The first targets were Australia and New Zealand, as the region was a recently acquired business—a division of a larger company—that was dependent on its former parent company for financials. With the former owner turning off that system on a specific date, the team knew they had a deadline with no wiggle room.
"Failure was not an option there, and it turned out to be a real shot in the arm for the project," says Cognetta. "We had no choice—we could only go forward, and we were able to rally the team on an accelerated schedule."
Brazil was where the PMO was put to the test, however. Although the business there was not large, the complex tax laws of Brazil required Iron Mountain to use a third-party tax software called Synchro to comply with Brazilian regulations.
"They didn't have English skills at Synchro, and there was no English version of their documentation for Oracle On Demand to use," says Oracle Consulting's Padmanabhan. "There was a lot of manual translation, and complexity in getting the entire virtual team communicating on time."
The team has formally finished the three phase-one countries and is now well into the financials implementation for the U.K. "The U.K. project passed its third tollgate, and the project dashboard is predominantly green—all systems go for a November turn-on—and trending green in the five dimensions we use to measure this project," says Padmanabhan.
And as the team applies lessons learned from each phase, the implementations should get much easier. "The toolkit is a big part of that," says Cognetta. "Subsequent countries can use it to get a huge jump start on the project. It's refined and bulletproof tested." In fact, Iron Mountain is using the U.K. phase to assume more leadership and control of the project. "We needed help, and Oracle Consulting worked very well with our team," says Cognetta. "But over time, we'll take the training wheels off and do more of it on our own. The extent of their involvement should shrink over time." In fact, Cognetta thinks the implementation rate will increase as the project team gets more countries under its belt. "We really should start accelerating, taking on groups of countries and running them in parallel along with a shared services strategy," he says. Iron Mountain's current plans include targeting eight additional countries in Europe and Latin America next year for financials implementations, plus the first introduction of an HR system for the U.K.
Cognetta says that he is already seeing some uniformity of process in the first few countries and expects continued improvement. In the meantime, the PMO has moved into high gear. "This has been one for the books; it really has," says Cognetta. "We've learned so much from the early phases about the right way and wrong way to do things."
The next 24 countries in the implementation pipeline will be the happy beneficiaries.