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SAP Project Leads to New Roles, Fewer Legacy Systems

An SAP project helped GraceKennedy make sense of eight disparate legacy systems.

NAME: Zak Mars

COMPANY: GraceKennedy Ltd.; Kingston, Jamaica

INDUSTRY: Specialty foods

TRADEMARK PRODUCT: Grace Hot Pepper Sauce

PROJECT SCOPE: 12 companies in four countries

JOINED COMPANY: As a business analyst

UNIQUE EXPERIENCE: Ran the business division of food services

BONUS INSIGHT: "It helped me understand how deficient the tools were in the IT department and how IT was perceived in the company."

CHALLENGE: "We had eight disparate legacy systems."

THE SOLUTION: Mars formed an SAP project team by enlisting the most competent business people.

THE DIFFERENCE: "By the end of the project, the whole team had so much knowledge about SAP that new roles were created for staffers. We weren't fearful of losing jobs and people at the close of the project."

RESULTS: The company hit target growth of 15% in revenue, each division grew during implementation, and the project was on time and on budget.

ADVICE: "Don't be afraid to pick your No. 1 people. You need them, and your No. 2 will step up. They will rise to the occasion."

Ellen O'Brien, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a senior editor at Storage magazine. Write to her at

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