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  • United Oilseeds is the UK’s leading break crop specialists. Founded in 1966, they have gone on to become one of the most successful farmer co-operatives in the UK.
  • Following a successful implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in 2016, Columbus has been offering support in the form of application managed services. They decided to make some additional changes. They were using a third-party company for infrastructure managed services but were seeing issues having the two services split. By uniting their application and infrastructure managed services, they saw the real benefits.

About United Oilseeds

  • United Oilseeds is the UK’s leading break crop specialists and it’s the only oilseed rape marketing specialist in the country. Founded in 1966 with a purpose to develop and market the valuable rapeseed crop, it has expanded dramatically and the company is now one of the most successful farmer co-operatives in Great Britain.



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United Oilseeds

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Case Study: United Oilseeds


In 2016, Columbus helped United Oilseeds implement and go live with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to digitalise their operations and improve process efficiency. Since go-live, Columbus has been supporting the break crop specialist with application managed services.


However, after three years of relying on a third-party company for infrastructure managed services, United Oilseeds approached Columbus with the intention of benefitting from our full managed services offering. This time, they wanted to action an Azure migration project to modernise and futureproof their ERP system.


And by taking infrastructure managed services under our care (alongside the existing application managed services), we continued our journey to becoming the trusted managed services provider for United Oilseeds.

The transition from project to support

After successfully implementing AX2012 with United Oilseeds, Columbus was the obvious partner for ongoing application managed services. United Oilseeds saw value in using our knowledge of their business and 
industry best practices to help them continuously get more from their Dynamics AX platform and maximise their investment.


And according to Bhavin Chohan, Senior Application Support at United Oilseeds, “the handover was very smooth”. We ensured the United Oilseeds team were clear on how to log tickets and had been introduced to the customer operations team who were supporting them.


He continued: “After four to five weeks of Hypercare, we had a handover with the support team and biweekly meetings with our service delivery manager where we’re updated on any issues that have happened in the last month.”


This existing line of communication set the base for a strong relationship as United Oilseeds made their transition from project to support. The fact that Columbus already had the “knowledge and background” as Chohan states was particularly key to an effective handover.

Benefitting from our additional managed services offerings

According to Chohan, the company wanted their ERP system and complete managed services to be in one place. They wanted a single point of contact, rather than having to liaise with different parties for their application and infrastructure managed services.


“Removing conflicts by aligning our support partner made sense,” said Chohan.


“There were also some benefits surrounding cost and within the infrastructure – yours was much more up-to-date and better set up,” added Helen Casey, United Oilseeds’ Finance Director.


Here are the main benefits United Oilseeds saw from bringing application and infrastructure managed services under a single roof.

Managed services

Empowered to maximise the ROI of an ERP system

Using Microsoft Azure as their new host through Columbus has drastically improved their previous cloud. “Our infrastructure before was outdated - we had a physical server in a data centre,” explained Chohan. “Now we use Azure which is cloud based and a massive benefit. All specifications of our servers have been dramatically improved as well.” 


And with Columbus providing application support for the system, United Oilseeds can gain more knowledge of how to use their ERP system to its full capacity.

A single point of contact

Another significant benefit is having a single point of contact, meaning communication can now be fast and more efficient. “I just send off one email and Columbus respond with the correct contact straight away,” said Chohan.


Prior to Columbus Managed Services, United Oilseeds would go back and forth between their cloud provider and the platform, trying to locate the root of an issue. This would cause unnecessary delays and further issues such as downtime. “We now no longer need to wait an hour to get through to the right person,” said Chohan.

Proactive service

According to Chohan, Columbus “immediately knows where to look” as we’re always monitoring the systems. This proactive approach has proven to be beneficial as it means we can investigate issues before the customer even realised.

What does the future hold with Columbus?

In just six months, United Oilseeds is already seeing the value of uniting two aspects of their managed services. Finance Director Helen Casey said: “It’s been productive, progressive and it’s certainly allowed us to move forwards as a business.


“By removing those barriers we had previously, everyone is now on the same wavelength.”


And coupled with Columbus’ expert knowledge and deep understanding of the Dynamics AX platform, it’s provided them with confidence and efficiency in the aftercare support.


And would United Oilseeds recommend Columbus to others from a managed services perspective? “Yes definitely,” stated Bhavin Chohan.

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