LAVA

Celebrating The New Year!

January is the month for celebrations. At least at LAVA. For this month’s off-site we gather at the lovely ‘Jour de Fête’ in Ghent. Socializing is key at this evening. We raise glasses in a toast to a new and successful year.

Our off-site is the ideal moment to put our two new colleagues, David and Lisa, in the spotlight. Like every new colleague, they get their five minutes of fame. Five minutes to introduce themselves in an original and creative way. For their five minutes, David and Lisa join forces and enthusiasm.

Through a series of pictures and tough questions, we need to sketch the profile of our new colleagues. It’s a quiz, and a competition, but also the perfect way to get to know them better. We learn that David is an avid kickboxer and likes to travel the world, while Lisa is the oldest in a family of seven and gives heart and soul for her youth movement. Together with Jorn and Jeroen, I am part of the winning team. I admit that intensive collaboration with David during his first two weeks might have given us an edge over the competition.

In a jolly atmosphere we are guided to our table,  richly decorated with the new LAVA branding material. We enjoy a delightful dinner.

Do you need help with setting a business strategy, implementing this strategy in your day-to-day operations, with improving operational excellence or business process optimization, don’t hesitate to contact us via info@lava-consulting.be!

Learn more about LAVA on www.lava-consulting.be!

LAVA END OF YEAR

LAVA END OF YEAR

LAVA

Google Glass – Inspiring business opportunities

During the LAVA Off-site meeting in November we were introduced to Google Glass, with live demonstrations and a multitude of possible applications for the business world. The Ghelamco Arena turned out to be the perfect venue for another inspiring meeting.

In short, Google Glass is a smart pair of glasses. A portable on your nose which projects information on a small screen just above your right eye. As a user you control your glasses with your voice or via a touchpad, incorporated in the frame of the glasses. With the touchpad you can scroll through a menu to display messages, play music, take pictures and videos.

The potential applications are almost endless. For example, you can read your emails or let them be read aloud, follow news postings and activate your GPS. In a professional context, Google Glass meanwhile delivers promising results leading to a higher quality of work and results.

Workers in production plants now receive digital work instructions via their Google Glass. Forget about paper-based instructions and monitoring. The maintenance engineer high in the mast of a windmill in the North Sea sends via Google Glass images to his fellow expert, watching and helping from his office 1.200 kilometers away.

LAVA monthly off-site meeting november

Also in utilities countless applications exist. Think of reading and real-time digital processing of meter readings. The work of a field engineer working on water or electricity installations or the stock levels of spare parts which can be updated from the field in real time. Tasks which are becoming easier with digital instructions via Google Glass.

Google Glass will improve the quality of work and business results significantly.

Looking for help to optimize processes and improve business results?

Please contact us.

We’re happy to help!

LAVA

Let me out!

The place where we meet for the LAVA’s December Off-site, located in the heart of Brussels. Everyone is nicely on time. No wonder, because not on time, means being locked out.

We start the evening classically with a sip and a bite. Afterwards we move to the tiniest meeting room ever, where teams give updates on their ‘shared objective projects’. At LAVA, we work with shared objectives, instead of individual objectives. This year’s themes are, amongst others, Branding, Service Portfolio and LAVA to the cloud. People team up and work along the year to reach their targets. All objectives are interlinked; in order to get the highest quality teams need to reach out to each other and collaborate. So this is how ‘Shared objectives’ is a fixed topic in each monthly off-site’s agenda.

Then it is time to get introduced to the Escape Game. There are three escape rooms: the Prison Cell, the Space Shuttle and Alice in Wonderland. We split up in three teams. Each team gets locked up in a room and has exactly 60 minutes to breaking into codes, to solve mysteries, puzzles and riddles. I am in team Prison Cell. The first minutes we spend, each on his own, looking for that first crucial hint that will lead to all other clues. Geert finds the first key and soon the team spirit is being built and we reach cruising speed. We look for tips in and outside the cell, using mirrors, sticks, books, a prehistoric cell phone, etc. In the exact 60st minute we hear the clicking of the cell door being unlocked. This is such a fun team game! In the bar, we meet up with the other two teams enjoying their drinks. A great off-site, an inspiring evening!

If you want to hear more about LAVA, our shared objectives, or team building activities, please contact me at info@lava-consulting.be.

 

Get inspired by LAVA on www.lava-consulting.be.

Learn about the Escape Game on http://www.letmeout.be/.

LAVA

LAVA plays with Lego Serious Play

During the off-site of October, we played. With Lego blocks. Saint-Nicolas had nothing to do with it. We wanted to get acquainted with a new way of sharing ideas and opinions within our team and to come to a common solution with everyone’s support. It started off a bit strange, but after some warming up, we got into a flow!

The key question of the night was: “In what way can we connect our colleagues in a stronger way, even if most of them are working at a client site for 95% of their time?”. Nico, the workshop facilitator, guided us to formulating our answer in gradual steps. For each question, my colleagues and I were literally building our answer. After a few minutes, everyone got the opportunity to explain their work of art.

The Lego blocks sparked a lot of imagination and creativity. My colleague, Edwin, kept his structure rather abstract. In his story, each block had a clear and specific role and meaning. Geert preferred to create high structures, while Mathieu gave the gear wheel a central spot. Jorn consistently chose a continuously turning wheel. Each personal story clarified why the builder made certain decisions.

LAVA plays with Lego Serious Play during monthly off-site meeting of October

LAVA plays with Lego Serious Play during monthly off-site meeting of October

When you were lacking inspiration at some point, then you could just start experimenting with the block, and the rest would follow!

The real power of Lego Serious Play is that it includes all participants. It’s impossible to hide! Moreover, through visualizing your ideas, they are remembered better. In addition, the individual structures can be easily connected to each other, so you can really build towards a common solution!

At the end of the night, we came to the realization that our individual view on the company goals is quite similar, also the way we want to reach that goal as a group. It was surprising to see how each personal story got a certain level of objectivity by expressing yourself with the help of a concrete structure. Your self-constructed object does the talking for you, and this helps to discuss sensitive ideas or issues!

With the simple click of a camera, ideas could be captured to share them afterwards with the colleagues that couldn’t make it to the off-site.

Lego Serious Play was a lot of fun, and we shared a good part of laughter and, the colleagues got to know each other better! In summary, a good off-site meeting, and a successful Lego experience.

Some tips when trying Lego Serious Play:

  • Define a clear scope or question
  • Use open-ended questions during the workshop
  • Take picture and make a poster of the building process and the end result
  • Film the workshop to capture the stories behind the structures
  • Put the final construction on a central location in the office

Definitely consider Lego Serious Play when preparing a workshop! If you want some help with the preparation or organization of your workshop, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!

LAVA Family Day at Sea

Sunday morning 10AM. Blue skies. A large beach at the North Sea and a strong wind from the West. It’s October 2016 at surf club ‘De Kwinte’ in Westende.

Colleagues and their partners and kids arrive at the surf club, warmly dressed and excited for a full day of fun and action at the Belgian coast.

Ever had a laser battle in the dunes? Pictures speak louder than words! Young and old played their heart out to defend their camp and conquer the enemies’. Alliances were made, broken and infiltrated. Luckily, this was practically painless and completely environment friendly.

At the same time, another group gave their very best in a series of games on the beach: hockey, a giant globe, beach volleyball, Brazilian soccer and Frisbee. More calm and less risky than a laser battle you would guess. Think again! Yours truly had the dubious honor of bringing a colleague to the emergency room after a small collision during the hockey game. A small head wound was the verdict. Giving 150%, it’s in LAVA’s DNA. For the client, but also at the beach!

LAVA Family Day

LAVA Family Day

A real-life pirate took the younger generation on a crazy (pirate) adventure, with an awesome treasure as reward at the end!

After a well-deserved BBQ under a clear sky, it was time to start the go-cart race. The ingredients were brain-teasers (and small fun facts about colleagues), physical activities, and a lot of kilometers! The winners of the race were rewarded with a bottle of Magnum.

Tired, happy and with a healthy glow, the LAVA colleagues returned home after a perfect family day!

Kathleen

 

Inspired to organize this activity for your team? Contact us and we’ll be glad to share our reference with you!

Want to know more about LAVA? Check our website: www.lava-consulting.be

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.

Read more about SD Worx on www.sdworx.com.

Read more about LAVA on www.lava-consulting.be.

LAVA CONSULTING

Lava footprint at Midzomernachtrun Ghent

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LAVA_midzomernachtrun_1

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LAVA_midzomernachtrun_4

De Watergroep & LAVA

De Watergroep improves its Business Integration

De Watergroep, the largest drinking water company in the Flanders’ Region in Belgium (1.470 employees and 3 million customers in 175 Flemish communities) successfully increased its end-to-end business integration. Here is the story of how De Watergroep did so, and how LAVA helped.

The core business of De Watergroep is the production and distribution of drinking water, the management of drinking water infrastructure and the disposal and treatment of waste water. For large corporates, De Watergroep also offers tailor-made solutions for their full water cycle management.

A while ago, De Watergroep started to feel the need for better business performance and effectiveness. One of the decisions was to redesign business processes and to have them integrated and supported by one, integrated ERP application that would replace the legacy applications.

With this decision, De Watergroep signed for an important, companywide project, with a lot of change in many business processes: order-to-cash, service management, billing, asset management, logistics, procure-to-pay and finance.

This project would have an important impact on the organization, with a lot of stakeholders, internal lines of authorities and a lot of change. LAVA helped De Watergroep with project management, business process redesign and implementing change.

 

The project team started by forming small, dedicated expert teams and facilitated workshops to redesign business processes. The expert teams consisted of people from different business units, which guaranteed that processes were assessed and designed in an integrated, ‘end-to-end’ way.

In a next phase the ERP application was intensively tested to make sure that it would support the business processes to the full.

The way these tests were done, was unique and new for De Watergroep.

Test teams consisted of people representing all related business departments. Besides standard test scenario’s, the teams were asked to design, validate and perform exceptional test scripts related to their specific day-to-day work. The teams were encouraged to take full ownership.

People felt involved in the project and the change that it induced. A nice, extra outcome of the integrated project approach is that decision making processes run easier now. People feel more involved, and take more ownership.

The business integration project has been finalized. The partnership between De Watergroep and LAVA has moved to other business domains. We focus now on, amongst others, finance and logistic optimization, service management and mobile office.

 

Read more about De Watergroep on www.dewatergroep.be.

Read more about LAVA on www.lava-consulting.be.

VLAAMS ENERGIEBEDRIJF

Knowledge, driven by energy

 

‘Decreasing the energy cost of the public sector’,
that is Vlaams EnergieBedrijf’s mission since its start on January 1st, 2015.
During months, this start had been prepared for in a very meticulous way.
LAVA, as trusted partner, worked along with Vlaams EnergieBedrijf, to prepare the organization for its go-to-market.
An intensive collaboration, with a result to be proud of.

Inne Peersman, Director Deliveries, Vlaams EnergieBedrijf

 

Kimble & LAVA

LAVA’s business growth supported by Kimble

The challenges facing LAVA

LAVA is a dynamic and growing consulting services company focusing on target markets such as Utilities & Telecom, Professional Services and SME.

It helps organizations in the context of strategy definition, operational models, performance optimization, post-merger integration, and IT and supply chain advisory services, leading them and their people through important and challenging changes.

LAVA’s fast-growing team of consultants operates across BeNeLux, France, Italy and Morocco.

At its incorporation, it made sense to use Excel spread sheets to store and manage critical information pertaining to managing opportunities, planning, time registration, invoicing, forecasting, reporting, recruitment and selection, and various P&L lines. However, as the business began to grow, the relationship between all those separate information sources became cumbersome to manage in a timely and accurate fashion. It was difficult to get a single reliable source of data that could be easily managed and viewed.

LAVA wished to give its people a more holistic view of the business in order to better understand revenue and profit, and to follow up new business opportunities in a more structured way.

Luc De Keyser, managing partner, wanted to reach this goal by democratizing access to a single source of accurate data on all mission critical processes.

Barriers to growth / Overcoming its business hurdles

“Since vendor selection management is one of our services it was easy for us to apply the same process to our own needs. When choosing a vendor and an application, it is key to focus on strategic business changes you’re trying to drive; not on features and functionality.

“After preliminary research into the types of professional services automation tools that were out there and their capabilities, we soon created an RFP that covered our requirements.”

A small team (consisting of a representative of each business function that would be impacted) was responsible for creating the shortlist and whittling it down to the final selection. Four companies received the RFP and presented product demonstrations, with the whole process from writing the original requirements to the selection of Kimble on March 1st 2015 taking around three months.

 

Outcomes for LAVA

Benefits quickly made themselves known. Timesheets and expenses are now submitted and instantly processed weekly, instead of monthly, which has turned invoicing from “a nightmare into a pleasure” (from five days’ data processing to ‘push the button’). Kimble now provides LAVA with a real-time view of sales opportunities, resource planning, time and expenses, and company reports.

The introduction of Kimble has induced a company culture where consultants take ownership of both delivery and sales. Everyone now has access to revenue and profitability data, providing insights that allow people to take sales action that will improve delivery profitability.

“Thanks to the increased transparency on company performance and capacity, Kimble continues to support us in turning ourselves in a sales-driven consultancy firm.

De Keyser also cites the advantage of moving to Salesforce’s stable and mature platform, to which Kimble is native, since it guarantees the future proofing of any further investments in infrastructure the company may later take.

De Keyser remarks: “With Kimble, we’ve got a much better structured and clear view of sales opportunities, forecasts, and a single perspective on prospects, customers, and other contacts. We can see work in progress in real time, and with data accuracy we’re confident with.

Read more about Kimble on http://www.kimbleapps.com/.

Read more about LAVA on http://www.lava-consulting.be/.