Working around the clock nails deadline for Skills4Work

When Skills4Work needed to upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics NAV in just four weeks, implementation partner Intergen provided the know-how and effort to make sure the project met the deadline...

 

A deadline set in concrete seems a highly fitting analogy for the challenge set by Skills4Work, New Zealand’s leading provider of training and workforce solutions for businesses and apprentices in the engineering, manufacturing, distribution, and food & beverage sectors.

The project required a turnaround time of under four weeks to provide an entire Microsoft Dynamics NAV upgrade alongside rolling three organisations into one. Add to it Christmas and public holidays as obstacles. A myriad of duplicated databases to consider. Not to mention 550 apprentices throughout New Zealand relying on receiving their pay packet, and you’ve got a very significant ‘go live’ date on 1 January 2007.

Skills4Work’s Terry Wood went to Intergen and said “Can you jump?”. “How high?” was Intergen’s response.

Turn the clock back a few weeks – 22 December saw Skills4Work Incorporated come into being, following a strategy to reorganise Competenz, Apprentice Training New Zealand and Career Training New Zealand into two separate independent organisations (Competenz and Skills4Work). Skills4Work will focus on enhancing the skills and productivity of New Zealand industry through a national network for training and workforce solutions.

The consolidation of three businesses into one posed a complete strategic rethink of the data managements systems in place. Skills4Work accountant Terry Wood describes the scenario.

“The upgrade from Microsoft Dynamics NAV 3.6 to Microsoft Dynamics NAV version 4, Service Pack 3 was critical to support our decision to move onto Sequel Server 2005 in a few months' time. It was made all the more challenging due to the fact that we were merging three companies with fairly similar databases, so duplication of processes and data would be a major headache to iron out. We needed a partner with the resources, the skill and the understanding of our business to make this project happen without dropping the ball. There were too many critical deadlines in place, particularly the necessity to provide an error free switch over for the payroll of over 550 apprentices employed throughout the country.”

Terry Wood explains that Skills4Work had already seen tremendous value from working with Intergen. He had previously completed a very successful system change from a DOS based system, which held high risk and was a liability for the future. He took the company onto Microsoft Dynamics NAV Version 3.6 because it was highly customisable and a good cost effectivesolution and the people at Intergen came across as very competent.

“Moving forward, it became apparent that an upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4 SP3 and the extra functionality it could deliver, as well as the Microsoft Sequel technology platform, would be extremely advantageous for the future. On the advice of Intergen we made the critical decision to do the upgrade at the time we merged our three organisations. This turned out to be very sound advice, even though it looked like it would put our team under a lot of pressure.”

Providing the right resources to make deadline
Terry Wood believes not many providers have Intergen’s make-it-happen attitude. “The turnaround time was phenomenal thanks to the tremendous effort of the Intergen team. Normally a project like this would take 4-6 months to achieve, and they turned it around in less than 4 weeks. The Intergen team would be checking databases at midnight, and resourced the project right through the Christmas break.

This dedication is, I believe, the norm for Intergen. They threw all the resources they had at the project.”

Intergen’s Business Solutions General Manager Richard Jacobs believes having a customer that was committed to a good result was the other important half of the equation. “Skills4Work wanted a great result. Many companies might say ‘we can do something but not right now’. In this instance we said, this is business-critical for our customer, we must do it.

Intergen was able to quickly engage resources from right across the business, not just the Microsoft Dynamics NAV team.”

On Time. On Budget. Measurable Result
Jacobs describes the final result in six words: “On time, on budget, measurable result.” After considerable testing a ‘go live’ date of 1 January 2007 was met. “All our projects have a qualified PM to provide governance and risk mitigation. This is not an inexpensive resource but the outcome from good project managers for the client and Intergen makes it worth every cent. Budget is a very important consideration,” adds Jacobs. Discussing the measurable result, Jacobs says, “as an ex CFO, I know that the real test is whether the solution can provide real dollars to the bottom line. In business today, the fluffy stuff is gone. If the ROI cannot be seen pretty quickly it’s not worth doing. We will continue to work with their business to measure the true results of this change.”

Terry Wood comments on the ERP landscape. “Look around and you’ll see most ERP projects don’t actually make their development on time. It’s very hard to measure what needs to be done and there are multiple issues on the table. Intergen did a very thorough job of evaluating and defining what was needed and doing it.”

New efficiencies
Meeting the complexity of the Apprentice Payroll on time was well within Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4’s capabilities. Skills4Work pays the wages of over 550 apprentices in 300 companies throughout New Zealand. Time sheets arrive via fax and the permutations of different pay rates, scales, allowances and hours worked pose an enormous task. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4’s ability to reverse out journals is a significant enhancement, expected to save considerable time.

Shorter, more concise routes have replaced multiple key processes. Wood believes major reporting processes will be easier, and the move through to Sequel 2005 will allow him to expand the dimensions and details for reporting in the future.

The upgrade will also provide efficiencies throughout the business, including the management of fixed assets, resource management, general ledger and sales and purchasing processes. Wood comments: “We have cleaned up many processes very effectively, and there will be a lot of new efficiencies across the organisation.”

For more information contact
Intergen
www.intergen.co.nz

Business Solutions Enquiries:
Wayne Forgesson
Business Development Director
04 472 2021

March 2007

 

At A Glance

Business Objective
A short notice, a date-critical upgrade to an existing Microsoft NAV platform to provide a robust business reporting and information platform with the functionality to support the reorganisation of Competenz, Apprentice Training New Zealand and Career Training New Zealand.

Solution
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4 SP3 implemented by Intergen.

Business Benefits
Skills4Work has gained good early benefits across its financial reporting processes, including enhanced payroll procedures. Business processes are simpler, and they have expanded the number of dimensions and details for reporting. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4 now in place, Skills4Work is ready to go on Sequel Server, and positioned for further best practice business mechanisms as they fulfill their goal to become New Zealand’s leading industry training provider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further Reading

Visit the Intergen Business Solutions exhibit in the ERP Pavilion

Visit Microsoft Dynamics in the ERP Pavilion

Visit the ERP Research Centre

 

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