System update: successful

INSIGHTS - 15/07/2020

The Sedna platform will transform the way staff in Wallem’s Agency business carry out their work. The new platform is already up and running in Hong Kong and Singapore, with other sites due to come online soon.

What was the most difficult part of the project so far?

Andy Chan, IT Projects Director, Wallem Group: Wallem’s agency business has used corporate email systems like Outlook for pretty much as long as anyone can remember. So initially the idea of sweeping it all away and introducing a new platform was greeted with a degree of skepticism. Some thought it would be counterproductive, particular if it turned out there was a steep learning curve and prolonged transition. These worries proved unfounded however as staff acclimatized within weeks of it going live. So far SEDNA has lived up to our expectations for enabling greater collaboration among the different teams in the Agency business than was ever possible with conventional email setup.

Alex Crooks, Product Manager, Sedna: A distinguishing feature of the roll-out was that we didn’t provide on-site training or change management support due to the pandemic, which would normally accompany a project of this scale, making it one of our first fully remote launches. So, we were delighted with how everything proceeded so smoothly. Of course, the credit really belongs to the Wallem IT team, who demonstrated unparalleled professionalism and enthusiasm in the way they engaged and led their teams’ transition to SEDNA

Did anything catch you by surprise during the roll-out?

Andy Chan: Not really. Thanks to meticulous planning and repeated user training, the rollout was largely uneventful. There were some minor teething problems in the weeks immediately after the system came online, but that’s only to be expected. But they were nothing serious and resolved within days, if not hours.

Alex Crooks: I was astounded by how quickly and easily the teams at Wallem embraced SEDNA. I think it reflects the energy put in by Wallem’s IT team and ‘super-users’ (selected to represent each team) with our training and solution consultants in the final countdown to the official launch to ensure that SEDNA’s configuration aligned as closely as possible with Wallem’s internal processes. Thanks to those efforts, it was our smoothest ever launch experience.

Andy, are there any colleagues you would like to thank for their contribution?

It’s hard to single out specific individuals as it’s very much been a team undertaking from the start. However, Sandy Chan in Hong Kong went the extra mile at every stage of the project from initial planning right through to post launch support. She was central to coordinating the business users before the platform went online and has since become the “go-to” person for anyone needing support. Jenny Wu deserves credit too. She effectively became our local SEDNA ambassador in Singapore. Despite being a relative newcomer to the team, she quickly earned her colleagues’ respect for her dedication and drive to bring the project to fruition. But I suppose really I would like to give everyone a big ‘thank you’ for their effort and cooperation.

What features have proved popular?

Andy Chan: Email categorization is hugely popular among the ops team as it lets them prioritize tasks more effectively. The ability to tag and alert someone in a task was also welcomed. They’re also impressed with the responsiveness of the search functions through category and tags.

Their colleagues in customer support also like the tagging functionality, as it’s easier to keep track of who has read an incoming message and will action the request. The ability to drag-and-drop attachments directly to composed emails and preview attached Excel files has gone down well in the finance team, as has the follow-up alarm function for setting reminders.

Can staff still using the old system still interact and collaborate with colleagues already on the new platform?

Andy Chan: Yes, they can. We spent a good deal of time sitting down with the business teams to determine the best way to run business mailboxes on SEDNA and personal mailboxes on Wallem Outlook in tandem. We also implemented some behind-the-scenes technical changes to make the transition as seamless as possible in terms of ensuring both 100% business continuity and user experience.

Most users have adjusted quickly to using dual mailboxes without ambiguity. In the Ops team, for example, we’re seeing Outlook used less and less, except for occasional personal communication. The same thing can be seen in Customer Services, where Sedna is used for day-to-day communications with customers, while Outlook is restricted to personal use or HR matters.

How can staff prepare? What training is available?

Andy Chan: We’ve organized briefing sessions, on-site discovery workshops, and refresher training to keep users warm on our course of migration. We are indebted to our ‘fast-learners’ who’ve assisted on the ground helping bring their team up to speed. The feedback we’ve had so far suggests people are finding the system pretty intuitive.

Alex Crooks: Wallem IT and SEDNA have created a library of training materials specific to the Wallem implementation, and further resources are available at Team members all receive remote training from an experienced SEDNA training consultant and afterwards their team’s super-user can step in to offer further support.

In terms of implementation, what’s still left to be done?

Andy Chan: The backbone of the system is all in place. And now that Hong Kong and Singapore are up and running, our primary focus is the next phase to introduce the platform at other regional offices.

Are you planning to celebrate or take a break?

Andy Chan: We would love to but not just yet. The platform is intended to work hand-in-hand with Wallem’s Agency business globally. We will start thinking about possible celebrations as we get closer to that goal.

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