Winnie Bøttern Thorgaard - IBM -
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Good teamwork with freelance specialists added value to Arla’s migration project

In cooperation with IBM, ARLA completed a 14-month implementation and migration project for which IBM’s Associate Partner & Delivery Project Executive Winnie Bøttern Thorgaard was project manager. The migration was to be implemented onto a SAP solution on an existing platform, and as the project progressed, Winnie Bøttern Thorgaard chose to bring in freelance SAP specialists from Accuro.

Business understanding and empathetic project management
– It was a far-reaching, multi-pronged implementation and migration project which was to be implemented on a SAP solution. Therefore, I brought freelance SAP specialists from Accuro into the IBM team. It was a really good collaboration from Day One. Accuro’s people were proactive in every way. Svend Ørum, one of the team leads and SAP specialists on the project, had quickly gained an overview of the details of the project and understood our needs. His collaboration was very empathetic. A good example of this is that we did not lose momentum when I suddenly needed freelance consultants. From Accuro’s portfolio of consultants, Svend Ørum could quickly refer the perfect candidates to further screening.

Teamwork and a good collaboration process are crucial
– Professional quality is important. But when we take on such a far-reaching assignment, what goes on at the personal level is at least equally important. Especially when your team has to function and collaborate smoothly over such a long period of time. We therefore made it clear that in screening freelance specialists, we were not just looking for skills and professionalism. We were looking at least as much at the personal side of things.
For me, it’s critical that the freelancers we employ are able to work in the context of where they have been placed. We often have several subcontractors in play at the same time. So it’s important that our associated specialists act and regard themselves as a part of the IBM team.

A partnership rather than a customer-supplier relationship
– With Accuro I experienced a special kind of engagement. I know that one of Accuro’s important criteria for success is the optimisation of their customers’ profits. This requires mutual trust and honesty in all situations. We experienced this almost immediately after we got started. For example, I did not have to be the gatekeeper for everything. I could depend on the fact that the people who were to take care of 90 percent of the clarifications would do just that. Throughout the project, Accuro demonstrated in practice that their unshakable goal for the collaboration was to improve the business solutions and methods. This meant there was a huge amount of mutual trust, not least because we were able to turn our daily collaboration into an effective partnership that was much more than a classic relationship between customer and supplier.

A very special collaboration culture
– For me it’s important that the project development process leaves room for a work culture in which you can be yourself. If this is the case, you can contribute freely with what you do best and perform as well as possible. The way I see it, there has to be room for individuality as well as professionalism, just as there should be room for a good laugh in the middle of all the seriousness. If we can’t have fun at work, then no one is really going to make a positive contribution in the long run.

A good atmosphere creates added value
– To a very great extent, good teamwork is about creating the optimal framework for a productive atmosphere. But it’s also about honesty and engagement. About a forthright approach to collaboration and an open communication about everything – the good and the not so good. When we can agree on a common goal and deadline and are completely honest, there can be no better framework for personal engagement.

– The consultants we got through Accuro were 10-15 percent better than average. They were not only chosen because of their skills, but also because of their years of experience. Very few of the many freelance consultants I’ve interviewed were not “in value”. Accuro hit the bull’s-eye with 95 percent of the freelance candidates who were put forward for an interview. This represents a very high level of quality which was directly reflected in the teamwork I experienced throughout the Arla project.

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