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UPM: Enabling a New Vision for Collaboration

UPM partnered with Accenture and Avanade to create a unified collaboration platform, built on Microsoft technologies, that supports its journey to high performance.


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UPM reset its strategy to focus on sustainability and innovation. However, aging, fragmented end-user technology made it difficult for employees to collaborate and share information. UPM partnered with Accenture and its affiliate, Avanade, to create and implement a Microsoft-based unified platform that brought a new way of working to UPM. The Workspace program—completed on time, under budget and with minimal disruption—is allowing UPM employees to collaborate and communicate more effectively and efficiently, and is helping UPM make its strategic vision a reality.

Based in Helsinki, Finland, UPM is a global leader in the new forest industry. With recyclable products made of renewable raw materials, UPM has three primary business groups: energy and pulp; paper; and engineered materials. The company employs approximately 24,000 people, has production plants in 16 countries and maintains a sales network spanning more than 40 countries. UPM’s 2011 sales were an estimated US$13.2 billion.

Business Challenge

UPM reformulated its strategic direction to become “The Biofore Company,” with “bio” standing for future orientation and good environmental performance, and “fore” referring to forest biomass and being at the forefront of new developments. This strategy called for UPM to take a sustainable, innovation-driven approach to its business.

“The Biofore vision has changed the way we see the future of our business and the industry,” says Turkka Keskinen, chief information officer at UPM. “It was clear that our new direction and new values required new ways of working.” That in turn required tools that would allow employees to share ideas and information more effectively.

However, UPM’s existing end-user information technology was relatively old and fragmented, and often did not provide the functionality that employees needed to collaborate and drive innovation.

As a result, UPM decided to implement a unified platform, based on Microsoft software, that would give employees the consistent, up-to-date tools they needed to effectively work together and collaborate in pursuit of high performance. It was also clear that this company-wide effort, involving thousands of users and thousands of desktop systems, would have to be carefully managed.

How We Helped

Accenture led the UPM Workspace effort, with overall program management being conducted by a combined team of UPM and Accenture managers. After an initial planning phase, the implementation of the new unified platform was conducted in the following four phases:

  • Roll out of more than 13,000 workstations with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010.

  • Creation of two new UPM customer-facing websites and nearly 30 intranet sites, based on Microsoft SharePoint 2010.

  • Launch of new e-mail and communication tools (e.g., Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Lync) delivered via Microsoft Cloud Services.

  • Implementation of collaboration sites that leveraged SharePoint.

Several factors were key to the success of the program. They included:

  • Clear program governance and a comprehensive mode-of-operation document.

  • Effective and efficient coordination among more than 1,500 global contributors from UPM’s line organization and IT partners./

  • Strong emphasis on change management that enabled and encouraged the use of the newly implemented tools.

  • Robust and flexible training for all UPM employees.

According to Philippe Brikké, director of strategic projects at UPM, “We involved end-users right from the beginning—even before the actual implementation began—and then communicated with them throughout the journey. That played a key role in fostering understanding, engagement and buy-in for the change and building success for the overall initiative.”

High Performance Delivered

The UPM Workspace program was completed on schedule, with an aggressive 16-month implementation that came in under budget. In addition, even though the effort brought significant change to the UPM workforce, it was conducted with minimal disruption to the organization.

“We have completely recreated our electronic work environment,” says UPM’s Brikké. “We now have a unified platform with common tools, applications and processes, and modern functionality. This lets us find and share information and ideas across the organization more effectively and work smarter.”

This truly collaborative way of working is vital to UPM becoming a high-performance business—and it is at the heart of UPM’s Biofore strategy. “The UPM Workspace program is helping us instill our core values into the organization, and making collaboration, sustainability and innovation an integral part of our working culture,” says UPM’s Keskinen. “By doing so, this initiative is helping us make the Biofore vision a reality.”

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