Dynamics AX implementation project turn around

“Incremental Group has a high level of knowledge of AX and the underlying technologies, coupled with real world experience of what is required to implement the system across our global business units. We have been very impressed with their professional approach and willingness to challenge and drive ASCO forward. This allowed us to move at a faster pace with higher business acceptance throughout the change process.”

Jim Titmuss, Group IT&S Director, ASCO

ASCO is a leading international oilfield support services company providing logistics and supply base management services, primarily to the Offshore Oil and Gas industry.

ASCO generates a turnover of £540m and employs 2,000 people across the globe.

ASCO operates from 60 locations including 17 supply bases, across 7 countries, for hundreds of customers. This involves over 1,000 transactions each day across its various locations using a variety of IT systems.

Multiple systems and sources of data with limited sharing

ASCO is a wide and diverse business, with each operating hub offering a variety of services including quayside operations, transport and warehousing.  There were many situations where information was not shared efficiently and each hub would use a different combination of operational front end systems and excel spreadsheets to manage day to day operations, customer invoicing and reporting.

ASCO historically used Open Accounts as its finance system but, as an expanding group, it had acquired a number of businesses in recent years.  Many of these continued to use their existing systems, consequently, there was no single source of easily obtainable financial, invoicing and key operational data. Month end invoicing and accounting was a lengthy manual process with a high risk of error or omission due to the manipulation and sharing of many spreadsheets.

In 2014, along with new investors, there were a number of board level changes, including the appointment of a new Chief Executive.  The new team set out an ambitious modernisation programme, enabled by a number of technology investments, to help drive efficiencies and improve performance.  The programme encompassed both operational and financial systems.

As part of this programme, ASCO selected Microsoft Dynamics AX as its ERP to provide a central infrastructure to enable the company to facilitate the standardisation of processes and efficient management reporting across the group.  They appointed a major systems integrator for the initial Dynamics AX design and deployment.  However, as the project moved towards go live they realised they needed the flexible and cost effective support of a smaller local partner to help them achieve their business goals.

“Month end invoicing and accounting was a lengthy manual process with a high risk of error or omission due to the manipulation and sharing of many spreadsheets.”

Dynamics AX

ASCO required a partner with deep Dynamics AX knowledge as well as experience within the oil and gas service industry. Close geographic proximity during such an involved and strategic project was key. ASCO subsequently selected Incremental Group as its Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP partner in April 2015 to deliver the implementation and provide ongoing support of the Microsoft Dynamics AX solution.

“Incremental Group has a high level of knowledge of AX and the underlying technologies, coupled with real world experience of what is required to implement the system across our global business units. We have been very impressed with their professional approach and willingness to challenge and drive ASCO forward. This allowed us to move at a faster pace with higher business acceptance throughout the change process.”
Jim Titmuss, Group IT&S Director, ASCO

Incremental Group worked closely with ASCO and the Systems Integrator through the initial service transition period, and identified areas where the original solution design would not meet ASCO’s needs. With ASCO’s buy-in, Incremental Group embarked on a programme of testing, redesigning, reconfiguring and reworking customisations.

“Incremental Group really helped us turn things around on the project which enabled us to implement a system that met our go live needs.”
Scott Donald, Business systems controller, ASCO

Incremental Group provided support and advised on functionality and design improvements throughout the transition which enabled the commencement of go live roll outs across a number of smaller UK sites in early 2016. By the summer of that year the large UK business hubs went live, including interfaces to a suite of new front end operational systems (“ILMS”).

The overseas element of the go live project is ongoing throughout 2017 and Incremental Group is project managing this deployment. Incremental Group’s Technology Director continues to sit on the ASCO Digital Transformation Steering Group.

“Incremental Group really helped us turn things around on the project which enabled us to implement a system that met our go live needs.”

Scott Donald, Business Systems Controller, ASCO

Improved decision making and efficiency

ASCO now has an enterprise system which meets its complex, evolving and international business needs and adds value across the business and to its customers.

Month-end accounting and reporting periods have been almost halfed and data quality and management information is improving each month. Further improvements are expected in 2018.

AP processing has been centralised and is now more efficient thanks to the introduction of an OCR system, integrated with Dynamics AX.

Similarly, automation in customer invoicing processes due to the direct interface with iLMS has significantly reduced processing time and improved accuracy.

“Month end accounting and reporting periods have been almost cut in half and data quality and management information is improving each month.”

Further Integration across the operation

The overall programme is ongoing and ASCO will continue to invest in digitally transforming its business for years to come.

ASCO plans to interface additional elements of ILMS with AX to help drive efficiencies and improve business data quality. Further interfaces using AX timesheet and standard costing functionality will be introduced to help further the understanding of business performance.

ASCO will also implement the AX HR module enabling the decommissioning of its existing UK HR system.

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