The Eiffel Tower (also) is renovating its IT before the 2024 Olympics

One hundred and eighty million euros will be used by 2030 to renovate the most famous Parisian monument: the Eiffel Tower. Elevator of the east pillar, repainted: the great lady is preparing for the Olympic Games in 2024.

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During the maneuver, the SETE (Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel) remains a “small SME” with 340 employees, which achieved a turnover of around 100 million euros in 2019 – the tower welcomed 6 million visitors this year.

“We process a relatively modest number of invoices, around 4,000 a year,” emphasizes Michel Balsan, SETE’s Administrative and Finance Director, who is responsible for both the company’s bookkeeping and information systems. “Even so, we have an investment plan of 180 million euros by 2030, with the majority now focused on the 2024 Olympics.”

Among the most important works on the tower, the renovation of the hydraulic elevator of the east pillar will reach 50 million euros, and the painting campaign is another investment of around 50 million euros.

The overhaul of the information system is initiated by the first CFO

Michel Balsan, a trained engineer, was the first CFO to be appointed to SETE in 2015. “When I was doing the inventory on my appointment, SETE did not have management tools for the finance function. I started structuring management control, specifically to prepare for the renewal of the civil service delegation. I also thought about renovating our information system. “”

The company’s accounts were previously kept using Sage 100, a system that is well suited for SMEs but would prove to be somewhat limited given the public sector delegation’s spending commitments.

“We didn’t have a purchasing department at that time. Anyone can ask companies to send them an offer … that has seldom been discussed, ”recalls Michel Balsan. “The invoices arrived directly in the service department. The accounts did not know at the moment T where we were in our spending obligations; Our response time to invoices was not controlled, sometimes with reminders that reached us when the invoice was still in the relevant department. “

Michel Balsan is therefore starting an internal modernization project. “We first digitized invoicing by switching to the Yooz system, then re-centralized orders and invoiced within the finance department,” he says. “I then wanted to migrate to a” mini-ERP “(actually a financial ERP). We chose Sage FRF 1000cloud. The idea was to automate the exchange between systems, between Yooz and the ERP, but also with our technical department, which is the biggest cost factor. “

The technical department used their CARL Master CMMS system to place orders. However, the finance department had no visibility on these invoices. “Sage 1000cloud needed to provide us with automated interfaces to regain control of the entire chain of command. “”

A tender was launched among the ERP integrators

Since SETE is a company subject to the Public Procurement Code, the choice of ERP (or Mini-ERP) is the result of a public tender. Five ERP integrators responded and Parthena Consultant’s proposal was selected.

His proposal was based on the Sage FRP 1000cloud solution. “Your customer references, your technical capacities and of course the price made the difference,” explains the DAF. “The customer list was an important criterion for us. I wanted to know what references the project manager had who should be assigned to us on Sage to see the person who would manage our project during the interviews. The human aspect is crucial if we are to achieve the goals in terms of schedule and budget. “”

Michel Balsan, Administrative and Financial Director of SETE

On the other hand, the fact that the ERP proposed by Parthena Consultant is hosted in the cloud was not a key criterion. “I really wanted to prioritize system interoperability. Sage 1000 could easily be connected to CARL Master and Yooz. Parthena had a good command of Sage’s technical platform and the APIs made this possible without this integration being a main theme of the project. “”

The integration of Sage FRP 1000cloud took place in 2018 from December 2017 – a project that was carried out at full speed.

“Parthena played the role of prime contractor and I was supported by EY who supported us very well and a consultant who supported us from start to finish. We were on time and on budget. It was really a three-way success. “”

Change management, critical point of overhaul

The changeover to the new ERP took place gradually. First, the accounting. This hiked from Sage 100 to Sage 1000, a passage that Michel Balsan finds quite easy.

The project team then began providing the order management module with its interface to SETE’s CMMS (or EAM) and invoicing systems. Commissioning will take place in February 2019. The ERP currently has around 80 users in the company.

For the CFO, the most critical aspect of this project was not the technical provision, but the management of the changes to be made with the users. “I’ve done a lot of IT projects in the past and that went really well. On the other hand, the introduction of this ERP was a revolution in the company. Nobody can do what they want with the controls. Everyone must adhere to a predefined workflow with predefined engagement, with the definition of delegations in the company for supervisors, executives, directors, department heads. Each profile has its own delegation level. . “”

The system therefore brings with it new restrictions. It is no longer possible for SETE employees to have a service carried out without an order form. A point that was complicated to reach employees who were used to “more flexible” procedures.

To consolidate the purchasing process, the Sage ERP market and contract monitoring module went back into production. This way, the CFO can ensure that every purchase is on target in terms of government procurement code, automatic control of commitment levels, and setting up an alert system.

“With business intelligence from Sage, we were able to create our own alerts. As a result, I get multiple notifications every day including the status of suppliers, RIB creation (we have a system in place to protect ourselves from fraudulent RIBs) etc. “”

Make way for business intelligence and big data

While the Covid-19 crisis has a strong impact on tourism in Paris and thus on participation in the Tower, the DAF is now pleased about the use of an ERP with which the financial situation of SETE can be monitored in real time.

The next step in the overhaul of the IS is at the purchasing level. It’s no longer about deploying new modules, but developing the use of dashboards and reporting to buyers to help them optimize their costs.

Michel Balsan would like to go further than the BI tools integrated in Sage 1000. He has also initiated an extensive big data project. “We have three main systems in our information system: the financial system (with Sage 1000 and the peripheral systems CARL Master and Yooz), the ticketing system (with which we achieve 85% of our sales) and finally our HRIS. Our goal is to set up a BI that can use the data from all of these systems and has a metadatabase to perform queries on all of this data. “”

A tender for this big data project was launched in 2018. The contract was awarded to Umanis, N&C and Actemium. The provision of a data lake is in progress. For the DAF, the Sage FRP 1000 BI module is an advantage for recovering all the data from the ERP that will enrich this big data system.

The preference for interoperability of solutions would have already proven useful when SETE wanted to set up yield management for ticket sales. “This function did not exist in our ticketing module and we were able to implement it thanks to the interoperability with the new system.”

And DAF concluded: “Interoperability is now the basis of our IT strategy: providing the best modules that meet our needs, but with systems that are above all interoperable so that modules can be swapped out as our future needs evolve, without having to revise everything ”.