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
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
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.”
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.”
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