U.K. Services Firm Boosts Productivity with Business Management Solution

Norland Managed Services is a provider of facilities maintenance and support services to large national and global businesses. The company is growing fast, and its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was proving insufficient for its employees’ needs. With Microsoft Dynamics AX, staff are more productive and the firm has greater visibility over operations, giving it a competitive edge.

Business Needs

Norland needed to replace its existing ERP system, which didn’t have the range of functionality that employees needed to do their jobs effectively. Its primary aim was to integrate internal and external management information across the entire organisation.

Duncan Green, Group Financial Director at Norland Managed Services, says: “We needed a system that was suitable for a large, fast-growing company. Our existing solution wasn’t much more than a recording system—it didn’t manage the whole spectrum of work, which is what we really needed. Processes were time-consuming, and the information we received lacked clarity and was difficult to report on.”


Norland chose Microsoft Dynamics AX to give the company the flexible and scalable ERP functionality it required. At the same time, it decided to encourage smooth expansion by strategically committing to work with a range of Microsoft products and services.

Green says: “At the time, Microsoft Dynamics AX was the only system that allowed us to develop a proper job costing system. We use all the finance modules, all the ledgers for purchasing, and customer relationship management (CRM). Microsoft Dynamics AX helps us manage costs against customer contracts—plus, the human resources (HR) functionality is particularly important to a service management company.”


With Microsoft Dynamics AX, Norland has gained a scalable, reliable system that’s not only helping the company growth, but is also giving customers even better service. “When you’re growing as fast as we are, you need something that’s scalable,” says Green. Ian Windmill, Head of Business Systems at Norland, adds: “A good example of how Microsoft Dynamics AX supports the business is that we’re currently moving into other countries—the system has handled this easily. As for reliability, it’s business-critical to us that we don’t have disruptions, so we’re in a good place with Microsoft Dynamics AX.”

Greater visibility and control. Because the system has given greater visibility to areas such as job costing, contract profit and loss, and contract management, Norland is able to make better and faster decisions about each contract it manages. And being able to constantly monitor activities and react in real time has encouraged a positive cycle of refinement. “We can now monitor and control all aspects of a contract as it’s progressing—this means we’re now preventing delays, which in turn leads to faster turnarounds and improved performance,” says Green. “As a result, our customers are now getting a better, more organised and faster service.” Customers have greater visibility too—a new online reporting tool allows them to monitor the status of any work relating to their own contracts, at any time.

Increased competitiveness. With Microsoft Dynamics AX, Norland is more competitive. The system has helped the company compete and drive the growth of the business by boosting customer confidence in the organisation. “Accurate and effective control of costs is a win-win situation for us—and our customers,” says Windmill. “The whole aspect of opening things up and making information more visible to customers has changed dramatically for us in the last few years. Microsoft Dynamics AX has played a big part in this.” Being able to show off what the company’s system can do for them gives a good impression to potential new customers. “With Microsoft Dynamics AX in place, we can demonstrate how things work and how we control costs to the benefit of our customers. People can see for themselves that we’ve got things under control and that we’ve got good management,” says Windmill.

Enhanced productivity.Microsoft Dynamics AX, along with other Microsoft products and services, bring everything together seamlessly—not only linking systems and software, but also helping people work together more effectively. “We don’t want departments to work separately from each other,” says Windmill. “Microsoft Dynamics AX helps us work in a more streamlined way.” In turn, it’s a natural progression that this integration improves productivity. “Microsoft Dynamics AX makes it easier for our 600 users to get the information they need—and this means that they can do the job better,” says Windmill. “We’ve managed to deliver some real operational efficiency.”

Good foundation for the future.

As a service management company, how Norland manages and trains its people is particularly important. “We have solid plans about how we’re going to develop our use of Microsoft Dynamics AX in the short and medium term. In this way, we can make sure we have effective account management in place to get the best out of our people. It also helps us understand what skills we have in-house. This fits neatly with our ethos of always striving to provide better customer service,” says Windmill. And because Norland has standardised on Microsoft products, it doesn’t have to worry about future integration. Windmill says: “After moving to Microsoft Dynamics AX, we asked some of our users what they thought. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.” Green adds: “Choosing Microsoft Dynamics AX has been an excellent strategy for us—we’re seeing continual improvements in all aspects of what we do.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Customer Size: Large Organization
Industry: Outsourced Services
Country or Region: United Kingdom
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX
Organization Profile:

Norland provides facilities management and support services to both private and public-sector customers. The company turns over £400 million and has experienced more than 20 per cent organic growth year-on-year for the last 12 years.

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