Bridging the gap between old and new: Atlas Concrete's ERP migration journey
From Microsoft legacy system to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
Founded over 70 years ago, Atlas Concrete is one of Auckland’s longest running independent concrete manufacturing businesses. The group employs over 280 people, operates over 120 concrete delivery trucks and around 70 other specialist vehicles and handling equipment.
The challenge: An unsupported system raising red flags
When Atlas approached Endeavour in December 2019, they were running an outdated and unsupported Microsoft legacy system that was raising red flags across the business. Atlas Concrete CFO, Greg Stewart recalls, “We were trying to maintain a very old infrastructure which was difficult to support. Under the old system we didn’t have the flexibility to integrate with other software applications that we needed to effectively run our business.” Having had the system since the early 2000s, it was apparent it no longer met the Atlas Group’s business process and data security needs.
With a goal to shift business operations away from rigid on-premises systems, the Atlas Group wanted to migrate to the cloud. Aiming to eventually offer more flexible and accommodating workflows to employees.
The solution: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Endeavour
The Atlas Group began their journey toward a new digital infrastructure back in late 2018. Greg recalls, “Our process was a little bit different; we engaged a consultant in December 2018 to help us work on a technology roadmap. We had a lot of aged infrastructures and applications within the business that we needed to update, one of those being our ERP system.” After deciding on Microsoft Business Central for its ability to integrate with other software applications, the Atlas Group approached Endeavour. Greg explains, “Our consultant facilitated who would be best to work with for the ERP implementation. He found there was a good relationship between our IT supplier and Endeavour.”
Endeavour Dynamics Practice Services Manager, Kim Pannell adds, “This was a different approach to our typical implementation but the foresight planning and preparation from the Atlas Group was very useful.” Atlas shared with Endeavour it’s, ‘Technology Program Strategy’ which outlined what their corporate technology strategy was going to be. This had seven different elements within it and replacing the financial systems was the first step.
Other objectives outlined were:
- Deliver real time customer engagement
- Automate repetitive tasks
- Introduce proactive workflows
- Instigate a cloud first policy
- Deliver appropriate support
As there were clear objectives from the outset the process moved quickly and by January 2020, system and implementation plans were in place. Greg describes this as, “Fortunate timing” as unbeknownst to them, COVID-19 was around the corner.
By March 2020, Endeavour had managed to build a sandbox environment ready for the Atlas Group to trial prior to the coronavirus lockdown. The Atlas Group were relieved with Endeavour’s approach and preparatory work, highly commending the team’s excellent understanding and project management skills. The sandbox environment gave the Atlas Group the opportunity to learn the system together prior to the lockdown, giving them the confidence and ability to stay on target with the implementation time frames, and the systems go-live date.
Greg explains, “COVID-19 was a blessing and a curse. We weren’t trading as much, but this meant we could devote more time to implementation and staff training. From an Endeavour point of view, they were good at being able to work with us in a remote context. Which was difficult for some of our staff, because it was not something they were used to.”
The outcome: A flexible system and better data management
Endeavour helped the Atlas Group to achieve modernisation with the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central; establishing a central cloud-based hub that they can rely on for all future business processes and their required applications. Currently, the Atlas Group use Business Central for general ledger and accounts payable processes but are seeing massive improvements in how data is entered and managed. Greg explains, “Especially in accounts payable, we have gone from a very paper-based operation to a better managed electronic one…the key benefit there being the depth of data and the ease of use in getting it.”
Greg concludes, “In a general sense, we have only reached the tip of the iceberg for the actual benefits our business will get from the Business Central system. However, from a management perspective, the ability to access good clear data from anywhere has already proven advantageous.”
With the ability to now work from anywhere, reduce paper usage and drill down to source documents and their associated data, the Atlas Group are just beginning to uncover the powerful benefits of Business Central. Looking to the future, the Atlas Group are preparing to further automate and migrate additional business processes to the system.
For more information on how Endeavour can help in your businesses digital transformation, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Endeavour is a supplier of enterprise software to the manufacturing and wholesale distribution sectors. Our offering includes ERP, business planning and business intelligence solutions. These solutions enable our clients to ‘join the dots’ in their businesses – helping them grow by empowering them with quality, real-time information.