Our client, a Japanese multinational present in over thirty countries, has based their European headquarters in the Netherlands where 250 employees currently work. The brand is best known for the production, sale and service of high-quality mechanical materials. In addition, the brand makes accessories such as clothing and shoes.

The question

Our client has grown tremendously in recent years and wants to sustain their leading position in the market. The company has branches worldwide, including in Japan and North America and, in addition to its European headquarters in Eindhoven, it has local sales offices in 27 European countries. 

The company wants to further align its processes, systems and governance worldwide, with the aim of increasing insight into the operational business, responding faster to changes in the market and making fact-based strategic decisions. The company therefore wants to develop a single way of working, with uniform processes, systems, reporting and handling of customer queries, so that decisions can be made faster and more efficiently.

To support this unified way of working, our client chose a new CRM system: Salesforce, a cloud-based CRM system that brings sales, service, marketing, commercial and IT teams together by providing them with the same customer information and insights, in a single, shared view. With Europe as its largest market, the company decided that the first step would be to implement Salesforce in all its European branches, followed by the remaining global branches. To implement Salesforce in Europe, the company engaged KPMG.

Need for a standard approach

When setting up Salesforce, our client was keen to follow a standard approach, which, after going live in Europe, will also be applicable to all remaining global offices. KPMG’s Powered Enterprise standard approach allows the company to rely on leading practices in areas such as processes, roles and responsibilities, risks and controls. This standard approach provides a resilient foundation that enables transformations down the line. This allows the organization to continuously change and improve and respond to an ever-changing market. KPMG customizes the standard approach, together with the client, considering client-specific information.

“We are not experienced in setting up a new CRM system ourselves, so it is nice that we can rely on KPMG as a partner, with Powered Enterprise as a proven approach. We do not have to reinvent the wheel ourselves but are provided with examples and methodologies that have already proven their effectiveness. For example, we are given a template for a data migration plan. This plan acts as the starting point and is enriched with our specific data and fields. It is not the first time we have worked with KPMG, so we trust their expertise. From the start, we clicked well with the project team. Our joint agile working method ensures that we really worked on the implementation together as a team.”

Managing Director Commercial Operations, Europe

The approach

After choosing Salesforce and KPMG, the client and KPMG assembled a project team. In the vision phase – in which the client’s requirements were mapped out – the team consisted of delegates from the head office in Japan, representatives from the European headquarters and several teams from the local offices, so that the global practice was well represented. 

In the validation phase – in which the KPMG standards were validated in order to further design the solution – the client’s core team consisted of seven experienced experts, all with extensive knowledge and experience in project management, commercial operations and relationship management systems. A KPMG project team was added, representing various disciplines, such as a project manager, a people-and-change manager, Salesforce functional experts and specialists who provided the technical configuration to set up the system. During the project’s peak moments, KPMG involved over 20 people from the Netherlands, Denmark and India.  

KPMG’s approach included:

  • Vision phase: confirm the problem definition for the client globally 
  • Validation phase: developing a prototype for Europe with KPMG Powered Enterprise, serving as a basis for the global organization 
  • Development and rollout phase: implementation of Salesforce in Europe, going live in November 2023
  • Change management: providing a change strategy and plan to guide people through the change

Open approach and trust

The key success factors of this project were the open approach and trust. The global scope of this project in countries with different cultures and languages added to the challenge. In meetings, for example, everyone was talking about the same thing, but with their own cultural and language background people could have had a slightly different understanding. Several checkpoints were therefore built in to ensure that everyone was still on the same page. There were also a number of cultural challenges, especially in terms of communication with the Japanese headquarters. KPMG was going to adopt an agile approach to implement the project and had to go and explain this in Japan. There, the business is used to the waterfall method, in which everything is worked out in detail and with which they feel in control. KPMG preferred using an agile methodology for the project, but with tight timelines for deliverables. As a result of good expectation management, clear planning and strict adherence to agreements, KPMG won the trust of the Japanese headquarters and the proposed approach was followed.

Thumbs up

One of the best results of the project was that it was executed within the agreed timeframe and budget. To achieve this, each phase was contracted separately. This ensured flexibility for each phase within the teams and the right focus to meet the schedule. Close to the go-live moment, a number of sales offices had questions – they were concerned about whether they would be able to continue working as before during that time. After the rollout, the concerns had been alleviated. There was no downtime, and everyone was well-trained to make a smooth transition. This was partly due to the KPMG People & Change team which ensured that everyone involved, anywhere in the world, was able to buy into the change. The end result is a new system that is now widely accepted, used above average, and a management team that is highly satisfied. Just to be sure, our client asked Salesforce Japan how they rated this implementation compared to Salesforce implementations at other customers. The thumbs went straight up!

The results

  • All phases of the project were achieved on time and within budget
  • Thanks to change management, all branches worldwide were included in the change
  • All branches in Europe now rely on one way of working for global sales and service processes
  • Thanks to KPMG Powered Enterprise, the customer has obtained a proven standard approach based on leading practices
  • The implementation of the European offices has laid the foundation for the implementation of the offices in the rest of the world

KPMG, that's why

“For us, KPMG was already a trusted partner to work with. A big plus was also that Salesforce Europe recommended KPMG for our project. With KPMG Powered Enterprise methodology, we could rely on good practices and were guided at all key moments. What I also experienced as particularly positive was the one-team feeling. KPMG did not feel like our 'supplier' but as a valued and fully-fledged cooperation partner. We worked and achieved our goal together, which was felt at every level. The fine atmosphere was appreciated and the special challenges we faced with Japan made this project very popular. We regularly heard from colleagues both at our own office and at KPMG that they would have loved working on this project!”

Managing Director Commercial Operations, Europe

More information

Would you like to know more about this project? Please contact Bram Coolen (Coolen.Bram@kpmg.nl)

Contact us

Bram Coolen
Partner, Platforms Algemeen
KPMG in the Netherlands

Johan van Leenen
Senior Project Manager, Microsoft
KPMG in the Netherlands 

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