VEOLIA’s corporate travel budget
in France (Company’s head office) is an expense
item that represents 30 to 35 million euros. The objective
with the SBT solution is to manage 75% of this budget
on-line by the end of 2006
are the tools of tomorrow, due in large part to the
announced end of
commissions. Consequently, reorganization of the corporate
travel budget is inevitable. The secret to controlling
business travel costs is to negotiate, consolidate and
Abdelaziz Bougja, VEOLIA project manager.
France’s number one provider of
environmental solutions (formerly Vivendi Environnement),
group of companies has 250,000 employees around the world
divided into four divisions: Waste Management, Energy
Services, Water and Transportation. VEOLIA is the world
leader in environmental services with sales of 28.6 billion
euros and net earnings of 7% in 2003.
Project to standardize and streamline business travel
VEOLIA has undergone deep changes over the past few
years. The Odyssey project was born in this context
the Company’s travel expenses based on an on-line
Self-Booking Tool (SBT). VEOLIA’s management became
aware of the challenges and importance of potential savings
related to reducing business travel expenses. To illustrate
the challenges involved in this standardization, consider
that VEOLIA has 2,500 entities around the world and no
less than 1,500 in France.
VEOLIA’s corporate travel budget in France (Company’s
head office) is an expense item that represents 30 to
35 million euros. The objective with the SBT solution
is to manage 75% of this budget on-line by the end of
To implement the Odyssey project successfully,
management has assigned it to Abdelaziz Bougja, a multi-disciplinary
project manager. A certified public accountant with substantial
experience in the aerospace industry, he occupies a cross-functional
position in the Corporate Human Resources Department.
He explains that his mission is cross-company in nature,
involving an organization, consolidation and standardization
role throughout VEOLIA.
The best management practices required for such a solution
Mr. Bougja, Odyssey project manager, describes his
vision: “the Human Resources Department is responsible
for implementing an online business travel management
solution. Transportation is a powerful vehicle for
social progress. This market is changing fast and the
travel options are varied and complex (air, hotel,
rail, short-term car rental, etc.). The goal is to
consolidate procurement by defining a precise scope
and implementing a rigorous system. The first step
involves doing an exhaustive inventory of existing
practices and tools. This is essential so the project
has a solid foundation and also to facilitate the subsequent
implementation of the online self-booking tool.”
Why was the KDS solution chosen?
KDS was chosen based on a tender call during which
VEOLIA examined the main solutions available in the
market in an international environment. VEOLIA decided
to place its confidence in KDS for several reasons:
KDS’ ability to implement its KDS Corporate online
business travel management solution internationally
and enterprise-wide and the fact that KDS is a community-based
business just like VEOLIA.
Another important point for VEOLIA: KDS’ ability
to be a proactive source of proposals and its long
experience in managing change among a broad group of
comparably sized international clients.
Finally, VEOLIA used the occasion of implementing the
online SBT solution to change its travel management company
(TMC). The synergy between CWT, the new TMC, and KDS
was a key selection criterion.
The key to success on such a project is to work the TMC
and on-line reservation tool together. CWT and KDS are
quite familiar with each other and have worked together
for several years serving major European and global corporations.
Implementing the solution in three key phases
1st phase: deploy initially in France, resulting in
investment consolidation and a qualitative leap forward.
According to Mr. Bougja’s doctrine, “Consolidate
= Analyze = Fine-tune”
This initial deployment successfully reduced French
in-house travel management companies and the online
SBT solution contributed to restoring the profitability
of the management fee account, which was one of VEOLIA’s
2nd phase: manage change, a critical factor in a successful
How? Through rigorous training and communication plans.
For example, the KDS Corporate solution was renamed
the “Odyssey” project in-house. Simple
communication tools were used, including distributing
an attractive and compact user guide and “gimmicks.” Investments
were made so the Odyssey project would be a success.
3rd phase: boost the tool’s adoption
rate because the No. 1 success criterion is a high
adoption rate for
A final success criterion involves forming
an effective project team. The project’s success
is characterized in particular by an increase in the
number of participants
during the project launch.
How has VEOLIA proceeded? In France, VEOLIA has proceeded
cautiously. According to Mr. Bougja, there is a very
important cultural issue involved here. Whereas in the
Anglo-Saxon culture the tool’s adoption is often
mandated, adopting the tool in the Latin culture involves
a more informative and educational approach.
For example, French people needed to be reassured when
the project was launched. Several training programs were
established and a step-by-step approach was used to accommodate
the fear of doing it improperly. The secret to getting
everyone’s support, according to Abdelaziz Bougja,
VEOLIA’s project manager, “is to be patient
and properly configure the tool from the outset.”
In addition, a helpdesk was set up at CWT, making sure
that CWT efficiently promoted the tool amongst VEOLIA
The project’s real success: a tool adoption rate
that keeps increasing
In short, the elements to remember in measuring the success
of such a project include:
being patient, proceeding step-by-step and not skipping
any steps; and
monitoring the adoption rate and setting reasonable objectives.
The adoption rate at VEOLIA, after a little more than
one year in operation, is nearly 30%. At present, VEOLIA
has moved into a more active deployment phase with an
objective of 50% by end-2005 and 75% at the end of the
Why not 100%?
The increase in the adoption rate eliminates intermediaries,
and beyond a certain point there are types of travel
that an online self-booking tool cannot handle efficiently
(e.g.; multi-segment travel, VIP travel and certain
"Self-booking tools are the tools of tomorrow,
due in large part to the announced end of commissions.
Consequently, reorganization of the corporate travel
budget is inevitable. The secret to controlling business
travel costs is to negotiate, consolidate and manage." Abdelaziz
Bougja, VEOLIA project manager.
Why was an ASP solution chosen?
This is a (KDS-hosted) turnkey solution that involves
paying attention to repository problems (data on users
and what they are entitled to). This creates a substantial
workload at the beginning of the project because the
data for every corporate traveler has to be loaded.
But the ASP approach proves beneficial in the long-term
as it requires no maintenance (the supplier does it
for you). Indeed, once the data is loaded, the configuration
The key to success is performance, i.e. to provide
data rapidly and efficiently. "An existing high-quality
network facilitates the technological success," indicates
Raymond Philippon, VEOLIA’s CIO.
This type of project requires a part-time project manager
with an integrator/assembler background (telecoms/IT/business).
" The ASP mode lets one break down expenses. In exchange,
this implies accepting that corporate data is hosted
outside the company.
The solution’s total integration in the corporate
portal went very smoothly along with its synchronization
with the email system.
In summary, the technical IT aspects only represented
10% of the overall project difficulties. These aspects
primarily involved system assembly and integration issues
(database, telecoms, etc.).
Success is underway
To configure the solution correctly requires that the
Company, TMC and tool vendor share a common business
travel management logic. For VEOLIA, the initial implementation
was completed in three months.
After having begun implementing the solution in France,
VEOLIA Environnement and KDS are now working on expanding
the project’s scope: deployment in the UK began
in early February 2005 and other countries where VEOLIA
has operations should follow.
source : KDS