When Standards New Zealand wanted a single finance and logistics system to replace an aging platform with a host of home-grown ‘bolt ons’, it turned to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. Its existing system was functional and, despite being unsupported, wasn’t actually broken. To demonstrate real value the replacement technology had to deliver new and enhanced functionality and an ability to ‘mop up’ all the legacy satellite applications. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 has given the organization a single source for data and information, as well as reducing costs, and improving productivity and efficiency. Situation
Standards New Zealand is an autonomous Crown entity based in Wellington. It is New Zealand’s leading developer of Standards and facilitates industry and stakeholder buy-in to Standards development.
Support for Standards New Zealand’s Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system was coming to an end. While a number of the organization’s critical systems were running on Windows 2000 servers and could be upgraded to run on later versions of Windows, this wasn’t the case for the finance and logistics system.
This was a limited functionality, Windows-based application which Standards New Zealand had used for a decade without upgrading – it was now seven versions behind the most recently updated edition and it was clear to the organization that an upgrade would involve the same effort as configuring and introducing a brand new solution.
An added factor behind the decision to replace the old system was that, where it had been deficient or unable to complete a particular task, home-built applications and an assortment of spreadsheets and databases had grown up around it. Standards New Zealand needed a single system that that would do everything the organization needed it to do.
The program implementation team were keen to use the opportunity presented by the upgrade to ‘leapfrog’ the Standards New Zealand finance and logistics system as far forward as possible, replacing the many home-built legacy systems with proprietary products, introducing commonly accepted best practice, deploying test and disaster recovery systems, and creating a stable IT environment that would support the organization’s back office needs for years to come. Solution
The process of identifying the replacement technology that would best meet these needs started in August 2009. One Request for Information (RFI) and two Request for Proposals (RFP) were issued in line with the procurement guidelines published by the Office of the Auditor General.
Each shortlisted vendor was scored by a wide team representing the different business groups and functions within Standards New Zealand, in conjunction with a smaller steering group. Vendor solutions were evaluated on written responses, presentations, price (including total cost of ownership), reference checks and the cultural fit between the project delivery team and Standards New Zealand staff.
Evaluation team members were asked to score on functionality and fit before they were allowed to see the costings for each solution.
“We could not afford to let price become the primary decision factor,” says Michelle Wessing, General Manager of Standards Solutions and Shared Services at Standards New Zealand.
The evaluating teams determined that the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool best fitted Standards New Zealand’s business requirements while also providing the best opportunity for growth.
The organization then ran a proof of concept phase to fully establish the fit before making its final decision.
The product was implemented by teams from the Auckland and Wellington offices of Microsoft partner Intergen. Work started in February 2011 and was completed by the end of the following month with no significant interruption to normal business.
Wessing said the success of the implementation was due at least in part to significant staff involvement in the business requirements information gathering at the start of the process, and the testing at the end.
Standards New Zealand intends to integrate Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 with an off-the-shelf web service tool, replacing the manual interface between the system and the organization’s e–commerce platform. It’s also considering using role-based dashboard views of the system to aid business intelligence forecasting and reporting.
Other Microsoft products under consideration include various collaboration tools.
“We were greatly impressed with the AX-related surface applications we saw at the 2012 Dynamics Day in Auckland,” says Wessing. Benefits
Standards New Zealand has seen many benefits from Microsoft Dynamics AX, including:
•Single platform to house data
•Integrated marketing data
•Reduction in costs
•Consistency of data and information across the organization
•Adaptability and potential for on-going integration
Besides replacing Standards New Zealand’s finance and logistics system, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 successfully replaced most of the organization’s related stand-alone legacy applications and business-critical, home-built databases and spreadsheets.
A single ‘Source of Truth’ for core business data means Standards New Zealand no longer operates multiple databases, resulting in improved efficiency, greater accuracy and more effective communication with customers and committee members. It also means the organization can much more efficiently market to existing customers as new standards are developed or old standards updated.
Standards New Zealand customers have benefitted from the upgrade as well. They now receive account statements and remittance advice notes by email instead of by post, enabling improved efficiencies and reduced processing costs.
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 has also enabled Standards New Zealand to gear up for future challenges and changes to its business. The organization is investigating in building a set of collaborative tools that integrate with the system to provide a superior standards development and communication platform for its more than 3,000 committee members. Video conferencing and other enhanced communication tools, for example, will make online committee meetings more productive and reduce the number of face-to-face meetings required.
Standards New Zealand also aims to use the system to roll out its existing services across a range of mobile communication platforms such as smart phones and tablets.
“Overall, the programme of work to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 was a great success,” says Wessing.
“It delivered a set of working systems and services on time and on budget. In catching up on 10 years of little or no investment in ICT, it delivered a stable and robust platform, capable of supporting new and innovative revenue generating services.” Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:
www.microsoft.com/dynamics For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services go to:
For more information about Intergen products and services visit the website at: www.intergen.co.nz
For more information about Standards New Zealand products and services visit the website at: www.standards.co.nz This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.