Sodexo : why they chose Thétys
Interview with Julien Michellet, user of Thétys Mandats at Sodexo
Sodexo is a French multinational corporation that specialises in outsourced services. Founded in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, Sodexo has become a global leader in quality-of-life services in over 67 countries. Sodexo is best known for its food services, but also offers facility management, benefits & rewards (service vouchers), and personal & home services (childcare and concierge services).
Sodexo by the numbers:
- #1 French private employer in the world
- 67 countries: 470,000 employees globally and 35,000 in France
- 100 million consumers served each day worldwide
- 5 million consumers in France
We met with Julien Michellet, Manager for Voucher and Billing Applications, in that position at Sodexo Pass France for the last 11 years. He works in the IT department with two teams of development engineers: the first team takes care of the company’s long-time ERP system, which manages all document generation, from orders to production. The second team, the new “Invoice Team”, handles billing and card digitisation and was created a year ago. The Invoice Team represents a real transformation in favour of digitisation and “everything on a card.” Within the near future, this model will be expanded across the entire company.
Thétys has been the SEPA-mandate management solution for these two teams since 2014. Here’s their experience from these past six years of partnership with ACA…
Why their SEPA project was established
- An urgent regulatory context
The issue came up in September 2013 as the SEPA standard was set to take effect for all direct debits on 31 January 2014. We were in the middle of a digitisation project, and this issue arose at the same time, with a hard deadline.
We were invited to a demonstration of the Thétys platform and it won us over.
The solution met our two biggest criteria: a very reasonable price and coverage of our needs in terms of features.
- A project carried out in two phases
As the SEPA project manager, I managed the entire Thétys implementation at Sodexo Pass France. We had a first wave of implementation in 2014 for B2C, followed by a second wave in 2016 for B2B (once banks started accepting B2B transactions).
Six years later, we are still satisfied, so we made the right choice!
- What were possible alternatives?
We could have developed a module in SAP, the tool used by our Finance Department, but that would have come at a significant cost and implementation would have been quite complicated.
Even though we had the capacity for in-house development, we decided that it wasn’t part of our core business. Indeed, the SEPA standard was new and required operational and technical changes (file formats, etc.). However, our core business is not about tracking banking standards.
Thétys implementation: fast and efficient!
At the time, Thétys was our first tool to come from outside the company!
We only had a few months to get everything ready: we had to make adjustments to Thétys using some specific software developments so that the solution would accept our internal file formats from our ERP system. We were able to implement the entire B2C component in two and a half months. The European Commission agreed to push back the standard’s effective date to 31 July 2014. So, we ended up being six months ahead of schedule.
The internal project team also included people from the Cash Flow team and the Finance and Administration Department, as well as a software development engineer. On the Thétys side, a project manager coordinated the ACA Thétys team. It made things transparent for me: I had a single point of contact.
The three key benefits for you
1. Easy in terms of technical and human resources
Project management: At the time, we were on a tight deadline and it was easy to work with the Thétys team. I am a demanding manager with high standards and so I enjoyed working with people who did a great job of managing our joint project. They were efficient and really knew what they were doing.
Expertise at ACA: my Thétys contact knew a lot about banking standards. For me, it’s very important to be able to rely on skilled technicians and experts because there were major financial stakes for us with SEPA mandates and authorisations (up to several million euros in debits daily). We couldn’t afford any mistakes!
2. A reasonable budget that was maintained
As I said before, we found the pricing to be very reasonable. What’s more, I have total confidence in ACA: they stuck to our negotiated budget, without any cost overruns. That’s an important strength for a software developer.
3. Support from ACA
The support team is very responsive! We heard back from them right away when we needed to do extractions and I always got very fast responses to my support tickets. The solution in stable and we don’t have any issues with Thétys.
What’s next? How do you see the future?
We have many projects in progress that we are prioritising internally, especially related to the health crisis. Of course, it’s up to the Strategy Department to set priorities for Sodexo Group. That said, we could probably implement the e-mandates offered by Thétys to make payments as secure as possible, improve flow, and encourage autonomy for our clients, which is important to us.
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