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Integrating global commercial operations with information technology at BP Chemicals

Author: Jelassi, Tawfik ; Dutta, SoumitraINSEAD Area: Technology and Operations ManagementIn: Journal of Strategic Information Systems, vol. 2, no. 1, March 1993 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 77-96.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask the Library for this articleAbstract: In the early 1980s BP Chemiclas faced challenges that called for some fundamental changes in its business trategy. Rapid expansion via acquisition during the past five decades had created a company with many different cultures. The strong emphasis on production was giving way to a renewed search for new sources of competitive advantage such as enhanced customer service. Sales managers were disgruntled over the low level of support they were abl to offer to customers -primarily due the poor integration (both technical and business) of the commercial activities. In 1985, BP Chemicals embarked on an ambitious project, the Commercial Systems Project (CSP); to integrate all aspects of its international commercial activities. An information system was to form the core of this project and enable the organizational changes required for this integration. It was thought that the resulting commercial integration would also help to integrate other business processes of BP Chemicals and promote a unique company culture. The compexity and global scope of the CSP was undersetimated, and this caused the project to be significantly delayed and to incur an overexpenditure of several times the original budget. after going through a painful project implementation phase, BP Chemicals is now facing the challenge of initiating major changes, in its organizational structure and reshaping its business proceses. Theses changes, while difficult, will enable BP Chemicals to reap the full benefits of the project.
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In the early 1980s BP Chemiclas faced challenges that called for some fundamental changes in its business trategy. Rapid expansion via acquisition during the past five decades had created a company with many different cultures. The strong emphasis on production was giving way to a renewed search for new sources of competitive advantage such as enhanced customer service. Sales managers were disgruntled over the low level of support they were abl to offer to customers -primarily due the poor integration (both technical and business) of the commercial activities. In 1985, BP Chemicals embarked on an ambitious project, the Commercial Systems Project (CSP); to integrate all aspects of its international commercial activities. An information system was to form the core of this project and enable the organizational changes required for this integration. It was thought that the resulting commercial integration would also help to integrate other business processes of BP Chemicals and promote a unique company culture. The compexity and global scope of the CSP was undersetimated, and this caused the project to be significantly delayed and to incur an overexpenditure of several times the original budget. after going through a painful project implementation phase, BP Chemicals is now facing the challenge of initiating major changes, in its organizational structure and reshaping its business proceses. Theses changes, while difficult, will enable BP Chemicals to reap the full benefits of the project.

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