The drivers for change
The client is consistently evolving and on a steady growth path across continents. Coinciding with this growth, the client recognized the need for a scalable, more automated Finance solution connected across the organization globally and commenced a history-making Finance Transformation Program, based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. It was to be the largest implementation of the Microsoft 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, projects360 (formerly known as 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 programs.
sa.global also provided a full support services program for the solution. This included service desk and incident management support for 6300 users and over 880 financial administrators. Furthermore, it also included a full DevOps and release management for the solution to continuously improve and ensure timely application and platform updates to the solution. sa.global leveraged 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 Finance Transformation Program
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:
- Managed business change globally
- Was configured to meet the needs of each local market
- Provided a consistent approach to deploy resources, process transactions, and report on all aspects of their financial and operational processes
Standardization of processes was mission critical for the next era of the business. The client wanted improved visibility and control to create a consistent approach to deploying resources, strengthening transactional processes, and providing 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 modernize their systems to improve functionality and enable greater levels of automation. This would enhance productivity across the organization and ensure the most accurate method of financial management.
An integrated solution provides better visibility
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 Program 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 toolset of integration and migration capabilities.
Microsoft 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 organization. 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.
Support and services
Upon deployment of a new client location, sa.global provides full support services, including a comprehensive service desk and incident management program, as well as a complete DevOps release management service that ensures the solution is up-to-date and continuously improving.
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 center 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 Program.
The client has staged the rollout of the Finance Transformation Program globally. The outcomes of this project will include:
- Increased efficiency: The Finance Transformation Program offers a modern system with large usability improvements through 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, and 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 standardization. In turn, this enabled 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 Finance Transformation Program 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 standardization of systems also means the right people have more time to spend on value-add activities.