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A David and Goliath moment, Absolut’s Petrobras project

The GPA mantra of “Striving for Better” is something we take very seriously at GPA.  It’s one thing to praise the concept, but what does it mean in reality?   At GPA we also love a good story and the below is representative of what the concept means for us.


In mid-2020 Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned Oil and Gas Corporation put out a complex RFP for the deployment of more than 1,500 standardized meeting rooms throughout their campuses in Brazil.


However, the story immediately became more complex.  The project involved more than just room deployments, and the scope expanded to a multi-year agreement for managed services that would now require more than 100 staff.


After the shortlisting process, 3 global companies remained: NTT Communications, Accenture, and GPA in the form of Absolut.  Absolut’s CEO Hans Ulmer took a calculated risk, and in a complex market like Brazil, risks are compounded.

Submitting a proposal as a 70 employee Brazilian-based company against multinationals such as NTT and Accenture would have presented challenges and possibly been unsuccessful.  However, as part of GPA a global organization of 4,000 strong, Hans had the confidence to submit a carefully crafted proposal that addressed Petrobras’s challenges and concerns.


???????Not only did Absolut win the bid, but the team also managed to improve the outcome by going above and beyond the customer’s expectations.  While improving Petrobras’s customer experience and Absolut managed to increase service quality and efficiencies.

Without striving for Better, without taking a different approach, and without a bit of educated risk and courage to trust in what he could draw upon from the GPA community, Hans and the Absolut team wouldn’t have even pursued this regional opportunity. – Byron Tarry, Managing Director/CEO

Although many components contributed to the success of this story, including leveraging GPA’s general internal knowledge, three specific factors were also key: a standardization and quality assurance certification, workflow management, and the introduction of efficiencies in managed services.


Leverage 1: Quality Assurance Certification | Access to ISO Certification

Absolut needed to provide Petrobras with an ISO certification as a minimum requirement for compliance.  As Absolut did not maintain the certification, it was able to use both AVEX’s (GPA Netherlands) and Videlio’s (GPA France) through a formal legal process.


Leverage 2: Workflow Management | Access to iAuditor

iAuditor is the global platform standard used for GPA’s global delivery. Originally introduced by the ProAV team (GPA Australia), the platform has become the benchmark for best practice standards within GPA.  With the help of iAuditor, Absolute was able to keep within the schedule by delivering 15+ rooms per day for a total of 70-80 rooms weekly and only 7 staff.


Leverage 3: Managed Services Efficiencies

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the story relates to the Managed Service strategy.

Early in the bid process, Hans Ulmer identified AVI Systems’ (GPA USA) Insight Platform as a way to optimize efficiently their Managed Services approach.  Added to the mix, was smart IoT technology from Disruptive Technologies introduced by GMS (GPA Germany).

Leveraging both GPA USA and Germany’s contribution to the Managed Service segment of the bid, enabled savings in terms of support personnel.  From the original estimate by Petrobras of 110 staff and down to Absolut’s 70 staff proposal, the revised approach with new efficiencies in place reduced the number of people to as few as 30 for 4hrs/day.

At GPA we often talk about the “Better – Different – Courage” concept.  This concept has grown because of the connection between our over 4,000 mutual stories at GPA.

???????This connection reflects our common stories of strategies, successes, and yes, even failures.  We all strive to do better, we all look at things differently to find innovation and we all need to dig in and find the courage to get our projects over the line.

This is the key to our relationship with each other and our stories have become part of the GPA culture.

Thank you to Hans Ulmer for sharing this story.