Firm Enhances Fiscal Management and Project Monitoring by Implementing ERP Solution

Control & Applications Technology Solutions LLC (CATS) is a specialized supplier, installation and maintenance company. It delivers solutions and services to its clients in different industries such as metals and mining, oil and gas, as well as the power and water industries in the Middle East. Implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 has given the company comprehensive visibility over its projects, resulting in better execution and more efficient financial control.

CATS provides a diverse portfolio of services and solutions in the areas of automation and telecommunications, industrial measurement and flow control, engineering and integration, analytical integration, environmental solutions and integrated security. The bulk of the company’s clients come from the oil and gas, refining and petrochemical, metals and mining, power and water industries in the Middle East. Because of the highly technical nature of the sectors in which the company operates, being able to have a complete overview and control over a project’s status, including its financial viability is critical.

*Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 alerts our project managers if the expected budget for a task is being reached or about to be exceeded. This allows us to track and manage project costs much more efficiently.*

Hesham Hassan
Finance & Administration Manager

Previously, CATS encountered considerable challenges in keeping track of multiple projects that it was engaged in. For starters, the company did not have a comprehensive view of what was happening in every project. This made it difficult for the project managers to properly manage the projects assigned to them. Additionally, there was a risk that a project would exceed its estimated budget as there was no system in place that gave an overview of the financial status. The project managers were also getting information piecemeal, hampering their ability to make sound business decisions.
“It was very frustrating and becoming increasingly problematic to run the day-to-day operations and trying to ensure that things were on track, as they had difficulty in obtaining meaningful reports that would provide a realistic view of their projects,“ says Hesham Hassan, Finance & Administration Manager at CATS.

“For us, complete control over a project is critical to success. This can only be achieved by having full visibility of every stage, particularly those relating to resource allocation and financial management. This information should be available in real-time,” he adds.

Instead of engaging in firefighting, the company wanted to be more proactive.

“We wanted to provide tools that were easy to use, allowing everyone in the project access to critical information at their fingertips. In order to manage our projects properly, it was important that we had a clear picture of what was going on. This would allow us to respond more quickly and take necessary measures before an issue became critical.”
It was also important, that every project contributed to the company’s bottom line.
“There is a substantial amount of resources and money involved in every venture that our company undertakes. It is critical for us, that we end up being financially sound once a project is completed. Therefore, we wanted a comprehensive real-time view of all project-related costs and expected revenue.”

CATS began the process of finding an integrated ERP solution that would fulfill its business requirements and at the same time, easy-to-use. As the company was already using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, it was highly interested in knowing if whether the next version would be able to address their needs.
“We were very keen in knowing more about the new features in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. During one of the presentations, we learned that Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 has extensive project management and accounting functionality. For example, we could simulate the entire project life cycle and reasonably determine actual project costs. This would give us the financial insight that we needed that would ensure that accepting a project would be profitable for the company. Additionally, we could earmark and post revenue based on internal sales process as well as monitor profitability by allocation area. Equally important was the fact that we could control procurement at a granular level.”

The comprehensive reporting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 also sparked great interest within the firm.
“One of the challenges that we have always faced, is that we do not have an efficient way in which project members could create and submit their time sheets. Upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 will make it easier for our employees to perform this task, as they can create time sheets using a web browser or from the ERP system. Additionally, being able to create reports quickly would allow our project managers to focus on their work, rather than wasting their time hunting for information.”

CATS also wanted to efficiently manage their employees.

“We needed to ensure that our staff is available either online or on-site, to perform the tasks needed in order to complete the different milestones of a project. Fortunately, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 has a human capital management (HCM) module that allows us to allocate resources more effectively.”

CATS is happy that it chose CEM as its partner and realized the quality in CEM consultants and processes in implementing projects successfully. CATS continues to work with CEM in enhancing the ERP solution in other areas such as AX Payroll and specific capabilities like sub-contracting, advance project accounting, surplus inventory tracking and others which are much needed by a project execution company.
“We have worked with them in previous projects, and we have always been very satisfied with their expertise and professionalism. Considering that they successfully helped us in implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 and coupled with their extensive knowledge of our business processes, we were certain that CEM Business Solutions FZ LLC would be the perfect partner in upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.”

The implementation has proven to be a resounding success for the company.

Cohesive Dynamic Budgeting System
“We wanted to be certain that we had taken all necessary steps to ensure, that a project was financially viable and cost-effective. By utilizing the dynamic budget module of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, it alerts our project managers if the expected budget for a task is being reached or about to be exceeded. This allows us to track and manage project costs much more efficiently.”

Broad Dynamic Reporting
One of the important key performance indicators (KPI) for the company involved comprehensive reporting capabilities. Because of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, the firm can create a suite of dynamic reports such as project status, employee information, annual leave analysis, and head count.

“Having the ability to create these reports, has given us a whole level of visibility in our projects that we have been sorely missing. We are now able to run our projects much more effectively."

Flexibility and Integration with Microsoft Products
Being able to integrate with the firm’s Microsoft infrastructure and solutions has provided an extensive level of flexibility by creating a synergy effect. This means that Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 can be used seamlessly together with Microsoft Office.

Next Steps
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This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Customer Size: Small Organization
Industry: Other Services
Country or Region: United Arab Emirates
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
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