impact on implementation", Joakim adds.
High levels of expertise and a sound understanding of the industry were key factors when Storebrand decided to enter into an agreement to have the system delivered and operated by the same supplier. The selection process was comprehensive, and many criteria were assessed.
"We knew TietoEVRY to be a reliable partner with sound knowledge of the insurance industry, and we felt confident that they could provide the expertise and resources we would need", says Joakim.
According to Joakim, there are several factors that are decisive for succeeding, and he is happy to share his experiences with others:
"Choice of cooperation partner, freeing up time and resources in your own organisation, and firm entrenchment in senior management are crucial to the successful implementation of a new business system", says Joakim.
Moreover, we always opted for standard solutions wherever possible, even though it meant that our staff had to change their work procedures.
"All in all, there's no doubt that, at the operational and decision-making levels, we are now well equipped to deal with future challenges in an exciting industry", Joakim concludes.