"We generally have a good relationship with each other, but during the project the cooperation was perfect. COSMO CONSULT was always available and answered our questions very quickly. We felt in good hands."
Susann Mitschke, Team Leader for Commercial Services at Beteiligungs- und Betriebsgesellschaft Bautzen mbH
Beteiligungs- und Betriebsgesellschaft Bautzen mbH (BBB mbH) makes an important contribution to life, living and business in the city of Bautzen with its 40,000 inhabitants. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the city and not only holds the majority of the municipal utilities, but also operates the municipal baths, the Tourist Information, the dinosaur park known beyond the city limits and the city's parking areas. "Our goal is to constantly improve the quality of life for our citizens. Bautzen is also an important tourist centre for the region. We want it to stay that way and make sure that people feel at home with us and keep Bautzen in good memory," emphasises Susann Mitschke, Team Leader of Commercial Services at BBB mbH.
In addition to the extensive commitment for citizens and guests, the company also manages the commercial operations of the "Fernwasserversorgung Sdier" special-purpose association, in which several regional communities are involved. The approximately 85 employees and 12 trainees have been reliably supported by the ERP system Microsoft Dynamics NAV for many years in their various tasks.
Together with COSMO CONSULT Dresden, BBB mbH continuously expanded the business software over the years. However, almost ten years have passed since the last comprehensive update. When the support for the outdated version threatened to expire, the public company decided to migrate. At the same time, central processes were to be put to the test in order to improve transparency in administration and achieve an even higher level of automation. Ms. Mitschke expected a lot from the modern user interface: "Dynamics NAV has come very close to Microsoft Office in recent years. Today it is much easier to find information or create individual reports. In addition, we can train new employees more quickly because they understand workflows and functions better. That alone makes the change worthwhile".
Mrs. Mitschke knew that the upgrade would not be a walk in the park. On the one hand, because the database and program structures have changed considerably over the years, on the other hand, because new functions were to be added in the course of the migration. Together with COSMO CONSULT, they therefore relied on careful preparation of the project.
The first step was marked by several workshops in which the project team, together with the respective specialist departments, successively revised the various processes. "The workshops were a learning process. We objectively evaluated the way we worked and developed new ideas," says Mitschke. Thanks to Microsoft Dynamics NAV's now broader range of services, we were able to implement a wide variety of evaluation options for cost and performance accounting. The administrative effort could thus be reduced. In purchasing, the project team succeeded in simplifying the ordering process by specifying standard purchasing codes for certain suppliers. This means that order placement can be standardized to such an extent that only a few details are required to trigger orders.
The effect of the OPplus add-on module is similarly efficient - an extension for financial management that, among other things, can be used to reduce the effort required for asset postings. "Previously, we had to post cash discount payments manually, which meant a lot of work and sometimes led to errors. With the additional module, the amounts are now assigned automatically. This is a real relief in everyday working life," emphasizes Ms. Mitschke.
One of the biggest challenges of the version change was the numerous interfaces that Microsoft Dynamics NAV connects with the various technical and administrative procedures, such as those of the municipal cemetery. In addition, it was necessary to integrate the cash registers in the Tourist Information in the Spreebad and the Saurierpark so that daily accounts and bookings continue to flow into the financial accounting on a daily basis. At BBB Umwelt, which is responsible for the maintenance of parks and green areas among other things, working times and the use of machines are initially recorded in special software and transferred to the company software via an interface. Here, the data is then the basis for the operational cost allocation. "The interfaces were the only real challenge in an otherwise smooth migration. We had to try and test a lot - but in the end we made it," says Ms. Mitschke.
Today, about 50 workstations and a POS system are connected to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. One of the biggest advantages of the new program version is the significantly faster performance. Especially when it comes to database construction, there are worlds between old and new software. "Transfer runs, which used to take hours, are now completed in a few minutes. Current data, for example from the cash registers, are available to us much earlier," emphasizes Ms. Mitschke. Purchasing, for example, can react more quickly to sold stocks in order to avoid temporary sales. In addition, the project team succeeded in simplifying, digitizing and thus accelerating central processes. An important point with regard to employee acceptance, adds the team leader, because it depends on personal added value. Here the balance is positive for most employees. "Let's take our cost center managers: Today they can flexibly create reports and click through evaluations down to the document level. In addition, you benefit from the convenient data transfer to Microsoft Excel at the click of a mouse," explains Ms. Mitschke.
The cooperation during the almost one-year project with COSMO CONSULT Dresden was assessed positively throughout: "In regular workshops we evaluated each phase together, so that we always knew exactly where we stood. These reviews often led to well-founded suggestions for improvement. We generally have a good connection to each other, but during the project the cooperation was perfect. COSMO CONSULT was always available and answered our questions very quickly. We felt that we were in good hands." Next time, she would book one or two additional workshops, especially in the introductory phase.
There will soon be an opportunity to do so, because the first follow-up project is already in preparation: Microsoft Dynamics NAV is to be expanded promptly to include the cc|dms document management system running under SharePoint. "Since we already use SharePoint in another area, this is relatively easy to implement. For us, this is an important step towards a paperless office. So we profit from digital workflows and can confidently do without the obligatory floating file", Mrs. Mitschke is pleased.