UNOPS recently implemented a new Enterprise Resource Planning system, oneUNOPS, for their staff worldwide, which alone replaces the use of seventeen different systems. We met Justin Waugh and Issam Amarin from UNOPS Business Innovation and Improvement Programme, who are part of the team behind the new system.
Getting to Copenhagen
Justin Waugh is from Scotland, where he after completing studies within first chemistry and then computing and photography worked for a private multimedia company. When the company got more involved with the financial sector, Justin felt it was time to find something more aligned with his values.
Justin applied for a position at UNOPS in UN City. He already had family living in Copenhagen, so he knew the place. Yet life here for the past 4-5 years has been different compared to in Scotland:
“Overall I find life and work here culturally different and similar enough to be good. The facilities of UN City are nice and I like Copenhagen. I even think the weather is good here, although I’m probably the only one who finds it too hot in the summer.”
In November 2010 Issam Amarin moved to Copenhagen from Amman, Jordan. After completing his studies within computer information systems in 2004 Issam immediately started his 11 years UN career with first UNDP Jordan as an intern and then Finance Assistant. Afterwards, Issam got a job in UNDP’s Iraq program. Here he worked five years with regular trips to Baghdad before coming to Copenhagen with UNOPS:
“It was a big change coming to Copenhagen after working on the Iraq program. I went from working in a danger zone with helmet and bulletproof vest to Copenhagen, where people bike around and you go out to get drinks.”
Issam likes to be in Copenhagen and sees UN City as a place that unites people. Before getting involved with the new software system of UNOPS, he used to be part of staff associations and the canteen committee, to help bring people together.
Working hard to gather UNOPS as one
For the past year, Justin and Issam have worked on oneUNOPS: an internally engineered system that is now the organization’s single entry point for all project management-, procurement-, HR- and finance activities. Moving from 17 separate systems into one completely new system has not been easy, Justin explains:
“It has been a challenge and very time-consuming. Developing the system has taken up all our time for the past year. It has been a lot of work since we did it internally and not with external help as is usually the case.”
Since first of January, oneUNOPS has been up and running and the team behind now continues to improve it and seeks to meet the requirements of the UNOPS staff around the world. Already now, when employees log into oneUNOPS, it is tailored to the users’ specific needs.
Prioritizing educational efforts
To ensure everyone would know how to use the system when it was launched, UNOPS has held training sessions and appointed ‘champions’, which are staff acting as trainers for their colleagues. Issam has been part of the team training and supporting users:
“It has been the biggest training session within UNOPS ever, and a challenge in itself. In September 2015 we had 150 champions from UNOPS offices around the world to come here to UN City for a one-week training. The focus has all along been learning by doing.”
The intention of oneUNOPS is to make it flexible and simple for UNOPS staff worldwide to use its different services, and to bring people together by making it easier for colleagues to collaborate and share information.