Bentley Systems Improves Internal Culture With Transparency and Communication

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Employee Engagement
Employee Engagement
Change management is never easy. So Bentley Systems decided that to make change stick, there's no such thing as over-communication.

Bentley Systems creates business software for architects, engineers, and others who work on infrastructure projects. But when it came to its departmental data, the company needed an overhaul on its own data infrastructure.

Earlier this year Bentley began the task of bringing consistency to how its financial operations and technical support departments use its SAP CRM system. The goal was to migrate both departments to use the same Service Tickets tools instead of Activities tools for more effeicient and consistent use of customer data. This required both technical and cultural changes.

Because the two business groups historically used the systems differently object types for almost a decade, there was an overall perception that the inherent difference in functions required this separation to continue, says Laurie Beauchamp, director of technical support for the Americas. "It was hard to see the 'forest for the trees,' so-to-speak, because everyone focused on the details of their duties instead of taking a step back to view the entire picture." Efforts could be streamlined and shared among departments to improve customer resolution time and efficiencies.

The company set out to change perception by communicating the benefits to the individual departments. "Regular, collaborative meetings with thought leaders and subject matter experts from both teams were required," Beauchamp adds. "Our IS team lead the dialogue and played an important role.We deconstructed the existing processes to a fundamental level and demonstrated how the Service Ticket object not only met all of the requirements that the Activities were fulfilling, but provided additional functionality, as well, [like] email correspondence captured in the business context." The IS team also incorporated department-specific tools into the system for financial operations, which helped with user adoption.

The biggest influence on change management was the formal communication. "Both businesses, and Bentley overall, have benefited from the improved communications and teamwork that resulted from the project," Beauchamp adds."Regular, structured communication -- meetings with agenda items and meeting notes -- is essential. And the appropriate players need to be involved; we needed both the thought leaders and the subject matter experts involved as these were not always the same individuals.Also, having IS play a moderator and facilitator role was important, as IS could make suggestions that were well-received and adopted because of the perceived objective, third-party viewpoint."

As a result, Bentley successfully streamlined its processes and procedures within both the financial operations and technical support departments. "We can use the same documentation and training materials," Beauchamp says."Additionally, we have the ability of uniform reporting from the business warehouse for overall customer service levels. Our customers are the ones who see improved issue-response time, more efficient routing of their issues to the correct department the first time, and a consistent user experience."

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EXPERT OPINION