NCC Industry provides products and services for use on and around roads. NCC’s industrial operations are centered around stone material and asphalt production along with asphalt pavement. Each of these segments are coherent with one another, forming a natural supply chain that is well integrated into NCC’s construction operations. Given that NCC as a whole operates in a low-margin industry, it’s important for NCC Industry to optimize its processes as much as possible. Previously, most facilities and offices each had their own ways of doing order management, sales, invoicing, logistics and similar business processes. To create greater efficiency and synergy effects, NCC has initiated a major business transformation process in an aim to create common ways of working.
Microsoft’s ERP system Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations was implemented as part of NCC Industry’s organizational change process. Given the size and complexity of the solution, there are many challenges in the transition from the project phase to operations, and this case was no exception. These included a large backlog of change requests and difficulty keeping track of all activities and what had been done or still needed to be done. To solve these challenges, the Columbus team was brought in to create stability and efficiency with Application Management Services (AMS).
Under Columbus, NCC Industry gets a single point of contact for all AMS matters and a shared digital workspace that facilitates collaboration between NCC Industry and Columbus. This consolidates communication, planning and action items in one place. Instead of having to send emails left and right to ask for updates or risk missing key dates, everyone has a common view and can check status in real time. This gives NCC Industry’s users access to fast and clear information about incidents, solutions, service requests and change requests.
A responsive team that understands customer needs
In many cases, a lack of understanding for customer priorities and needs poses a major challenge for businesses that hire IT consulting companies. On the other hand, it is difficult to find the exact right knowledge and availability when relying only on internal resources or small external providers. With Columbus, NCC Industry got the best of both worlds – a local presence backed by a global team.
“The Columbus team has dedicated consultants in key roles who understand our priorities and needs at a high level and take a proactive approach focused on added value. The simple and effective communication processes and structures they shaped enable us to collaborate with excellent transparency, efficiency and stability,”
– Marie Olsson, Business Relationship Manager at NCC Industry
On top of frequent releases with proactive planning and dialogue
Microsoft regularly adds functionality to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, and Production environments are automatically updated to these standard releases by Microsoft unless you actively postpone them. As a result, it’s important to test releases well in advance and keep track of key dates. For instance, it can be easy to miss an upcoming release during time off like vacations, and then you’ll be in for a surprise when everything doesn’t work the way you expected anymore once you’re back.
To meet the challenge of frequent releases, Columbus and NCC Industry hold weekly planning meetings as part of an ongoing dialogue, and an approximate release management plan is made a year in advance. As a result of this proactive approach to planning, the entire release process is transparent and stable – from estimate and prioritization to development and testing. A presentation is also given assessing the potential impact of new releases on existing ways of working and the potential benefit of new features. This facilitates smart decision-making on updates with a focus on added value.
A strategic partner with a broad range of expertise
As opposed to a legacy vendor that only keeps legacy systems up and running, a strategic partner has a broad range of expertise that extends beyond a single system with a greater focus on adding value. To ensure the right direction for optimizations and adaptations, Columbus and NCC Industry engage in strategic dialogue on future needs. This increases long-term efficiency because it reduces the risk of having to go back and redo certain development work.
" We see Dynamics 365 F&O not as an IT project but part of a larger business transformation. This called for a strategic partner with a broad range of expertise capable of supporting our transformation on a large scale. Columbus fit this role well, and we look forward to continuing to work together to build our IT platform and optimize more processes, such as license and fixed asset optimization "
–Fredrik Grenander, Nordic IT Manager at NCC Industry.
Columbus is ranked a strategic partner under NCC’s Strategic Vendor Management Program. The program evaluates and challenges partners based on several criteria and goals while encouraging collaboration on strategic challenges.
About Columbus services delivered to NCC Industry
Acts as a 24/7, single point of contact for all application-related incidents, service requests, prioritizes resolutions based on ITIL processes and sends timely incident status reports to users.
Enables adaptation of new solutions and enhancements for business growth; stabilizes the production environment through well-structured release planning, deployment, and change management processes.
Ensures that all applications have high availability, run at optimal efficiency, and access a dedicated Service Desk to monitor, prevent, and resolve any unforeseen incidents and problems.
Safeguards availability of your critical solution environment; monitors health and reliability of application operations, and ensures continuous monitoring of databases, patches, hotfixes, and security updates for guaranteed uptime. As part of Solution Operations, D365 Secure Update is key in the AMS offering provided to NCC Industry.