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n°24  |  March   2008
Business cases

• Australia Post (Australy)
• Airtricity (United Kingdom)
• Dassault Aviation (France)

• Eramet (France)
• Service d’incendie et de secours du Vaucluse (France)

Dassault Aviation: an innovative approach to software maintenance and support

Dassault Aviation is a major player in the civil and military aeronautics industry worldwide, and is present in more than 70 countries across five continents. Creating value is an essential objective for Dassault Aviation; it provides the guarantee of profitability, financial stability and sustainability. Against a backdrop of strong international competition, the Group has responded by stepping up its demands for flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness in relation to its customers, suppliers and partners.

In 2000, the IT Department was set the task of reducing costs while maintaining control over service quality. A detailed analysis of activities highlighted the complexity of both software maintenance and support, and the impact these were having on costs. The figures speak for themselves: an installed base of 1,000 applications, more than 160 registered suppliers … and spending constantly on the increase. One basic fact stood out: there was insufficient visibility of software being bought and maintained.

As a result, Dassault Aviation set out to improve productivity in this complex area.

With a well-established software support business, and a particular interest in this issue, Bull was the obvious choice for Dassault Aviation to support them in their deliberations. These joint efforts, over few months, have culminated in the implementation of an innovative service based on commitment to results, and a mechanism that enables both parties to share in the rewards.

The contract covers three areas:

  • Managing maintenance contracts with software publishers and suppliers
  • A single point of contact for managing software support calls
  • Optimizing maintenance and support costs.

This is an innovative approach in the area of IT services, and there are few companies who can offer the full range of skills needed to make it happen,” commented Georges Rivat, Head of Management control at Dassault Aviation’s IT Department.

Effective change management: a key success factor for the project, achieved by closely involving the IT Department purchasing team
Like any new initiative, supporting change has been a major element in this project. New processes had to be gradually put in place, both internally and in relationships with software publishers. As Georges Rivat explained: “The evolution and industrialization of processes has had an impact on the way we operate. We have supported this by putting together a multi-disciplinary project team and implementing a communication strategy”. Dassault Aviation now has in place a function for managing the installed software base (Software Asset Management) to support this approach.

Productivity gains, visibility, simplification, service quality
Taking a more professional and structured approach to software maintenance and support has brought numerous gains:

  • Greater rigor and regularity in the process for renewing contracts with publishers, ease of integration of new suppliers
  • Optimization of the application base, by fine-tuning it to reflect users’ needs
  • Simpler management of the installed software base with single, more automated process, with one channel for support and one for purchasing
  • Better understanding of what has been purchased, with a clearer picture of the utilization rates for applications and their users
  • Optimization of the activity as a whole, thanks to traceability and reporting tools for call monitoring
  • Better quality follow-up for support calls.

As Georges Rivat explained: “Today this service has become an effective management tool for us. The progress plan we have put in place has enabled us to move on from rationalization to an optimization phase. It would be impossible to go backwards now!”

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