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

IZARA reorganises and strengthens service offers

IZARA logo

It has been 1,5 years since we set out on the journey of setting new standards for the ERP industry and merged with AXspecialists . Since then, we have been on an extreme learning curve full of analysis, understanding, adaption, value alignment, new product and service development, and of finding our place in the industry. In April 2019 the two companies decided to part again – many great learnings and stronger offerings richer.

When success is knowing when to quit

The dreams and hopes were high for Jakob Ingemann, CEO of IZARA, when we in 2017 embarked on a journey to revolutionize the ERP industry. With many years’ of experience in IT consultancy he had seen how the industry had fallen behind, offering its customers expensive hour-based solutions that are impossible to budget for but for some reason always manage to exceed same budget and deadlines. Businesses all over were growing dissatisfied in particular as digitalisation brought around new flexible, cost effective and transparent solutions. With the merger between IT consultancy IZARA and one of Denmark’s best ERP houses, AXspecialists, Jakob’s dream of giving back the freedom to his customers came true. Unfortunately the merger didn’t go as planned.

“Of course I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to pull off my dream of changing the industry standards in the first serious try. IZARA and AXspecialists both brought industry leading competencies to the table but our desired end results and company values were too wide apart”, says Jakob and looks out the window of the new head quarter right on the serene quay side in Copenhagen’s “Holmen”.

Customer-centricity is still the new black

But the merger also brought along important key learnings and customer success stories. From the interactions with customers during the period IZARA validated the idea that a more customer-centric, flexible and integrated approach was sought after from the industry. The new framework that ranged from initial problem identification and analysis through IT advisory, business system choice, design and implementation (in cases where former AXspecialists’ core competence D365 was the solution), and to long-term maintenance, ERP Evergreen, was proven highly beneficial to customers on various occasions.

An example is the Climate case, a customer who had to urgently handle a company split up with minimum negative impact on its own customers. With the efficient integrated approach, IZARA helped Climate identify the solution they needed and design, implement, and keep the business system updated within just 25 days – while at the same time allowing the company to conduct business as usual.

Our services – from dream to tested solution

When the new IZARA started up after the split it was therefore with a refined service offering that takes the best from our learnings. This includes

  • IT and business advisory which works to analyse our customers’ business, organisation, and IT setup and develop an IT strategy that enables the company’s objectives
  • Experts as-a-service, that is augmented expert staff to help our customers through resource demanding projects, and
  • Long-term maintenance and support through our Microsoft accredited partner Sonata

With these services and a large network of external consultants we are able to provide our customers the flexibility, predictability, and growth-supporting foundation their business deserves.

If you have questions to the above or are interested in hearing more about what we can do for your organisation, please contact our Head of Customer Relations, Thomas Kragh on +45 21176000.

IZARA moves to new modern office in Copenhagen K

IZARA is located in Krudtløbsvej 75, Copenhagen

On 1st April 2019 we move to our office in Copenhagen’s fresh Krudtløbsvej 75 on Holmen.

While the office is new and set in a peaceful atmosphere, it wasn’t always so. The area, named Quintus Bastion, used to house the military and in 1951 it set the frames for the tragic mine catastrophe in which 16 people were killed.

Come visit our new offices in the old historical buildings in Krudtløbsvej 75!

Does your IT support your business objectives and digitalisation efforts?

At IZARA we ensure you maximise value from your digitalisation efforts

Whether your business is outgrowing its IT or your IT complexity is outgrowing your business, we help you regain clarity and focus.

Go ahead and have a look at one of our experts, Carsten’s, LinkedIn profile. Carsten has more than 25 years’ experience • helping companies optimise their IT setup, including providing transparency through IT reviews and thorough due diligence, • supporting change and optimisation processes through his CIO-as-a-Service engagements and • making the most of technological development through planning for and managing ERP/Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations implementations as well as other digitalisation initiatives.

Recently he even led an urgent D365 implementation in just 25 days – with great value to our customer, which you can read about here.

Want to know the value we can add to YOUR business? Contact us now.

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):

AXUG: Discussing ERP utilization and ERP evergreen

Mohammed Naveen Ajmal from Sonata and IZARA's Jakob Ingemann present ERP evergreen at AXUG

Tell any business manager his company needs a new ERP system, and he will turn pale. He fears the overspent budget and timelines, business disruptions and incomplete results, the industry is known for. At IZARA we are transforming IT and ERP from an internal resource and hardware intensive activity to a subscription-based external foundation, which simply works and provides clear transparency of data as well as cost.

During the AXUG Summit in Nashville 10-13 October 2018, we showcased our partnership with Maersk Container Industry (MCI). We started out as an IT adviser analysing and suggesting improvements for the current IT strategy. As the analysis revealed a good improvement potential through ERP we designed the perfectly fitted architecture, together. Now, upon successful implementation, MCI has achieved improved communication, transparency and predictability.

But these outcomes are not the only important long-term results. During our presentations on AXUG we discussed two additional features of successful ERP, namely utilization and ERP evergreen.

Optimal ERP utilisation is characterised by maximising uptime and output as well as fast onboarding of users and processes, so production unit cost falls with minimal disruption. That means fast elimination of paper waste and duplication errors as well as high levels of transparency. But it doesn’t end when everybody and all processes are onboard.

The industry has entertained incomplete implementations and expensive consultants for way too long. When we speak about evergreen we speak about doing the implementation right the first time, and then outsource all manual test overhead as well as patching, updates and upgrades. That way, we ensure your business is always up-to-date and can focus on growth instead of maintenance. For MCI, we expect to reduce the manual test overhead by more than 90%. Imagine how that freedom could impact your business growth.

Read the customer case here: and follow us on LinkedIn for progress and results.

IZARA – Peace of mind and long-term partnerships

IZARA strong board: Thomas Meede, Jakob Ingemann, and Peter Mægbæk

Experienced and complimenting forces merge together in a new and strong IZARA. With a focus on cloud-based IT “as a service”, long-term partnerships, and dreams of changing the global view on business systems, IZARA is a different warrior in the battle against large, disrupting IT projects and expensive consultancy hours.

”It has grown under the surface for a long time, this idea that the IT industry is stuck in an outdated illusion about the need for complex ERP solutions (Enterprise Resource Planning), heavy racks in the basement and a larger division of internal IT experts to control and maintain them.” Jakob Ingemann, founder of the original IZARA and now CEO and Partner in our new IZARA, and he is a visionary with great hopes for the industry which he has played a part in for more than two decades. He glances around the modern Copenhagen-based office and smiles as his eyes catch sight of the dark purple wall in the middle of the room. ”We build long-term partnership that give our customer the freedom to develop the business.”

On the same side of the table is Thomas Henrik Meede, who founded and owned the other part of the equation, the company AXspecialists. Thomas has more than 20 years of expertise in delivering ERP solutions, and has, together with his highly specialised team, worked as a “crisis task force” which has saved global ERP projects that have gone wrong.

And it is exactly here, in the air between the experienced CFO, CIO, and advisor on one side and one of the world’s leading Microsoft Dynamics AX specialists on the other, that IZARA has grown and introduces new industry standards and goals.

Peace of mind, as a service
IZARA is all about creating freedom and peace of mind with our customers. Jakob has been on the other side of the table and from his time in top management positions he knows their exact pain points. From the moment you realise your organisation has outgrown it’s own limits, the horrifying consultancy hour-prices on ”upgrading” IT project, which never fail to disappoint the expected massive exceeding of both timelines and budget. Not to mention long disruption setbacks that hinder growth, regularly.

“We offer a package which includes a standardized and cloud-based Dynamics 365 and apps as a service and with a flexible service agreement. That gives our customers faster time-to-value, fewer disruptions during implementation and, most importantly, a stable, safe, and always updated underlying subscription-based business system which can be scaled up and down, exactly the way our customers need it. Through flexibility, scalability and simplification we give our customers the best possible optimisation of innovation and realisation of their growth potential” Jakob says.

The 3rd spice – uncompromised expertise, flexibility and professionalism
Further to the merger between the two companies and their core competencies, we will also offer services through a partnership with Sonata Software, a leading global software solutions provider with expertise in offering digital solutions to businesses in the travel, retail, cpg, distribution and software product development space. Sonata brings it’s proprietary digital industry platforms, over thirty years of expertise in outsourcing IT solutions for Fortune 500 customers and a global delivery footprint, which can be extended to offer unmatched flexibility and capability to Izara customers’ technology needs. Sonata is an award winning Microsoft Dynamics and SAP Hybris partner with industry specific solutions to implement Digital solutions on these platforms too.

IZARA is further strengthened with Peter Mægbæk (founder and CEO of Plenti) as both investor and Chairman of the Board. He sees a large potential in the future of the business: ”There is no doubt that Thomas and Jakob are leading the market and just the fact that they work with solutions as a service is extremely appealing for me, as I have a passion for subscription-based businesses.”