MCA Awards: Finalists – Best International Project

Friday 27th April, 2018

Our work with Uniper S.E. was recognised at the MCA Awards in the International Project category. The client, Stewart Griffiths, Head of Service Integration and Management stated, “Without Coeus’ support we simply would not have been able to stand up the new team in time and would have put critical systems at risk.”

Designing & Implementing A New IT Organisation For Newly Divested Company

Uniper SE, an energy generation and wholesale organisation, was formed by divesting E.ON's fossil fuel assets into a separate company in a move that the FT called ‘one of the most far-reaching corporate restructurings Germany has seen in recent years’ (1).

Dusseldorf-based Uniper began operations in January 2016 and became a wholly separate organisation in July 2017. It employs approximately 13,000 staff across Europe.

The split meant Uniper had to set up new corporate functions, including IT, but without the luxury of a ‘clean slate’ enabling best fit and best practice capabilities from the start. This was particularly true for their IT systems as Uniper needed to take on over 100 different critical IT services from E.ON, with over 20 legacy governance bodies, over 150 processes, multiple supplier contracts and over 200 staff as well as tangible assets.

Uniper recognised early on that they would need external expertise to plan and implement this significant change. Coeus Consulting were engaged in mid-2016 to work with the new Uniper Head of Service Integration and Management to ensure that they could meet the hard deadline of 1st July 2017 for full autonomy. E.ON had confirmed that no further support could be provided after this date leading to a risk that the IT services underpinning this critical national infrastructure provider, including energy trading systems, power station management and other business critical services would not be available after that date.

Approach

The Coeus team consisted of six experienced consultants with experience in successfully using newer approaches such as the SIAM sourcing and delivery model, as well as specific utilities understanding. The team recognised that key to the success of this multinational project was managing the cultural diversity of the client team - members came from at least six different European countries. To manage this, and minimize communication issues, Coeus suggested a number of measures including having the whole team onsite in Dusseldorf as much as possible and arranging informal team activities.

A significant challenge faced by Coeus was the divestment arrangements coupled with stringent German labour laws, which meant that many of the client programme team also had existing roles at E.ON and were unable to devote a lot of time to the programme until late in the delivery. Coupled with the highly complicated IT environment (overlapping processes, lack of clarity around ownership and complicated business-IT relationships) this meant that the Coeus team had to be highly flexible and resourceful to stand up the capabilities needed in time.

Results

Coeus met the deadline, helping Uniper avoid the huge risk of failure by driving the programme, ensuring that the right internal skills were present and continually updating processes and plans to make this achievable given the very fluid resources.

(1) https://www.ft.com/content/316ce884-1cdc-11e6-a7bc-ee846770ec15?mhq5j=e6 or Google search “Financial Times Eon and RWE pursue radical restructurings”