Magazine article Management Today

MCA Management Awards 2010: Best Public Sector Project Plus International

Magazine article Management Today

MCA Management Awards 2010: Best Public Sector Project Plus International

Article excerpt

Best Public Sector Project*, and winner, International category ATOS consulting with the Global Fund.

The Geneva-based Global Fund is an international institution that invests money to save lives by fighting the world's three biggest killer diseases: Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. To date, it has committed more $16.3bn in 140 countries.

The Global Fund provides a quarter of all international financing for Aids, and two-thirds each for tuberculosis and malaria. Its board comprises representatives of donor and recipient governments, non-governmental organisations, plus the private sector and community groups.

Formed in 2002 under the auspices of the World Health Organisation (WHO), by December 2008 the Global Fund needed to become an independent organisation and manage its own corporate policies and processes. This was vital to the future ability of the fund to do its work in the most efficient, flexible and appropriate way.

When Atos Consulting arrived, the fund had just over seven months and an immovable deadline by which to achieve autonomy. The scale of the programme was huge. The entire Global Fund had to set up afresh every function that was currently being supplied by the WHO, from designing and implementing new policies and operations, to creating new services and negotiating employment packages - plus all the communication and training needed to ensure a smooth separation.

All 420 staff were employed by the United Nations, so the separation would take the whole culture and organisation outside this familiar jurisdiction. An added complication was that the fund also had to adapt to the introduction at WHO of a comprehensive computerised management system, which added complexity and strain. And, of course, all this had to be done without disrupting its disbursal of funds.

Staff at the fund reflect the nationalities and cultures of donor and recipient countries. So Atos responded by fielding a team comprising a dozen nationalities, speaking at least eight languages and with a mix of skills, including HR, IT, compensation and benefits, policies and regulations, procurement and finance. Atos managed inputs from five other consultancies and providers.

One of its most important early steps was establishing a framework for the programme steering group, comprising senior executives from across the Global Fund. This proved to be an influential decision-making forum.

If timescales were to be met, meticulous planning had to start immediately, with the development of a huge 25,000-line programme plan A new IT system had to be chosen and implemented to support all the new administrative functions.

In response to that urgency, an Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning system was chosen in just six weeks, using a speeded-up Atos methodology. …

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