Rapid Prototyping Meets Tight Deadline for DuPont

Data management challenges resulting from M&A obstructed costing, forecasting, allocation and project management—but are solved with a right-sized solution.

Rapid growth in recent years resulting from mergers and acquisitions left DuPont’s Industrial Biosciences division, a leader in biosciences and pharmaceuticals, with a challenging data management environment. One solution: a massive consolidation effort that would drag on for years. Instead, DuPont opted for a “right-size” approach recommended by Help4Access in the form of a custom database application.

DuPont needed to effectively manage resources across multiple departments and multiple source systems. The rapid influx of resources and technology left the management team with a classic growth problem: data stored in multiple systems such as Siebel and Oracle, with different data structures in multiple departments. This made it difficult to manage projects, allocate resources and perform financial functions such as costing and forecasting.

The need to outsource to solve the consolidation challenge

Compounding the problem; despite organizational growth through acquisition, internal IT resources were already committed. Dependent on outsourcing to support its IT initiatives, DuPont looked to Help4Access for a robust solution that could be implemented on an extremely aggressive timeline. The client assigned a high urgency to the ability to access and consolidate data much more quickly. The legacy system which Help4Access had to replace still involved exporting to Excel, emailing spreadsheets to individual contributors—who then mailed them back—and then consolidation.

“This type of data management initiative can be very challenging for any company, even one as large as DuPont.” said Sasha Froyland, founder and CEO of Help4Access . “The traditional approach could have been to undertake a large-scale conversion and consolidation project to bring all the departments and data sources together into a single application or platform. But that kind of project not only requires a great deal of time and money, it may erect barriers for companies like DuPont that can achieve significant growth through acquisition.”

Custom integration trumps over large-scale packaged applications in many situations

Help4Access proposed a “right-sized” integration rather than a monolithic packaged approach, and divided the project into logical steps:

For extremely fast prototyping, Help4Access knew Microsoft Access would provide the functionality DuPont needed, and at a fraction of the price of a traditionally developed software solution.”

Help4Access’s engineering team quickly turned the high-level business requirements from DuPont into a high quality, easy-to-use custom-built data management application. The project team leveraged Microsoft Access’ rapid application development interface and ability to connect to any ODBC data source to create the custom solution DuPont needed.

This application is now used to manage DuPont Industrial Science’s product development projects, resource allocation, costing and forecasting. It enables the DuPont management team to more fully utilize its resources and enhance its capabilities to accommodate multiple currencies, as well as changes in fiscal years, and to be linked with their ERP systems to carry out their company-specific approach to project management.

Takeaway: Determine the right-sized approach. Full enterprise consolidation solutions can take one to two years to implement. If your deadline is tight, a rapid custom application and integration is likely to be best for time and cost.