Reference case

ERP migration at a Top 10 Engineering Firm

22 March 2023
Key messages
  • For projects to be successful, a combination of planning, communication, and broad experience in managing change is vital
  • Having a robust testing process in place helps to guarantee a reliable high quality tool that meets user expectations 

  • The project management role is critical, as it ensures that all involved parties, changes, and decisions remained aligned with the overall project goals

One of Belgium’s top 10 engineering firms specialized in infrastructure and technology needed to replace their outdated AX2009 application with the newer cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 FO. 

To achieve this, a team of accomplished TriFinance experts closely collaborated with the client's Finance, Accounting, Procurement, and IT teams, and with consultants from a third-party implementation partner.  

As part of this process, the finance & administration, and procurement procedures were reviewed, adapted, and optimized to best practices in D365FO with the goal of achieving standardization and automation.

Achieving Success through Business Process Transparency, Analysis, and Project Management

The TriFinance team was engaged in supporting the client in their ERP migration project, which involved moving from their current ERP to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations.

The team,  consisting of Senior Project manager Brigitte Dulak and Process analysts Willem-Jan Dryvers, Xavier Gosselin, and Steven van Eycken was responsible for the following:

  • managing the project (defining project scope, objectives, and deliverables and developing a project plan including timelines, milestones, and resource allocation)
  • managing the change,
  • analyzing the AS-IS Finance and Procurement processes,
  • performing a fit-gap analysis,
  • supporting the business in the upgrade from the on-premise ReadSoft application to the online version,
  • providing support to the business during the data migration process,
  • leading the acceptance testing phase,
  • developing new financial and procurement reports,
  • designing the security and governance structure for the new ERP system,
  • instructing, guiding, and coaching the Finance and Procurement team members,
  • correctly documenting the new processes, procedures, and work instructions.

The project team ensured a successful outcome by managing the project in such a way that all deliverables were completed on time and within budget.

As part of our approach, we proactively managed changes that arose during the project, including a process to handle change requests and the communication of the benefits of the changes to stakeholders.

Brigitte Dulak, Project Manager, CFO Services

Minimizing the risk of process disruptions and data loss

The first challenge was setting up project management. Our project manager worked with the client to define the project scope, objectives, and deliverables and developed a project plan that included timelines, milestones, and resource allocation.

Our business analysts prioritized transparency and analysis of the client's Finance and Procurement processes, a crucial step in identifying areas for improvement. Through a thorough AS-IS analysis, we created a shared vision and garnered overall support within the organization for the desired TO-BE situation. As a result, we saw increased buy-in and adoption of the new ERP system.

“To minimize the risk of process disruptions during the migration, we conducted a fit-gap analysis to identify differences between the current business processes and the new ERP system's capabilities,” Project consultant Xavier Gosselin explains. 

Any gaps or discrepancies between the two were documented and evaluated, and recommendations were made to either modify the existing processes or customize the ERP system to meet the business needs.

Supporting the data migration

During the migration, the TriFinance project team played a crucial role in supporting the client by leading the acceptance testing phase and validating the deliverables

This was done by developing thorough test scenarios and conducting regular testing sessions jointly with the dedicated users in Finance and Procurement. The testing approach helped uncover issues or potential risks before they become complications.

The team provided support for the data migration by ensuring that all data was clean, properly mapped, and transferred from the legacy system to the new system. Additionally, they helped validate the data to ensure its accuracy and completeness and worked with the business to resolve any issues that arose during the migration process.

Our support helped minimize the risk of data loss and data corruption, and it ensured that the new ERP system was fully functional from day one.

Willem-Jan Dryvers, Project Consultant, CFO Services

Meeting reporting needs

The upgrade to D365FO presented an opportunity for the client to develop new financial and procurement reporting that would facilitate the evaluation of business performance and decision-making. The TriFinance team recognized this opportunity and worked closely with the client to understand their reporting needs and develop new, advanced reports that leveraged the full potential of the new ERP system.

Communicating the benefits, engaging the stakeholders, and training the end-users

 The project team provided support for the fit-gap analysis, migration, and report development for the new ERP system. The team played a crucial role in designing the security and governance structure of the system to ensure appropriate security measures were in place to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access. 

They also trained administrators on how to maintain system security, ensuring that the new ERP met the organization's compliance requirements and mitigating the risk of security breaches. Their efforts provided a secure and well-governed foundation for the ERP system.

Comprehensive work instructions were created, and training was provided to the Finance and Procurement teams on how to effectively use the new ERP system in their daily operations. This training resulted in a seamless transition, increased productivity, and improved efficiency in Finance and Procurement processes.

The team followed a structured and organized approach to project management to ensure that all deliverables were completed on time and within budget. The project management structure allowed for progress monitoring, risk identification and mitigation, and effective communication with stakeholders through regular project status meetings. This approach ensured that the project remained on track and that everyone was aware of their role and responsibilities.

Managing change was a critical factor in ensuring the successful outcome of the project, and the team recognized this. As part of their structured and organized approach to project management, they proactively managed changes that arose during the project. This included a process for handling change requests and communicating the benefits of the changes to stakeholders. The team engaged and involved stakeholders, provided training for end-users, and ensured that everyone was equipped to handle the changes. This approach allowed them to maintain project momentum, minimize disruptions, and achieve project goals.

Navigating the challenges

However, the project did face challenges, including the fluctuating COVID-19 restrictions (new ways of working), multiple parties involved (TriFinance, a 3rd party implementation partner for D365FO, and another partner for RSO, all internal users and stakeholders), and the multitude of means of communication (internal and 3rd party ticketing systems, emails, informal and formal calls, etc.).

Communication and language preferences were other important aspects of the project. Although the main language was English, TriFinance was the only party that managed to conduct the GAP Analysis and train the users in their preferred language: Dutch or French. This flexibility facilitated the process analysis workshops and ERP training for the business tremendously and consequently secured the buy-in and success of the project in the end.

'Our team navigated the challenges and managed to change stakeholders' skeptical mindsets by delivering user-friendly solutions and demonstrating the positive impact on business outcomes,' Project manager Brigitte Dulak says. By doing so, the TriFinance team benefited from a steep learning curve in both business and technology-related knowledge and in the running of an implementation project.

Success through professional cooperation

In early 2022, the project went live successfully with TriFinance consultants providing optimal support and solutions to the client through their proactive mindset and practical approach.  Despite COVID-19 restrictions, a new way of working was installed at the client's site.

Although the project had a tight timeframe and the client had a complex infrastructure, the three parties collaborated professionally and completed the changeover successfully.

Thanks to the continuous business support of the TriFinance consultants, the Finance department continued to function smoothly before, during, and after the ERP transformation.