SD Worx & LAVA

LAVA helps SD Worx preparing for a major application upgrade

SD Worx is a top player for expertise and services in Payroll, HR and Tax & Legal matters within Belgium and across Europe.  One of its business applications, X-Tend, supporting payroll and HR related processes and developed in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, contains legacy functionalities and required an important upgrade.

As Microsoft is releasing Microsoft Dynamics AX 2015, SD Worx decided to align its current X-Tend solution to this new standard, in order to support further growth of the solution and avoid potential customer attrition due to not being compatible with the latest Microsoft Dynamics AX version.  The new solution will benefit from the most recent standard Microsoft Dynamics AX solution elements enriched with relevant payroll and HR functionalities. It will reduce the maintenance costs structurally and will introduce new sales by offering a state-of-the-art payroll and HR solution. Here is the story of how SD Worx prepared for alignment, and how LAVA helped.

This business context has been reflected in a project business case, that exposed the many contextual elements that influence the long term results of this investment.  It included the calculated rough cut benefit and cost assessment, listed the qualitative benefits and rated them for four different scenarios (from a pure technical upgrade to a from-scratch functional upgrade) with pro’s and con’s.  The project owner requested management approval for the outcome of the business case, and to select the preferred scenario.

As a direct outcome of the business case, SD Worx decided to detail the business and product requirements. LAVA was requested to facilitate this crucial phase and deployed an approach that successfully led to the agreed requirements.

A team of internal consultants was selected and was coached to work according to SD Worx standards, combining the System Context Diagram (SCD), the Volere methodology and previous experience. These methodologies helped defining detailed business and software requirements, and business rules. Each team member focused on a specific set of business requirements. Being physically in the same room to perform this job ensured swift peer-to-peer validations and methodology alignment.

In a number of workshops the methodology got further refined, mainly to have a more common approach on nomenclature and definitions. Again peer-to-peer reviews proved very valuable. Extra assessments were done by key users outside the project team and by customer user groups.

Additionally, the product was assessed from the end user perspective for which so called ‘use cases’ were designed. These use cases will support the functional and technical consultants during the future design and build of the solution. Later on, once the application is built, the same use cases will act as backbone for testing the performance of the application.

Once a sharp view on how the solution should look like and how it should support SD Worx’ business, the vendor selection process was initiated.

Vendors were informed about the project business objectives, the solution’s requirements and the selection process. The Request for Proposal (RFP) included a responsibilities’ matrix (SD Worx versus vendor) and the contract framework.

During the following six weeks proposal phase Q&A sessions were organized to help vendors improving their proposal. Using a bottom-up voting process the final vendor was selected, and recommended to the investment board.

The board approved the investment proposal and the business case. Negotiations with the selected vendor resulted in a signed contract in less than two weeks.

Another two weeks later a motivated, eager, diverse and international team kicked-off the start of the realization of the solution.

This assignment is another example of LAVA continuing to carry out its mission: listening to clients, attaining a deep understanding of their needs and opportunities and driving change in the core of clients’ business.

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