Employing roughly 121,000 people in more than 130 countries, transport and energy giant A.P. Moller – Maersk Group is the largest container shipping company in the world. The global enterprise engages in many sectors, primarily within shipping, offshore, oil and gas. In such a demanding setup, the IT organisation has to navigate between streamlining global processes, thus achieving economies of scale, while also being able to adjust services to the individual needs of each business unit.
However, Maersk's numerous years of growth had made the technical IT architecture and the portfolio of contracts and agreements extremely complex.
- The different subsidiaries have depended on both shared and individual IT systems, hosted inside and outside the company. Consequently, the exact costs and benefits of IT in the individual business units have been unclear, and some units have struggled to get IT services tailored to their own specific needs, explains Nils Roien, Programme Manager in Ramboll Management Consulting.
Transparency and independence
In recent years, Maersk Group has put a strong strategic focus on transforming the historically, tightly connected conglomerate into a portfolio of relatively autonomous companies. One important step has been to establish a sharper and more independent identity for each of the four main strategic business units - Maersk Line (shipping), APM Terminals (harbour terminals), Maersk Oil (oil production and exploration) and Maersk Drilling (offshore oil drilling).
As a natural consequence, Maersk decided to launch the IT Business Unit Autonomy programme in 2012. The aim was to separate the blurry landscape of IT services and applications, and to create a fully independent setup for each of nine business units, including a fully transparent IT service management and cost structure.
Ramboll Management Consulting assisted with the identification and mapping of the hundreds of individual IT services, as well as plans on how to perform the transformation. The landscape of IT systems, components, services and agreements had to be brought to light. The problem was that no one had the map or enough information to draw it.
- The only solution was to bring the project team as close as possible to everyday operations. Therefore, our project managers teamed up with Maersk CIOs and programme managers in each business unit to collect and qualify information and build and maintain a consolidated master plan. In addition, we set up cross-disciplinary teams to support the individual teams with specific knowledge within contract management, IT architecture and strategy, Nils Roien says.
Towards a more agile organisation
The advanced mapping created an extensive overview and framework that laid the foundation for planning the programme and the actual execution.
- This new knowledge enables Maersk to optimise operations across the entire organisation. It will help improve the agility in the individual business units and in Maersk as a whole. Where independency matters, the individual units will experience a much greater degree of freedom from the rest of the organisation, and where differentiation is not beneficial, they will retain a common way of doing things, says Nils Roien.
The Maersk Group Function Office was tasked to oversee the coordination and master planning of the programme across the business units, while planning and execution took place separately within each unit.
Throughout the process, Ramboll Management Consulting also advised the Maersk Group Function Office on strategic issues, scenario building, governance structures and conflict resolution.