About the Client
The client is a global media organisation, focused on the delivery of brand excellence through capabilities in media, digital marketing and creative communications services. Headquartered in London, the organisation operates in 145 countries worldwide with over 50,000 employees – and counting.
The Drivers for Change
The client is consistently evolving, and on a steady growth path across continents. Coinciding with this growth, the client recognised the need for a scalable, more automated Finance solution connected across the organisation globally and commenced a history-making Finance Transformation Programme based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. It was to be the largest implementation of the Dynamics Finance and Operations product – to date.
sa.global was selected for the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, as well as their own industry solution built for project-based businesses, Projects+. Working in collaboration with Microsoft's customer success team, sa.global was well positioned to deliver on this project as a partner with global presence and a deep understanding of the Media and Services industries, as well as the requirements of global enterprise transformation programmes.
sa.global also provides a full support services programme for the solution. This includes service desk and incident management support for 6300 users and over 880 financial administrators. Furthermore, it also includes a full DevOps and release management for the solution to continuously improve and ensure timely application and platform updates to the solution. sa.global leverages its dedicated support team of over 160 support resources in a dozen countries to provide follow-the-sun 24/7 support for the solution.
Success Factors of the Financial Transformation Programme
The Finance Transformation Project hinged on the unification of three key aspects – people, technology and process – across the client's expansive global network.
Across departments, stakeholders sought a solution that could manage business change globally, was configured to meet the needs of each local market, and ultimately, provided a consistent approach to deploying resources, processing transactions and reporting on all aspects of their financial and operational processes. Standardisation of processes was mission critical for the next era of the business.
The client also wanted improved visibility and control to create a consistent approach to deploying resources, strengthen transactional processes and provide a superior client experience. The solution had to support the rapid growth of the client and provide key reporting metrics that could drive empirical based business decisions.
The client also wanted to modernise their systems to improve functionality and enable greater levels of automation. This would enhance productivity across their organisation and ensure the most accurate method of financial management.
An Integrated Solution Based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations
In any digital transformation project, whether for finance, human resources or sales and marketing, user adoption is a critical defining factor for success. The client used a variety of platforms across different functions of the business, many of which were highly specific to Media. Therefore, in order to ensure user adoption, the solution for the Finance Transformation Programme needed to integrate and unite various information points and legacy solutions including a human capital management platform, payment vendors and media management systems. For these business integrations, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations provided a powerful tool set of integration and migration capabilities.
Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations also provided the client with a single source of truth for financial information while also being malleable enough to integrate with business specific external platforms. The platform enabled the client to take advantage of a modern user-friendly reporting suite and offer business support across the global organisation. The solution also provided the ability to be configured to meet the needs of each business unit as an integrated global model, providing a consistent approach to all aspects of their financial and operational processes as well as greater visibility across markets and deep reporting capabilities.
Processes Managed by Microsoft Dynamics 365
Support and Services
The support service provides an industry-leading subscription service in a managed services delivery framework. Support processes are based on fully documented IT service management processes and procedures that leverage ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) best practices. It features cost-effective offshore support centre hubs in several locations combined with local onshore or onsite support resources that understand local languages and regulatory requirements. These support resources collaborate to provide a consistent global model of support delivery with rigorous service level agreement metrics. The combination of implementation and support offerings as well as the ability to integrate with other legacy systems enabled the client to achieve the objectives of their Finance Transformation Programme.
The client has staged the rollout of the finance transformation programme globally. The outcomes of this project will include:
The finance transformation programme offers a modern system with large usability improvements through the payments integration, automated approval and settlement between payments and invoices. This improves the efficiency of various back-office tasks such as bank reconciliations between the legacy media system and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations.
Collaboration, Knowledge & Insight
Leveraging the data held in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, new user-friendly business intelligence reports and dashboards provide powerful business data views for the client. The platform also offers a full reporting suite with the legacy media system. For the client, this empowers new ad-hoc reporting capabilities and enables improved "drill-down" options.
Common Global Processes
The system was built around a global process taxonomy and enabled standardisation. In turn, this enables data integrity as well as systems governance. Clear audit trails have also been made available on all transactions and master data amendments.
An Aligned Operating Model
The financial transformation programme brought a scalable solution that could accommodate acquisitions or business growth. The new and aligned operating model improves control and governance, for example, vendor and bank master data. The increased efficiency that is achieved through automation and the standardisation of systems also means the right people have more time to spend on value-add activities.
On the delivery of this major, global enterprise Financial Transformation Programme , sa.global Founder and CEO, Stephen James, comments,
"sa.global has delivered more global enterprise Dynamics projects than any other specialised partner, and we are very fortunate to have such an agile, capable and committed team. These projects are incredibly complex undertakings and it's only with a collaborative approach, a deep pool of talent, excellent project management and a constant focus on delivery that you can hope to have a successful outcome. This project was an outstanding example of successful project delivery, and a great example of everything we do best at sa.global."