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 APS

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.

A stepping stone to independence, steep learning and my 2nd career

Mikael Dittmann, Senior project manager & Finance architect, IZARA

Having focused on finance, business processes, and IT for more than 20 years, I found myself ready to part with my long-term employer and start my 2nd career. But, despite knowing, that I am an expert in my field, making the move was scary and I spent much time figuring out where I could offer my future customers most value. Was I a general management consultant? Interim CFO? A mix of both – or something completely different?

After the first cup of coffee with IZARA I knew that this was my chance to take the step and do what I longed for: taking ownership of large projects and transforming my experience into maximum value for my own customers.

In particular IZARA’s values were a reason for me to join the company. Firstly, while IZARA employs a mix of independent young and senior full-time people as well as freelance consultants with many years’ experience, we are a team.

Everybody has a voice, and it is an integral part of our culture to listen to what is being said. Our focus is always on creating maximum value together with the customer and not on selling hours, which is otherwise common in our industry.

Secondly, the IZARA team works to do what is best. We operate with high integrity and top management is ready to politely decline an assignment if we find the customer is not ready for the necessary change in approach and culture surrounding their ERP setup, or if the customer insists on a solution that is significantly different from what we know is the most value-adding solution.

How well did reality match your expectations?

I came to IZARA with an expectation to be thrown straight into the large and interesting projects that were in the pipeline. I have since learned that lead times for projects are often longer than expected so I am now looking forward to starting my first own major assignment as lead architect.

In the coming years I will build my knowledge and network while maximising value for IZARA’s and my own customers. My aspiration for the future is to gain the experience to be a renown chief architect with the overall responsibility for multiple teams and projects.

And that leads me to my closing remarks. No matter your role and aspirations, with IZARA you will become a part of a team and a culture. There is no difference in the mutual relations, no matter if you are employed or freelance. Everyone fells welcome and everyone feels they are in IZARA because they are needed and wanted. We have a positive and happy environment with high spirit, positive ambitions, and there is no time wasted beating around the bush. We know that our raison d’etre is to maximise value for our customers – while continuously developing our teams and individuals.

– Mikael has 22 years of experience from a variety of top financial and IT functions and has been a Senior Project Manager and Finance Architect with IZARA since 1st May 2018.

Working at IZARA: Independence and trust

Mads Svendsen, Senior business consultant, IZARA

Are you geared for a job with a high degree of independence and international travels?

When a friend of mine recommended IZARA to me back in 2016, it was with words like “exciting projects”, “high degree of independence”, and “some of the most senior and globally acclaimed experts within the ERP field”.

He was not wrong.

During the past two years I have been involved in several go-lives, which have given me great insight into full-cycle implementations of D365fFO, as I have been involved in everything from diagnostics to operations – and post go-live support. One of these implementations was for a large multinational company, Pandora, which gave me the possibility to work out of Asia for four months.

Another implementation was for a smaller local company with a highly dynamic organisation. As the company underwent significant change, an urgent implementation of a new ERP system, to support daily operations, became crucial. After only 25 days we went live with what I believe is one of the most successful fast-track implementations ever done. This marks one of the greatest accomplishments in my work history to date.

The endorphin rush when you push that go-live button after 25 days of intensive planning, design, development and deployment, while knowing that you delivered a highly value-adding solution for your customer, is impossible to describe.

Team work, respect and focus on adding value

One of the things I appreciate the most about working at IZARA: While everyday life is often fast-paced and at our customers premises, our team works together to add as much value for our customers, as we can.

Even though my colleagues are amongst the most acclaimed in the industry, the organisation is flat, everybody is seen as equal, as we respect each other’s competencies and differences. Of course, that also means that one must be prepared to take on much responsibility from the beginning, as well as accept that we sometimes take calculated risks and make mistakes – and be ready to fix them urgently.

– Mads is 32 years old and Senior Business Consultant with IZARA.

Climate: Successful mitigation of the perfect storm – in 25 days

Climate succeeeded in implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations in 25 days

Following a sooner-than-planned company split-up, commercial refrigeration experts Climate started over as a “new” company, albeit with a large existing customer base and an organisation to run. Through strong team-work and dedication, we helped decide and implement the best-fit future-proof solution in 25 days – without disruptions to Climate’s exceptionally high heatwave-struck business.

Previously an integrated part of a larger commercial refrigeration company, Climate, the project and service division, was separated from the refrigerator business on 1 May 2018. Before the split-up the company used a highly customized AX2009 solution with non-standard add-ons and needed an ERP solution for the new business. During the analysis, we identified Climate’s need for a data-driven standard ERP solution fully supporting finance functions, product and operations, as well as the flexibility-needing on-the-road fleet of technicians.

By implementing Dynamics 365 Climate was able to directly re-use existing internal knowledge gained from older Microsoft ERP systems, minimising training needs and time-to-value. To ease support, updateability, and future potential add-on integration, we re-designed business processes to fit Dynamics 365 standard processes and made a few necessary customisations.

“Working with IZARA has been an eye opener. As a company in large and sudden transition, we felt vulnerable and unclear about the future setup, but I have felt in good hands with IZARA from the beginning.

Our main benefits are two-fold; firstly, I am positively surprised by IZARA’s ability to identify our exact challenges by involving and assisting the relevant employees yet without “intruding” and slowing our work as well as the speed with which our new business system was implemented. It took only 25 days from start to end and during the entire time we were able to continue business as usual. Even as the hottest May in 129 years struck Denmark and increased the amount of incoming service requests by more than 60%!

Secondly, I am very pleased with IZARA’s constant care for the future of the project – Insisting on keeping processes simple while keeping securing flexibility for future phases of the project and thereby doing their utmost to avoid rework and sunk cost – I have no doubt they have been thinking more about my business’ well-being and long-term relations than their own short-term benefits…. Something that unfortunately isn’t the norm in the consulting business.”

[Henrik Vildenfelt, CFO, Climate]

Climate’s solid D365 backbone will be strengthened in the off-season autumn as we expect to exchange an inhouse-developed solution for the D365 Field Service to ensure even smoother operations. We will further increase digitalization and automation, ensuring all relevant activities can be easily and efficiently managed on the road.

Read our customer cases and contact us to hear more about how we can help you.

About Climate
Established in 2003, Farum-based Climate employs more than 40 commercial refrigeration and service experts and has fleet of 50+ qualified technicians/vehicles on the road. With more than a thousand statutory maintenance calls and 30.000 annual service calls, an efficient operations, planning, and logistics system is integral for the company’s focus on fast and correct exception management and service for its customers.

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.