After extensive evaluation WHPacific,an architectural and engineering services firm choses Microsoft Dynamics AX and SAGlobal for their ERP solutions
“We wanted a solution that matched our business model,” says Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Marcus McGarity, WHPacific. “We also wanted to have a more complete solution that could consolidate the disparate systems we relied on for project management, financials, CRM, and human resources.”
That’s the most common reason why most companies decide on implementing an ERP and the main reason our client WHPacific decided that they needed an ERP. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
Let’s go through the process with WHPacific and understand how they evaluated various ERP solutions and zeroed in on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, and how it enabled them to have a smooth transition and helped them achieve these 3 stated goals:
- Deploy an ERP system that conforms to the company business model.
- Unify data from multiple departments into one system.
- Enhance customer relationships by enabling fast decisions.
WHPacific (www.whpacific.com) has been providing clients with exceptional architectural and engineering services for over 40 years and is ranked among the top 500 design companies according to Engineering News Record. The company employs 400 people in 16 offices located throughout the western United States and Alaska.
While WHPacific is in architectural and engineering services, they share a common model with other service industries where they work on multiple projects; where each project needs to be staffed with people with specific skills; where scheduling of a resource is paramount; where project teams are costed and billed against specific projects based on time spent.
This same model runs true for all service industries – IT Consultancies, Management Consultancies, Advertising agencies, IT and Infrastructure firms and most definitely Architecture, Engineering and Environmental services firms.
The Impetus for Change
In McGarity’s words, “Each department wanted a single, integrated and complete ERP system to improve business-process efficiency and enable faster decision-making,”. To cater to being able to plan, staff, schedule their projects with the right people at the right time, they particularly wanted to integrate HR information with CRM and project management as proposal and project costs were often based on staff qualifications.
The Evaluation Process
It is quite interesting to understand how WHPacific zeroed in on Microsoft Dynamics AX for their ERP solutions – especially as in my opinion they did it ‘the right way’. They understood that an ERP wasn’t a system that ‘belonged’ to a single department. They understood that it was a system that ran through the entire company and each department would be touched by it.
McGarity assembled a ‘team’ of operational managers from project management, human resources, accounting, IT and marketing where, each department contributed to the requirements of the new ERP solution that would cover all information needs across the business. The team also created specific list of requirements and asked for in-depth demonstrations from some of the ‘A-listers’ in ERP solution provider market.
After very extensive evaluation of the various solutions, their final selection was Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
Why Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 ?
Microsoft Dynamics AX enabled quick access to information with one ‘central database’ and it also seamlessly integrated with their existing applications such as Microsoft Project (which their Project Managers were very comfortable with), ensuring that all functional areas operated from a single version of business data rather than having multiple databases that could sometimes contain conflicting information.
While this was something that a lot of the competition did, none did it to the extent where the product actually looks and works exactly like their existing Microsoft software – this means that users find it much easier to use the system, it doesn’t take long training periods, it meant that users wouldn’t need to ‘learn a whole new system’ – it was very, very familiar from day one.
As McGarity says, “We selected Microsoft Dynamics AX realizing it will play a key role in aligning the whole company with our ‘information-at-your-fingertips’ concept”. Also, its ability to achieve ROI (return on investment) through significantly reduced project costs which is directly proportional to improved customer relationships acts as an main advantage.
SAGlobal is the Services Industry Partner of the Year. Simply put - we are the best partner for the Services Industry. As McGarity puts it - “It was critical to select a solution provider that could help us customize and configure the technology to support our establish project management methodologies. We were impressed not only with the expertise SAGlobal offered in Microsoft Dynamics AX, but also with their understanding of our business-process challenges.”
“This will be a smooth transition— users are looking forward to the change. Convincing them of the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics AX might be the easiest sell of my career!” says a satisfied and upbeat McGarity
About the Author
Mala is one of the advisory bloggers at SAGlobal . She manages the Digital media marketing communications and assists in the marketing campaigns at SAGlobal.
Mala enjoys writing interactive content and loves to share
nitty grittys of anything that pan’s out in the technological world.