Specialist Services Holdings Ltd, a Dubai-based global manufacturing and engineering company in the Oil and Gas industry, had grown considerably since its founding. Its top management had a requirement to get full information and have business visibility for better decision-making. The company deployed Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 as a platform that would enable it to better manage information and company processes, leverage scale for business growth, and control its operations from a systems point of view.
Specialist Services Holdings Ltd (Specialist Services) is a Dubai-based global company that manufactures and supplies modular buildings and packaging solutions for major companies in oil and gas industries all over the world. Its product solutions include portable and modular drilling, testing, and process equipment and highly-customized extraction site offices, laboratories, workshops and cabins. Following the acquisition by HSBC Private Equity of a majority stake in the company in 2009, Specialist Services reviewed its internal
|Specialist Services has come of age as a result of real time visibility, informed decision making and improvement in productivity.|
| Ian Rogers|
Chief Executive Officer
Specialist Services Holdings Ltd
systems capabilities to prepare for growth opportunities and a possible IPO.
After such a review, Specialist Services CEO Ian Rogers said, “We saw a need to seriously upgrade our internal systems capabilities. Our business had grown considerably but getting full information and business visibility for management decision-making was somewhat challenging since data was spread across various departments. We clearly needed a platform that would enable us to better manage information and company processes and systems, leverage scale as we grow our business, and control our operations and activities from a systems point of view. This had become critical since as our organization grew, different departments were doing different things, and a lot of rework was taking place.”
For a number of years, Specialist Services used basic financial software and spreadsheets to track its financial activities, as well as separate, isolated applications for different functional areas, including for project management. Hence, financial information was not integrated with other key company activities such as project development, management or manufacturing, which would have allowed top management to see how all parts of the business were doing.
“For instance, we lacked the visibility to see how finances were handled in our projects. Our project managers also often had difficulty planning ahead for costing and allocated man-hours because our project management software was not integrated with our financial systems. Getting key reports also took weeks. To me, it was like driving a car by looking in the rear mirror. It was very difficult,” said Rogers. In Search of a Complete and Integrated Solution for Better Business Visibility and Quicker Decision-Making
“Moving forward, it was imperative that we had a single, integrated platform for all our business activities, which linked, for instance, our entire financial system with project management,” said Rogers. “It was to our best interest as a company to have an enterprise resource planning solution that covered all department functionalities and gathered data In one platform, and which was able to produce reports and crunch numbers in an effective, speedy, and timely manner,” he explained.
|Moving forward, it was imperative that we had a single, integrated platform for all our business activities, which linked, for instance, our entire financial system with project management.|
| Ian Rogers|
Services Holdings Ltd
In February 2011, Specialist Services considered various ERP solutions including SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. “What we did was to look at what was available in the market by inviting several potential implementation partners to recommend an ERP system. It boiled down to three vendors who did a presentation to a committee composed of myself, senior managers, and senior members of the Board of Directors. So rather than going after the market and saying we want to buy this ERP system or that, we asked local experts to come and tell us what would best fit our business. Our choice of ERP solution was not only about evaluating a product, but also about evaluating a partner and its ability to implement a solution that meets our business needs and long-term goals,” said Rogers.
“In the end, we chose Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 + ADEACA Advanced Projects which was user-friendly, easy to use, highly-scalable and customizable, and had the features that met our needs. As important, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 had the look-and-feel that our people were familiar with, since Microsoft products like Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Outlook are already key applications in our technology environment,” said Sanjiev Popat, Specialist Services Project Manager. “In addition, although Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 had come out at that time, we went for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 which we felt was a more stable option. We knew that we could always implement the newer version later on if we needed to,” he said.
Rapid Deployment in a Large Business Environment
As implementation partner, Specialist Services chose Dubai-based LS2 Consulting is a leading industry-specific business solution provider with a comprehensive portfolio of products and services. LS2 Consulting, a division of LS2Pluto, also has a long running presence in the Middle East and a global footprint. “We chose LS2 Consulting because they demonstrated they had the resources both here and offshore, experience in implementing solutions in the manufacturing sector, and rich domain expertise across verticals and industries that helps them gain sharper insights into customer needs,” said Rogers.
“When we accepted the project, there was an urgency to go live on 1 April 2012, which was the start of Specialist Services’ financial year. So we were looking at a quick implementation timeline of seven months,” said Sabah Salam, LS2Pluto Regional Sales Manager. “The implementation process was complex and required complete end-to-end coverage, which fully utilized all features and capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics, from cost and project estimation to project delivery,” said Shiva Kathiresan, LS2Pluto Director.
“We also had to remove past stand-alone applications, and combine Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 and ADEACA Advanced Projects, a single consolidated solution that provides a project-centric approach to efficiently manage project-focused businesses. ADEACA Advanced Projects is also a complete enterprise project ERP add-on with advanced project management capabilities including resource management, project and portfolio analytics, and project costing,” explained Shiva. Moving Forward with Better Business Visibility
LS2Pluto successfully prepared the solution in seven months, ready for implementation on the 1 April 2012 deadline. Asked about how the implementation has impacted their business operations, Rogers said, “The key story about this implementation project is that Specialist Services has come of age as a result of real time visibility, informed decision making and improvement in productivity. For example, in relation to the way we manage projects today, we are confident about being on top of things, knowing their status, and having access to project costs in real-time. We are also better able to compare one job to another, and benchmark various project standards and timelines. We also have integrated, seamless processes from start to finish, and acquired a level of sophistication that enables us to continually improve our performance. These immensely benefit our customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders.”
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