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This year, Umoja became a reality for the UN Secretariat with its Pilot launch at UNIFIL and UNSCOL in Lebanon in July 2013 and successful deployment to all Peacekeeping Missions in November 2013. Over 3,000 colleagues around the world are now using this new management tool and seeing the many ways in which it is enabling us to operate more efficiently.

Umoja’s success in the last year was made possible through the hard work and dedication of the global Umoja team whose efforts across planning, testing, delivery, deployment, training and communications "made Umoja happen"!

Umoja’s deployment at Pilot and Cluster 1 was enabled by numerous intensive SAP workshops and testing cycles, including Functional Acceptance Testing (FATs), Product Integration Testing (PITs), and a comprehensive cycle of User Verification Testing (UVT).

These activities were hosted throughout the year at UNHQ, Valencia, Brindisi, Entebbe, and UNIFIL, and involved the collaboration of the Umoja team, site coordinators, local process experts, and UN Staff.

2013 began for Umoja with steps to determine the first users who would pilot the solution in UNIFIL. In a Role Mapping Workshop hosted in UNIFIL at the end of January, the Umoja Change Management team and specialists from OHRM and OPPBA discussed the approach for assigning ERP roles to end users and strategies for change management.

Shortly after, Umoja was first introduced to end users when the system underwent extensive testing in a three-week realization Workshop held in Valencia in February. This workshop was attended by 50 site coordinators and local process experts from the Peacekeeping Missions who were exposed to the solution and conducted deep dive SAP scenarios. The workshop in Valencia coincided with the 2nd cycle of testing of the Umoja solution in progress at UNHQ. In June, Umoja completed the final cycle of pilot testing and was approved to Go Live.

On 1 July 2013, Umoja went live and 400 end users began to use the centralized tool for procurement, logistics and financial transactions. The launch was marked with celebrations at both Headquarters and UNIFIL/UNSCOL, highlighting the accomplishment years in the making. After the 1 July Go Live, the Umoja team quickly turned its attention to Cluster 1 and kicked-off a new testing cycle. At the end of August, it was announced that Cluster 1 and Cluster 2 Go Live would be postponed by one month, to ensure Umoja would be successful when its usage expanded to cover nearly 60% of the Secretariat.

In early September, 45 Staff members from the Service Desks at the Peacekeeping Missions met in Valencia to attend a ten day workshop in which participants were trained in all aspects of Umoja to prepare to support an additional 2500 end users in Cluster 1.

On 1 November 2013, Umoja celebrated its second Go Live, this time launching in 14 Peacekeeping Missions spread across 200 sites in four continents and five time zones. This marked an unprecedented accomplishment for the UN Secretariat that was widely celebrated at many Peacekeeping Missions around the world.

Umoja’s training team was responsible to prepare Umoja end users to enable them to use Umoja and a new way of working. In preparation for Pilot and Cluster 1, the training team designed and built over 50 training courses, 35 job aids and 150 simulations that were ultimately delivered to over 3000 end users through a combination of computer based and instructor led training.

In the weeks leading up to Pilot Go Live, the Umoja trainers trained over 400 end users in UNIFIL and UNSCOL and at UNHQ in the areas of finance, procurement and logistics. In preparation for Cluster 1, Umoja conducted extensive Train the Trainer sessions in Entebbe and Brindisi for 114 UN Peacekeeping staff that learned to use Umoja and became trainers for staff at their Missions. In the coming months the Umoja trainers will conduct additional Train the Trainer programs for the Cluster 2 trainer nominees, as well as continue to update and develop training content for Cluster 3 and beyond.

In 2013 Umoja’s Communications team made significant strides towards making Umoja known to UN staff across the Secretariat. Over the past year, the Umoja website underwent a major facelift, and Umoja social media presence increased significantly with active Facebook and Twitter pages. The team also established a mailing list of over 60,000 UN Staff Members, published monthly newsletters, provided user guides, and hosted numerous publicity events to raise awareness about Umoja.

On 25 March, Umoja marked 100 days until Pilot Go Live, unveiling two countdown clocks at UNHQ in a ceremony held by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Under-Secretary-General Yukio Takasu, Ambassador Miguel Berger and attended by a great many UN Staff and Delegates.

A few weeks later, on 3 April, UNIFIL and UNSCOL hosted “Umoja Open Day”, introducing Umoja and educating staff on the different components of the solution such as Requisitioning, Procurement, Real Estate and Finance. On 28 May, Umoja held a Global Townhall lead by USG Yukio Takasu, USG Ameerah Haq, ASG Ernesto Baca and ASG Catherine Pollard. The four presented and then answered questions on Umoja, raised by UN Offices and Entities, Regional Commissions and select Peacekeeping Missions. 28 May also marked a surprise visit for the UN Umoja team, when Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon attended an Umoja All Hands meeting to thank the team for their hard work and provided encouragement for the final weeks ahead.

As the year comes to a close, the Umoja team is once again looking to the future, preparing for Cluster 2, Umoja Extension 1 and beyond. Testing cycles for Cluster 2 are coming to a close and the training team is preparing to launch their second Train the Trainer in early January, The Communications team continues to educate the UN on Umoja currently focusing on staff in the 18 entities scheduled to Go-Live on 1 March.