Computer Initiatives, Microsoft Dynamics GP power SA Maritime Safety Authority
Proving that good software is only one part of the necessary equation for an effective enterprise resource planning solution, Microsoft Dynamics GP partner Computer Initiatives has reconfigured and upgraded the business software of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). As a consequence, SAMSA today is an efficiently running organisation, which achieves full benefit from its investment in Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Acting SAMSA CFO, Tudor Hungwe, says the company has a long history with Dynamics GP. “However, while our use of the solution dates back many years, it wasn't always the best-configured. With only the core financial and invoicing modules implemented, financial reporting was largely manual,” he says.
Glaringly absent was the FRx Financial Report Writer, which is part of the Dynamics GP suite.
Manual reporting in this day and age is simply not good enough, agrees Hungwe. “Not only is this time-consuming and stressful, but it is also error-prone. The futility of the effort was also apparent as we knew there was an automated option.”
At this point, he says the organisation looked to the specialist assistance and support of Computer Initiatives. “What was clear is that we had not received the right levels of expertise to date. What was also clear is that Dynamics GP had what we needed, but we just weren't taking advantage of it.”
Computer Initiatives MD Ronald Laxton says rectifying the Dynamics GP implementation began with a complete review of business while upgrading it to the most recent version. “New processes were introduced to take advantage of new functionality offered in Version 10, while others were re-engineered for efficiency and efficacy,” he says.
Most importantly, too, he says a strong focus on user-engagement drove the upgrade process. “Training for users from around the country was conducted at the SAMSA Pretoria offices. The training also provided a valuable opportunity to understand issues from the user-perspective, while involving them in the design of processes across the company,” he says.
Explaining that the organisation has a distributed budgeting process, Hungwe says this used to be done with a spreadsheet. “There were clear limitations; version management and data integrity were the major concerns,” he says.
Computer Initiatives solved that problem by introducing Microsoft Forecaster, a component of the Dynamics solution set. “This facilitates a structured budget, which allows each participant to input their component of the final; that input is controlled through a workflow which includes an approval process, while all information is stored in a central database,” Laxton explains.
Since Computer Initiatives' intervention in upgrading and re-implementing SAMSA's Dynamics GP system, Hungwe has nothing but praise for an efficient, reliable and stable company-wide solution. “Probably most importantly, we enjoy improved control on spending, which is brought in line with budgets and forecasting. Our reporting is accurate and relies on information generated from within the system and not data which is manipulated in spreadsheets, resulting in confidence in the numbers; we can draw live reports at any time to gain an instant snapshot of the organisation,” he says.
“And, with a properly configured, well-implemented Dynamics GP ERP solution, we know the business is being run efficiently from a system point of view and that we can produce all the required information for audit with confidence. That also means we can demonstrate that we are spending public money responsibly and in the interest of the country,” Hungwe concludes.