Microsoft platform to support MegaGroup’s buy-and-build strategy

How a necessary migration becomes an opportunity for buy-and-build success

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Bringing Water to Life

Following its purpose of ‘Bringing Water to Life’, the MegaGroup companies deliver water solutions to their customers for irrigation, swimming pools, livestock, building services and industry. The company has offices and/or warehouses in 7 countries throughout Europe and over 300 employees.

MegaGroup has a strong buy and build strategy and wants to make their customers’ experience simple, personal and transparent. In order to deliver on this promise, customer centricity, digitization and full service are all part of the strategy.

Watch the video: MegaGroup Trade Holding's digital journey

Bernard Verburg, CEO: "HSO knows Dynamics 365 and HSO knows the wholesaler and distribution industry. That combination ensured a flawless implementation."

Long standing partnership

MegaGroup has been a long standing customer of HSO and has been able to rely on its AX platform for many years. However, as AX will soon no longer be supported, MegaGroup has decided to make the move to Dynamics 365. Next to Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, the company is also implementing Dynamics 365 CE (Sales) in all the sales organizations.

As transformation partner for MegaGroup, HSO delivers not only the migration to Dynamics 365, but also provides data-related expertise and solutions. All with an eye on the future - designing and building an IT-application landscape that can be rolled out across all MegaGroup’s companies, which is flexible and future-proof.

From ‘necessary evil’ to an opportunity

Frank Kalff, Business Development Director at MegaGroup, is Program Manager on the customer’s side. Frank: “To a large extent, the migration to Dynamics 365 is a 'must', a mandatory project that we can postpone no longer. But at the same time it gives us the opportunity to build a new foundation and to harmonize and standardize our processes and systems. With our new buy-and-build strategy, our new application platform is going to be the standard for current and future parts of the company. We need better and faster reporting and insights, across the whole organization. At the moment, this is quite a challenge, since various companies in our group work on their own systems. Therefore, this program is in a sense a necessary evil and it's an opportunity.”

Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based solution, which emphasizes the need for standardization. Frank: “As a company, we were pretty spoiled with our on-prem AX system, because we had a lot of customizations. But when moving to a cloud-based system, we need to stay as close to the standard as possible, otherwise we won’t be able to manage the ongoing updates. But again, we see this as a chance to harmonize and to make our IT-application landscape future-proof.”

On the way to BR2

Early 2023, MegaGroup went live with D365 Supply Chain Management. The scope of this first Business Release (BR1) was MegaGroup's two large distribution centers in the Netherlands and Poland. And, as mentioned above, this first release is part of a larger program of harmonizing and standardizing the various digital systems and platforms that MegaGroup uses through its country organizations.

Frank: “The current situation, in which we have both AX and D365 running, is temporary. So first, we strive to bring our own sales companies that are still on AX to D365. At that point we will have a kernel solution in place that we can roll out to the other acquired companies. Along with this transition, we are also improving the connection with our web shop. Our goal is to enable self-service as much as possible, by giving our customers the same product, stock and delivery information in the web shop as our sales people have.”

Albert Hol works as Program Manager at HSO on the MegaGroup transformation. Albert: “The opportunity of one standardized kernel for each company is enormous. It saves on both implementation and maintenance costs and it allows us to easily bring in new companies. However, it also comes with challenges: people will need to adjust to a new way of working. The only way to be successful is being prescriptive in the way of setting up the system and having a lot of focus on the people side of change”.

HSO Data Validation Framework

When companies move from AX to Dynamics 365, this has quite some consequences for their data warehouse. In addition, there is the complexity that until the go-live of the second business release, relevant data will still be coming from the old systems as well as from Dynamics 365.

Albert: “We had two challenges to meet MegaGroup’s reporting requirements. First, we had to build a new data warehouse and set up an intermediate data layer that can support reporting from multiple applications, as well as new businesses that will be implemented on D365. Second, we had to ensure a smooth data migration process that would allow us to control data quality and that we could run for each roll-out.

With the HSO Data Validation Framework, we established an automated data migration process that can be repeated as often as necessary. The Data Validation Framework manages data quality too, ensuring clean and validated data on the front-end. The Framework uses SQL within the connectivity Studio from To-Increase (also known as BIS), which gives the customer a lot of flexibility and the tooling is easy to use by people who are already familiar with SQL.”

Frank: “The Data Analytics part of a project like this is definitely something you have to take on from the start, otherwise data and reporting related issues will occur later in the project. We experienced this first-hand and this resulted in quite some extra pressure on our teams and budget. But I am confident that our new data warehouse is a good foundation for future standards and reporting.”

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