"Can you help us gather the data of about a dozen companies in a single reporting tool and teach us how to do it independently?"
Holding company de vermeulen groep approached Cegeka with that particular challenge. 7 months, one senior consultant, and a deep dive into Microsoft Power BI later, the pupils have become the masters.
One group, multiple subsidiaries
De vermeulen groep is active in various fields via subsidiaries – from concrete tiles and ornamental paving to sewer pipes, drainage pipes and protection pipes for fiberglass, and even kitchen worktops. All these companies have separate ERP systems and therefore separate data flows.
De vermeulen groep wanted to change this situation and achieve uniform reporting in a BI tool. With this in mind, CFO Patrick Ledegang sought advice from his friend in the IT world, Gert Neetesonne, who immediately referred Patrick to Cegeka Business Solutions.
"We were mainly looking for an affordable and flexible solution," Patrick explains. "A reporting tool to which we can easily add new companies and which also offers the possibility of customizing the reports."
There was another important requirement: de vermeulen groep's in-house business analyst, Fouad Dadi, had to be involved in the project and trained so that he would be able to add new companies to the BI tool himself afterwards – without Cegeka's help.
Close cooperation and mentorship
Cegeka’s response? “No problem!” Fouad was introduced to Ruben, a senior consultant at Cegeka. They turned out to be a perfect match: together they managed the entire project. Fouad: "I happen to live near Cegeka's office in Veenendaal, so I started working from there two days a week – literally next to Ruben. I could follow everything from the front row, ask questions and help find solutions."
“I worked from the Cegeka office two days a week, so I was in the front row every step of the way.”
Fouad Dadi, business analyst at de vermeulen groep
Patrick was also satisfied: "We were really allowed to look into Cegeka's inner workings, they were 100% transparent. I found that particularly strong: they clearly run their business based on their own strengths. And above all: their solutions worked, on time and within budget."
Climbing the connected company mountain together
The project was divided into four phases: pre-analysis, technical set-up, trainings and setting up standard reporting templates.
“At the start of the project, we took the time to sit down together and draw up our battle plan: how much time will we need, who does what, what do we tackle first and in what way? This only took two days, but gave us a strong foundation to build on,” Fouad explains.
After that, it was time to roll up our sleeves: unlock the data from the different organizations, set up a data warehouse, make the various systems talk to each other. Cegeka's product CBI forms the basis for the BI solution. This accelerator helped set up a sustainable data model that is automatically fed from various sources, including Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations. Even with completely different systems, all sources were still able to link to the data model.
“It was clear from the start that Cegeka had all the in-house knowledge to tackle this challenge – and then some,” Fouad remembers. “If Ruben was stumped by something, he knew exactly which colleague to ask for help, so we never hit any roadblocks that lasted longer than a week or so.”
Ruben also trained Fouad, teaching him how to add new companies to Microsoft Power BI, building a set of standard reporting templates together and teaching him how to train his colleagues as well.
“I think this is the first IT project I’ve ever seen completed on time, within budget and without major arguments.”
Patrick Ledegang, CFO at de vermeulen groep
Patrick is impressed, both by Fouad’s dedication and expanded knowledge and by Cegeka’s approach: “I think this is the first IT project I’ve seen completed on time, within budget and without arguments or disappointment, because it was true teamwork. Cegeka or de vermeulen groep: it didn’t matter, we were all in this together. So, if something didn’t pan out, it wasn’t anyone’s ‘fault’, we just went looking for a solution. Ruben and his colleagues are definitely on speed dial for the next time we have a new IT project in the pipeline.
Want to know what Microsoft Power BI can do for your organization? Contact us