The Maxfli Approach

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The British American Tobacco (BAT) company is a large global Fortune 500 company with operations in more than 120 countries. The MaxFli sales force automation system is BAT's new global direct distribution system developed to take advantage of BAT's economies of scale, as well as, offer end-market design allowing for local customization and implementation. However after MaxFli's implementation over three countries, mixed results were obtained, and implementation over three countries revealed strengths and weaknesses inherent to MaxFli's approach. The strength of MaxFli's strategy lies in BAT's distributed approach of global development and local design. In line with this strategy, the systems development life cycle (SDLC) methodology was divided with BAT global headquarters (Globe House) spearheading a SDLC's Definition Phase involving feasibility and requirements. The end markets and Globe House, with help from outside consultants, shared to an extent the Construction Phase of system design, building and testing. The end markets were largely responsible for the Implementation Phase of the SDLC. This foresight allowed considerable autonomy for the development of local solutions for trade marketing and distribution (TM&D). For example in Chile, Chilean managers demanded that the MaxFli IT project to be a "Chilean solution" "as opposed to a global solution that required Chilean adoption." 1 Managers in Chile aligned this IT change with a change in their four overall business work-streams of management, communication, process/people, and technology. In addition, "managing upward" by keeping management aware of strategies, struggles and successes allowed the strategic steering committee to easily grant approval and sign-offs. The strength of this dual SDLC approach by Globe House allowed the Chilean mangers' implementation of MaxFli to be clear success. The SDLC approach allowed the implementation in Chile to be highly structured and systematic. However,...
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