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How ERP underpins digital transformation

We talk to Angelo Jebamony, Intergen’s Dynamics AX Solution Specialist, about the role a strong ERP platform plays in making productivity gains and business-wide transformation a reality.

When it comes to productivity gains, and a drive towards business transformation more generally, what key trends and common business drivers do you see in the ERP space?

New Zealand businesses today are in a tough position. Technology has rapidly evolved over the last 10 years, but businesses are often stuck on a technology platform that fails to support agility or growth or allow them to adapt quickly to the reality of shifting markets.

Businesses that are hamstrung by legacy systems will often try to adapt by having multiple, often disparate, point solutions that are at best ‘loosely coupled’, resulting in:

  • Manual work done outside of a system
  • Compliance requirements (such as traceability) are often not met
  • Poor business analytics and strategic reporting
  • Inability to execute a business strategy within a sector
  • Unsupported technology platforms required to run some of the point solutions

Digital Transformation - Less Busyness, More Business

The paradigm shift we’re starting to see within New Zealand organisations, and of course organisations further afield, is a move towards a platform that not only meets current business requirements, but also allows them to be agile and adjust to changes swiftly.  This could be through providing for easy integration to other systems and apps or by allowing businesses to easily adapt and enable technology, such as the Internet of Things, OData and Machine Learning to drive their businesses forward.

And, in addition to this, organisations have ever-increasing user expectations to contend with. Their users now demand business systems that are intuitive and easy to use and can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, on any device.

In light of these trends and business drivers, what tangible productivity gains are we helping our ERP clients to achieve?

There are three key gains I’d call out from recent projects.

We help organisations align their business systems to how their business operates

This provides a platform to meet their strategic targets and growth ambitions.  It also allows for deep reporting analytics. As a best-of-breed reporting solution, Power BI allows deep reporting across Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM, providing greater business insight. A great example of a New Zealand organisation doing this is Giesen Wines, who had a number of manual processes and generated reports outside of Dynamics AX. In moving to Power BI, they now have dashboard reporting directly from within their ERP system (you can read more about Giesen’s technology story here).

Improved business visibility and performance

With recent projects, this has been achieved through integrated forecasting, planning and the implementation of Warehouse Management Solutions to speed up the receipt and put-away of goods, through to dispatching goods. Customers often find that they are exceeding pre-set SLAs around customer satisfaction due to improved visibility and supply chain operations.  We see Machine Learning and the Internet of Things being the enabler to allow businesses to unlock further insights and productivity gains.

Faster time to value

This is achieved through the rapid deployment of Dynamics AX using Intergen’s InSure Accelerators, which ensures speed of delivery, reduced cost and minimised risk by using preconfigured templates to cover the 80% of requirements that are common across organisations, and focusing effort on the 20% that is unique to the organisation. NZ Oil and Gas, for example, made use of our InSure Accelerators for a swift Dynamics AX implementation, giving NZ Oil and Gas a robust, integrated, full-service ERP platform within a 13-week timeframe (you can find out more about the NZ Oil and Gas solution here).

Tell us about the typical journey (if there is such a thing as the typical journey) an organisation goes on with an ERP implementation in order to achieve organisational transformation.

Depending on the stage that the client is at, we are often involved in some or all of the following steps:

  • Assisting the client to develop and validate their roadmap, helping to understand their core business drivers and the change required to achieve these
  • Assisting with business cases, as often plans need to be ratified at board-level
  • Breaking down the roadmap into workloads or projects that form a programme of work, based on   business benefits, priorities and the level of change the business is open to
  • Helping to assess organisation readiness for a project, and the change management required
  • Engaging and deploying projects as part of the roadmap (this involves blood, sweat, some tears and – ultimately lots of smiles)
  • Project go-live (more tears, some smiles), followed by project reviews and assessment of project success factors
  • Optimisation of the solution after the project go-live
  • Incorporating feedback and project learnings into any subsequent projects.

What lessons, tips or tricks can you share that can help organisations as they consider embarking upon – or continuing on – their digital transformation journey?

Again, I’d call out three things.

Don’t underestimate the effect of this transformation on your business

We often sit down with companies and go through the roles required to successfully implement an ERP system, and, more often than not, the level of commitment required comes as a surprise.

Don’t underestimate the importance of change management within your business

Education within the organisation about the change that is coming and how it impacts people is extremely important. It can be the difference between a solution that is well-adopted and effectively embraced by an organisation and a solution that – no matter how well-designed – isn’t.

Consider how you want to phase an implementation (no Big Bang required)

Consider shifting away from Big Bang implementations and look to deliver a core solution with quantifiable business benefits. The idea is to deploy a platform for growth with minimal business impact that then allows you to rapidly implement other functionality as part of your business roadmap.  Consider using an agile approach for development so you’re getting early visibility through sprint playbacks, and can provide feedback on system changes without having to wait till the end of the entire development cycle.


This blog entry is part of the series Less Busyness, More Business, featuring blog posts from leaders across Intergen. Each blog will focus on the digital transformation themes raised in our digital transformation guide and delve deeper into what digital transformation means for New Zealand organisations in specific technology areas.

Digital Transformation - Less Busyness, More Business

Posted by: Angelo Jebamony, Solution Specialist, Dynamics AX | 11 July 2016

Tags: ERP, Digital Transformation, Less Busyness More Business

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