Steffes Group Leverages Business Central to Create Efficiencies and Modernize Operations
Outdated servers limit access to the latest technologies, reduce the speed at which you retrieve data to make decisions and can put a company at risk of security breaches. Because of these reasons and more, Steffes Group decided they no longer wanted to remain tied to on-site servers.
“We were really in need of better reporting features and more versatility. The current process was clunky and we didn’t always have access to the information we needed,” says Conor Borud, CFO at Steffes Group. “A move to the cloud would streamline processes and allow our remote workers the visibility they need without being at the office.”
Research into hosting options for their current solution of Microsoft Dynamics GP resulted in several large price tag estimates from hosting companies. Faced with higher than expected costs, Steffes sought advice from long-time ERP partner Stoneridge Software on the best path towards a modern platform while staying budget-conscious. As a Microsoft Gold partner representing all Dynamics solutions, the Stoneridge Software team suggested a look at moving to cloud-based Dynamics 365 Business Central.
After viewing the possibilities in Dynamics 365 Business Central, the team at Steffes saw direct correlations between the core functionality in Business Central and their organization’s needs. While the functionality in Dynamics GP met their current requirements, they realized GP was becoming outdated. Balancing present needs with the demands of the future, Steffes wanted a system with an updated look and feel that would be able to easily scale with their future needs.
Steffes first began to consider their options by asking questions at the annual Stoneridge Connect client event, and then researched what products others in their industry were using. “We were confident in working with Stoneridge Software and we came to the conclusion that Business Central had what we wanted for access and integration points,” said Borud. “It was the most user friendly and was the least drastic change for our team in order to make a seamless transition. It’s a pretty robust application, so as our company continues to grow, the system can grow with us.”
Adapting processes to new technology
When working with clients to adopt a new ERP system, Stoneridge partners with key personnel in the company to examine the important business processes within the organization and how they might best be solved within the new application.
“Adopting a new ERP system allowed us the perfect opportunity to analyze our overall business processes, look at account structures, look at our groupings and really get in line with the industry,” said Borud. “We used the changeover as a time to analyze how we were doing things and why we were doing them that way and plan for any improvements we’d like to make.”
Steffes previously used Analytical Accounting in GP to track costs and revenue to each of their auctions, which worked, but was cumbersome and time consuming. With the custom segment ‘dimensions’ feature in Business Central they can now monitor and analyze costs centers and the individual auctions within each cost center.
“The information can be broken out in different ways. This allows us to analyze the operations at a more detailed level,” Borud says. “It’s time saving as well in how we are able to make entries. It’s a much more seamless process.”
Up and running quickly
By opting to implement Dynamics 365 Business Central with Stoneridge’s QuickStart method, Steffes was able to get their new ERP system set up quickly for a set price that worked with their budget. The QuickStart addresses the setup of the general ledger, accounts receivables, and accounts payables and involves client stakeholders to import data, train the users and more. It provides an excellent foundation upon which you can implement inventory, fixed assets, manufacturing and other operational capabilities.
At Stoneridge, a high emphasis is placed on ensuring clients get the most out of their investment. That’s why the “Train-the-Trainer” method of teaching users is included within the QuickStart package. At Steffes Group, CFO Conor Borud was trained by the Stoneridge team on the Business Central product, and from there, he was able to coach the rest of his team prior to go-live.
To keep the project costs low by reducing travel expenses, nearly all transition preparation and implementation work was completed remotely by Stoneridge consultants, with Borud leading the project within the Steffes accounting team.
“Stoneridge Software has an extremely knowledgeable staff that helped along the way. It makes a big difference when you have someone that knows the product so well they can suggest using it in ways you would never think of,” says Borud. “The team was available whenever we needed and they were truly an integral part of the success of the implementation.”
It was a testament to all involved that the project go-live was completed the week before month-end close and the transition from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central went seamlessly. Because of the amount of preparation on the front-end with special attention to data migration, there were no issues or bugs and all transactions and month-end processes were completed on time within the new system.
“The implementation went really well. The project managers and the team at Stoneridge broke it up in a way that was intentional and made sense,” said Borud. “By getting everything on the schedule, keeping everyone accountable and making sure every step was done right, we had a successful project at the end.”
As they plan for the future of their business, Steffes is confident that Dynamics 365 Business Central is the best solution to meet their needs now and beyond.
“The world we are living in today, everything is more reliant on tech. You can make the most efficiencies in your company by leveraging the technology available. What we want to be able to do is have systems that talk with each other, and cut out any duplication of information due to systems that aren’t integrated,” says Borud. “With a modern platform like Business Central, our company is prepared for whatever comes.”
The final Dynamics 365 Business Central solution addressed managing:
- Fixed assets
- Real-time reporting & analysis
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