ERP Evergreen becomes reality for Maersk Container Industry

On 10 June 2019 MCI turned the ERP Evergreen dream into reality

On Monday 10 June 2019 Maersk Container Industry (MCI) went live on Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) v10. This comes almost two years after implementing test automation, one of the fundamentals of ERP Evergreen. For MCI it means this ERP implementation was their last and they are ready to harvest the long-term benefits of an always-updated business system.

MCI began the D365FO journey late 2015 as a Microsoft TAP Project. While spring and summer 2016 presented many challenges and first site go-live admittedly wasn’t as easy as hoped for, MCI never took their eyes off the value proposition of achieving ERP Evergreen.

ERP Evergreen, or continuous upgradability, is a complex thing. It not only requires the actual ERP application code to be upgradeable but also that the organization is prepared for and has the capabilities to conduct thorough and accurate pre-upgrade testing. Inadequate testing can result in incompatibilities between the new version and existing customisations and ISVs solutions and subsequent serious business disruptions.

Unfortunately, testing and upgrading has in the past been resource-heavy tasks which have been down-prioritised. For this reason, we have seen that new ERP implementations usually come in big bang projects every 8-10 years, leaving the entire organization exhausted and costing a fortune.

But those days are over if you, like MCI, give yourself the best conditions and:

  • Think carefully about current and future possible business scenarios to avoid building and implementing something that does not allow future business process flexibility
  • Implement automated application testing to make sure that for every deployment all code and process consistency can be tested automatically
  • Team up with a competent and long-term partner, who runs your applications as their own

When MCI went live on D365FO v10 on Monday 10 June, more than 60 test cycles had been executed and all application code had been lifted from overlayering to extensions. This has involved the lifting of 1200 objects of which 100 objects have required functionality modifications in order to be upgraded, as well as the lifting of eight different ISV solutions – a massive undertaking done by operations and support partner, Sonata Software.

I would like to congratulate MCI and Sonata for working hard and focused on turning the ERP Evergreen dream into reality.

In doubt about cloud-based D365 and the value of continuous upgrade? My best advice is this: Stop worrying, plan for the future, pick your implementation partner carefully and start your journey towards your last ERP implementation today.

Jakob Ingemann
Business Advisor, CEO & Partner

Microsoft partner Sonata Software invests in IZARA

The strong IZARA board consists of Peter Mægbæk, Jakob Ingemann, and Tridip Saha from Sonata. Not in the picture is CCO Thomas Meede.

Global software solutions and Microsoft partner Sonata Software has invested in 15% of IZARA. The move strengthens our partnership and cements shared goals for changing ERP and IT into as-a-service industry with customer-value maximization and long-term partnerships.

“We are extremely pleased with the partnership with IZARA, and see great potential in developing the collaboration even further,” says Tridip Saha, who is responsible for the European business at Sonata Software: “We see an excellent match between our two companies in both skill set and geographical coverage and especially in relation to our strategic work with IT needs of our customers.”

For us at IZARA the investment is a vote of confidence that brings along new business opportunities.

Sonata puts great trust in us by expanding the partnership this way. With this investment, we can go to market as a far bigger player than before, and that makes us a more attractive business partner on larger projects. It also means that it will become easier for us to deliver solutions that are flexible and more scalable for our clients,” Jakob Ingemann, CEO at IZARA says.

Read the articles (for subscribers, Danish) in IT-Watch here and Børsen here and read about Sonata Software here.

Danish IT company Configit entrusts IZARA to implement and move the entire ERP system into the cloud

Configit logo

After a strong past and expected future growth, Configit will implement a new ERP system which reinforces the company’s backbone while accommodating the large increase in employees.

“The time has come to go through such a complicated project, as it is to change the ERP system. In the meantime, business must move on so it’s a bit like changing the engine while the car is driving – and we feel safe at IZARA’s way of managing the process,” says Configit’s founder and CEO Henrik Reif Andersen to ITWatch.

IZARA’s CEO, Jakob Ingemann, looks forward to future-proofing Configit’s ERP but emphasizes the importance in solid planning. “This ERP implementation can be done is as little as three-month, but while we do appreciate fast time-to-value, we always focus on limiting business disruption. Therefore, we have designed an eight-months implementation process in which Configit will have the best possible conditions for running business as usual.”

The solution is based on Microsoft Dynamics365 standard solution and a service agreement with IZARA’s partner Sonata which will handle support, testing and continuous upgrading of the ERP system behind the scenes.

Read more about what’s in it for Configit, moving business systems to the cloud and IZARA’s projections for its own future growth here (subscribers only):

Allowing transparency and predictability to drive MCI performance.

IZARA and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations helped Maersk Container Industry/MCI improve communication, transparency, and predictability across all facilities

For Maersk Container Industry (MCI), an outdated business system had resulted in a shift towards spreadsheet usage and non-optimal communication across the global operations. After the successful Dynamics 365 implementation MCI had improved its

  • transparency and understanding of risks and costs,
  • data consistency and accurate cost settings,
  • predictability and pro-active, data-driven decisions.

MCI manufactures refrigerated containers, refrigeration machines and dry containers to the intermodal industry, which covers shipping lines, fruit multinationals and leasing companies. Furthermore, MCI has a global after sales service network and sells spare parts to 400 service providers across the world. With a production of 400 dry and more than 150 highly technical reefer containers per day in the facilities in Chile, South and North China, seamless communication and transparency is key.

In 2015, MCI and IZARA partnered to conduct a thorough infrastructure and application landscape review to assess the current state and outline a path for the future.

During the analysis phase, we found that MCI was facing some of the most common challenges for businesses operating in a margin-driven industry, namely outdated and single resource dependent infrastructure and an ERP which was neither fully implemented nor up to date. Thus, MCI could benefit from improved

  • communication through access from all locations,
  • data consistency through a single data repository and maintenance,
  • transparency of cost and resource usage,
  • planning tools,
  • user rights control and segregation of duties.

All in all, the analysis depicted a sizeable improvement potential for MCI, both in the internal use of systems and applications as well as in the customer facing parts of the business. The journey forward was named “Ten years in one” to highlight both the size of the change and the speed in which it would be implemented.

To determine the best way forward, MCI and IZARA immediately started identifying the selection criteria and with keywords such as predictability, flexibility, and scalability and a desire to move IT from internal pain to external service, a perfect fit was found in the cloud- and subscription-based Dynamics 365.Based on the analysis, we identified three alternative strategies: a) leave as is and accept, that the business system wouldn’t be as business enabling as newer systems allow for, b) upgrade from the current business system, M3 version 6 to version 13 which would mean re-implementation, and c) look at alternative ERP solutions.

The pre-implementation testing phase showed that majority of the standard Dynamics 365 components were suitable for MCI which would not only make the solution easily supported but also improve MCI’s time-to-value significantly. The final solution comprises of a standard ERP system with seven add-on ISV solutions centered in an AZURE datacenter on the US east-coast as that network-wise has proven to be the right ‘center of the world’ for MCI’s global operations.

MCI’s new and stronger backbone integrates 700 users in the four MCI locations, connects 400 service providers through real-time integrated e-commerce, seven global 3rd party logistics distribution centers, mobile device framework for efficient warehouse and shop floor operation, and can receive EDI orders directly from the needing vessels and other customers.

The case also revealed how resource-intensive manual testing is for successful ERP implementation and upgrades. MCI’s new solution therefore ensures monthly patches and bi-annual feature upgrades by IZARA’s partner Sonata. This is ensured through test-automation of 90% of discrete and end-to-end business processes.

The business add-on and improvement phase is still ongoing, with no disruptions of course. So far 700 users have been moved to the new platform and we expect 50-100 users to follow in the next 3-6 months as we move into QC management, product lifecycle management integration, and digitalization of internal operations.

“Dynamics 365 has provided us with increased transparency and flexibility across our businesses, supporting data driven decision throughout the value chain.

IZARA assisted us in analysing and mapping our IT-spend and confirmed that we probably did not spend too much in total, but a big part of the spend was not really-value adding activities. After a thorough business objective and needs analysis by IZARA, Dynamics 365 in the cloud and surrounding services was shortlisted. During implementation IZARA took charge of project management as well as finance lead to ensure implementation of the agreed project objectives in all corners of the company.

Post go-live IZARA is still dedicated to optimizing our implementation and usage, helping us setting the direction and ambition for the usage and integration of the business system as an evergreen solution so we hopefully never have to implement again…unless technology disrupts.

Lars Heineke, CFO, MCI Group

For a short video on the Microsoft Dynamics implementation at MCI, click here.

About us

At IZARA we put your freedom first. Freedom from overspent IT projects and disruptions. Freedom through a long-term partnership focusing on reaching your objectives. Because as your ERP partner we give you the freedom to choose a future in which IT is a scalable helping hand, business enabler, predictable monthly budget post, and a mean to a business oriented, leaner and less complicated organisation.

IZARA – Peace of mind, as a service.

Atea Ahead (in danish)

Atea og Columbus’ succesfulde samarbejde begyndte i slutningen af 2012.

Implementeringen af Dyneas nye ERP-system i 2013 er et af flere projekter, som er blevet løst i fællesskab. Forretningsrådgiver og projektleder Jakob Ingemann fra konsulentvirksomheden IZARA arbejdede tæt sammen med Columbus og Atea i udrulningen af Dyneas nye ERP-system.

Læs hele artiklen her.