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Avineon transfers its administration to the cloud in just 6 months

Stefan De Smedt, Director Finance & Administration Avineon

Until recently, technology company Avineon used Microsoft Dynamics AX2009 to support the back-office processes of its offices in Belgium, the UK, France and the Netherlands. When Microsoft stopped support for the package, the company switched to Dynamics 365, in cooperation with Cegeka. This was the first step in the digitization and automation of their administrative systems. The transition to Dynamics 365 was completed in just 6 months.


Avineon is a global player specializing in geographical information systems: information technologies used for processing geographical data. Avineon Europe has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and France, serving clients active in the public sector, engineering and IT. The company wanted to increase its focus on the centralization of services. ‘For many years we used Microsoft Dynamics AX2009 for our administration. When Microsoft announced they would no longer support the application, we started looking for a partner to implement a new software application across all offices,’ says Stefan De Smedt, Director of Finance & Administration at Avineon.

Choosing between Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

Avineon’s former IT partner proposed upgrading the application to AX2012. In the end, the contract was awarded to Cegeka, who suggested upgrading to a cloud solution with Dynamics 365. ‘The Cegeka team impressed us with their extensive expertise in Dynamics,’ Stefan De Smedt continues. ‘Switching to Dynamics was the perfect solution, and Cegeka’s pre-project approach was the decisive factor.’

‘Switching to Dynamics was the perfect solution, and Cegeka’s pre-project approach was the decisive factor.’

- Stefan De Smedt, Director Finance & Administration

Full transition in only six months

In less than six months, Cegeka implemented Dynamics 365 and moved the entire administration to the cloud. ‘It’s impressive how fast Cegeka managed to complete the upgrade,’ Stefan says. ‘They supported us from start to finish during the switch. They mirrored the configuration of our former application in Dynamics 365 to ensure the smoothest possible transition. They also made sure the interface and operation of the application were perfectly aligned with our processes.’

Centralizing financial records

Avineon is now using Dynamics 365 for its entire financial administration. ‘From time tracking to invoicing and expense reporting: the entire process takes place in Dynamics 365 and is connected to our accounting system,’ Stefan explains. ‘This was a new way of working for us. The processes are basically unchanged, but the look and feel is more modern and the new system works in a centralized way.’

The fact that Avineon now uses a central system for the management of its four European branch offices brings more efficiency and saves time. ‘In the past, for example, we had to calculate the exchange rates for each transaction. Now those calculations are done automatically, which makes our accounting processes much more efficient. A lot of processes have been centralized and simplified. Cegeka’s extensive experience in automating intercompany processes was an important added value for this project,’ Stefan says.

Continuous evolution

A key element to the successful cooperation between Cegeka and Avineon is the service contract. ‘Our ERP system is an organic application that is constantly adjusted and adapted to how we work,’ says Stefan. ‘Since the start of our partnership with Cegeka, Dynamics 365 has been updated constantly to match our requirements. Together we are evolving towards the most efficient version of the application. We work in close cooperation with Cegeka’s Service Delivery Manager to discuss the budgets, streamline release management and implement any required upgrades.’

‘Since the start of our partnership with Cegeka, Dynamics 365 has been updated constantly to match our requirements.’

- Stefan De Smedt, Director Finance & Administration

From physical infrastructure to the cloud

When Dynamics 365 was implemented, physical servers were transferred to a cloud server. ‘That was another significant improvement,’ Stefan says. ‘We used to work with on-premise infrastructure and rented a virtual server. If we wanted to work remotely, we had to log in with a VPN. This was not efficient at all. With Dynamics 365 we can work more directly and more quickly. We can access the data securely from anywhere and on any device.’

Expanding functionality

Avineon will continue to focus on Dynamics 365 in the future. ‘By actually using the system you start to see all of its the possibilities,’ says Stefan. ‘Together with Cegeka, we created a roadmap that shows where we want to go with this application. First, we want to continue improving the system, and then expand its functionality.

‘Together with Cegeka, we created a roadmap that shows where we want to go with this application. First, we want to continue improving the system, and then expand its functionality’.

- Stefan De Smedt, Director Finance & Administration

The integration of a banking module is the next project in line. ‘The module will allow us to automatically integrate bank details, approve invoices and send invoices directly to the bank for payment,’ says Stefan. ‘At the moment we still do this manually, and we mostly work with paper invoices. This is very time-consuming and inefficient. The possibilities of Dynamics 365 are endless. Its major strength is that it is a scalable solution that can grow along with your business: you can instantly activate additional functionality as needed. We now have a solid foundation, which will enable us to automate even more processes in the coming years.’

‘Cegeka’s greatest strength is that they think along with us, in close cooperation, which is what makes this partnership so successful.’

- Stefan De Smedt, Director Finance & Administration

Valuable partnership

‘Cegeka plays an important role in this story. They help us in areas where we don’t have the required knowledge. Some things we can already do in-house now, of course, under their supervision – for example, setting up new configurations. But it’s not our intention to manage our IT fully autonomously, as we rely on Cegeka for continuous alignment between our financial processes and IT infrastructure. ‘Cegeka’s greatest strength is that they think along with us, in close cooperation, which is what makes this partnership so successful,’ Stefan concludes.

Interested in finding out what digitization can mean for your company? Let us know. We’ll be happy to help with your project.


Challenges

  • Replacement of outdated Microsoft Dynamics AX2009
  • Digitization and automation of administrative records
  • Central ERP system to support all offices in multiple countries
  • Transferring physical servers to the cloud

Results

  • Cloud version of Dynamics 365 went live in just 6 months
  • Smooth transition by mirroring previous interface
  • Central ERP system with automated exchange rate calculation
  • Digitization of intercompany traffic

Solution


Technologies

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365

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