Baan enhances business efficiency at Amatola Water Board
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The business challenge
The return on investment
[Johannesburg, 20 November 2002] - Amatola Water was looking to incorporate its entire enterprise into a single system, and introduce stringent processes and controls, while following best practices.
An extensive evaluation process by Amatola Water ruled out some other leading ERP solutions and resulted in iBaan being selected. According to Jason Flowerday, IT and Procurement Manager at Amatola Water, just over a year after the initial implementation, Amatola Water is already realising immense business benefits and return on its investment.
The business challenge
Established in November 1997, Amatola Water is a relatively new organisation that has experienced rapid organisational development over a short period of time. As a result, certain business challenges became evident. Maintaining current systems became more time-consuming and information used to support business decision-making processes was delayed and often unreliable.
A key goal was to reduce the total cost of the IT department, as well as ensure full integration of all modules in order to eliminate recapturing, thereby reducing potential errors.
"Our financial system in particular was lacking certain key features such as cashflow forecasting and general ledger capabilities such as auto reverse of journals. We were looking for timeous management information reporting from our systems. Plant maintenance was another important capability that our existing system didn't offer," says Flowerday.
After a detailed tender and evaluation process, the solution selected for implementation was Baan version 5.0c.
"We selected the Baan solution as it included all the key modules and essential features we were looking for. The ability to tailor the product at a reasonable cost, without compromising on future upgrades was an attractive benefit. The Baan solution enforced tighter processes into our system, making it compulsory for all users to follow the system. The integration throughout the entire system was completely seamless making it easy for all users to readily see and benefit from the results," continues Flowerday.
"The ability for rapid deployment and Process orientation due to Baan's Dynamic Enterprise Modeller (DEM), and the fact that the product range is a feature-rich system which includes solid logistics and financial packages, were also contributing factors when selecting the Baan solution. With Baan we were able to meet all our requirements through one system. They were one of the few ERP systems that included Plant Maintenance as a standard feature and where we did require development of customised modules, it was completed quickly and professionally. Due to the combination of these and other benefits, the solution proved to be very cost-effective and in today's economy, particularly for a non-profit organisation like Amatola Water, this certainly influenced our decision to select Baan," adds Flowerday.
Following one month of preparation, the implementation of 11 standard modules and two customised modules was completed within a three-month period.
"The implementation was smooth, completed within our tight deadline and budget. The experienced consultants from CAIS and Softworx worked well under pressure and as Amatola Water were the first company to implement version 5.0c in southern Africa, their rapid understanding of new modules was commendable," says Flowerday.
"The support from the Amatola Water top management team from conception to completion of the project was also instrumental in the successful and rapid implementation. When implementing a large project of this nature under a tight deadline, management's support is critical from the outset. Good project management and close working with senior Baan consultants were also contributing success factors," says Flowerday.
The return on investment
"There is definitely less re-capturing and improved efficiencies. In particular the implementation of the plant maintenance module has allowed the organisation to start implementing planned maintenance. As the amount of planned maintenance has been increasing, the usual associated benefits of reducing costs, improving efficiency and improved reliability, are all been realised at Amatola Water," says Flowerday.
"We have seen a large increase in computer literacy internally. Where certain departments may not have previously utilised the system, they are now using Baan, packaged with Crystal Enterprise as a business information tool, to generate timeous management information that is key to their decision-making process. Most users enjoy the new system and genuinely believe it has assisted them to do their daily tasks quicker. Another interesting non-traditional business benefit we have experienced in the shift from a disparate to an integrated system, is significantly improved communication between departments," continues Flowerday.
Jane Thomson, managing director of Softworx, says: "We are delighted that Amatola has achieved real business benefits so quickly and that iBaan has enabled Amatola Water to run a single ERP solution equipping the organisation to manage large volumes of business transactions, more efficiently with greater flexibility and faster responsiveness."
"Softworx has helped us rethink every business process within our organisation, assisting us to ensure that best practice standards are being upheld. The iBaan solution now forms an integral part of the organisation's future, bringing exponential benefits to Amatola Water as well as to our customers. We are likely to purchase more licences and are reviewing additional Baan products such as Client Relationship Management (CRM) and Portal products, and will continue to develop our existing Baan solution through select customisations for improved efficiencies," concludes Flowerday.