In 2015 Cognifide, a WPP group member, made a decision to implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Cognifide’s choice of ERP system was to accommodate for its intensive growth, both in Poland and on the worldwide markets. System implementation was contracted to IT.integro, a strategic Microsoft Dynamics partner.
Cognifide is a developer of advanced marketing platforms based on content management systems. At its business seat in Poznań, the company creates web apps for such brands as Ford, Shell, Lincoln, GSK, Investec and the Telegraph Media Group.
In April 2014, Cognifide joined WPP, a global marketing communication holding. In its 3,000 locations in 110 countries, the WPP group employees as many as 170,000 employees. Cognifide became a member of the Wunderman network, which brings together interactive agencies working for such recognized customers as Coca-Cola, Best Buy, Citibank, Ford, Land Rover, Microsoft, Nokia, Novartis, Telefonica. It also joined WPP Digital, which is WPP’s division for digital media.
Presently, Cognifide is staffed by almost 250 employees, 200 of whom are employed in the Poznań office. Within the last 2 years, employment in the Poznań office has tripled.
Cognifide, as a software development service provider, is a very demanding customer, demonstrating a high awareness of its goals. This made the project even more challenging for IT.integro.
Moreover, international presence and ambitions make Cognifide very specific. When the system was implemented, the group consisted of two companies. The first, located in London, is the headquarters which concludes most of sales transactions and maintains customer relations. The other one, located in Poznań, is a development center, focused on project delivery.
Starting with system implementation, the company has been enhancing its market presence by opening a new subsidiary in the US and planning to launch many more worldwide.
Among its business objectives, which determined the ERP selection process, the following were the most prominent:
– coherent and transparent reporting,
– automated reporting and analyses,
– access to up-to–date, standardized data for more accurate decision-making,
– the creation of a uniform accounting model.
Reporting at Cognifide triggered several challenges. Until this time, both its Polish and English companies worked with standalone systems and databases. To create a consolidated report, was a time consuming process. Comparing data from both companies was a great hindrance. Therefore, Cognifide needed tools that would enable it to create standardized reports both for its subsidiaries and the group.
“We were faced with a challenge to implement a solution which would consolidate data from three sources. These sources included Polish and English subsidiaries, as well as the OpenAir project management system, which used a separate database. For this purpose, we have implemented Microsoft Dynamics NAV integrated with Business Intelligence – Targit Decision Suite. With such a Business Intelligence tool, data can be easily converted into valuable information, which is a prerequisite for effective management of business performance and processes,”
Jakub Abram, Project Manager, IT.integro.
For a long time, reporting was based on Excel worksheets. It required tedious, manual data entry. Without process automation, it was hard to decrease the time needed to generate a report or ensure reporting consistency. Targit guarantees streamlined reporting by reducing the number of tasks needed to generate a report at the same time. Analyses can be created with just a few clicks instead of time-consuming data entry.
In addition to coherent reporting, Cognifide needed a standardized and uniform accounting module. Since 2015, accounting departments in both countries had been working parallely, using different dimensions. To consolidate data for various dimensions was another challenge for Cognifide.
In Cognifide, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 was implemented in the areas of finance, fixed assets, purchases, sales and general ledger budgets. The reasons for Cognifide’s decision to implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV included its multi-language capabilities and its user-friendly interface. As the project was rolled-out internationally, the company required multi-language features. Its English partners also expected the system to be intuitive and easy to use.
Moreover, a fully integrated Human Resources and Payroll module was implemented as an extension of a standard ERP functionality. Additionally, Targit Decision Suite was added as a Business Intelligence tool.
Comprehensive insight into business processes is the basis for accurate decision-making. It enables you to understand the reasons for changes and their course. With such knowledge, it is also easier to foresee the effects of actions undertaken.
Targit Decision Suite is a sophisticated Business Intelligence system that is fully compatible with an ERP system – Microsoft Dynamics NAV and supports the creation of analysis, reports from various data sources and manager dashboards. This tool provides critical information for effective business decision-making. In addition, Targit Decision Suite supports analytics, controlling, forecasting and risk management. It uses the latest technological developments, such as in-memory databases and data warehousing.
For Cognifide, the development of Business Intelligence tools based on the ERP and OpenAir system was a focal objective. The company expected a complete solution which can ensure efficient management and transparent and easy-to-use analytics. Cognifide’s team placed importance on process quality as well as data visualization. Their expectations also involved establishing precise standards for granting data access rights.
“Presently, Targit is an outstanding platform for reporting. It is especially important for us, as it combines several systems used for storing different types of data. By using a data warehouse, we can store data from various sources and analyze it based on multiple dimensions,”
Ewa Łusiak – Jędra.
Reporting data was originally retrieved from three sources – Cognifide’s subsidiaries in Poland and Great Britain and the OpenAir system. The company has recently added its American subsidiary to the data warehouse. The ERP solution integrated with Targit analytical tools enabled Cognifide to manage its reporting consistently both at the subsidiary and group level.
Some volumes of data are retrieved from the ERP system (based on posting transaction, budgets or project data), and some data is uploaded automatically from OpenAir. This means that Targit uses both Microsoft Dynamics NAV and OpenAir.
“Cognifide had special requirements for reporting. Due to its international nature, the company required a solution which can create reports automatically in two currencies, i.e. Polish zloty and English pound,” says Jakub Abram. “For more streamlined reporting, we have implemented the Reporting Exchange Rate functionality, which automatically converts values into the functional currency used in the group,” he adds.
Most frequently, analytical data is presented as tables. In Cognifide, another, simpler concept for data visualization using dashboards was developed. Readability and simplicity were the main benefits.
Targit and the whole data warehouse enable the company to generate a range of information on the profitability of sales, project and budget teams. The solution enables the user to visualize trends in costs. By combining information from other sources, Cognifide can display a complete overview of ongoing projects and possible developments.
Reports are enhanced and improved on an on-going basis in order to meet the specific needs of department managers.
Business Intelligence in Cognifide is of special importance. The solution is still being enhanced and in the future, a mobile software version is to be implemented in order to enable users to access data from anywhere.
Cognifide has decided to implement the Human Resources and Payroll module. It is an original solution developed by IT.integro. The module is an enhancement to Microsoft Dynamics NAV for human resources management and payroll calculation. Its capabilities include creating a human resources database, generating a variety of documents, recording time sheets and absences, calculating remuneration and benefits, as well as posting payroll based on defined criteria.
“The Human Resources and Payroll module supports the formal employee life cycle, starting from drafting a contract through master data entry, annual calculation of remuneration and work certificate. Additionally, Dynamics NAV enables automated time sheet import from the OpenAir system, which substantially facilitates the process of data retrieval for payroll calculation. Now, it is a matter of pressing a button; previously we had to enter all data manually,” says Magdalena Siwka, Senior HR Manager in Cognifide. “Moreover, we can import employee time sheets from other systems. The increasing number of employees has made entering project and project member data a time-consuming task. Integrated into an ERP system, the Human Resources and Payroll module supports the automated import of this data” she adds.
The ERP system implementation project was launched in 2014. The project was delivered in stages according to Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology. It was run in parallel in Poland and Great Britain. Finally, the project was completed in April 2015.
Cognifide plans to continue its investment in developing Business Intelligence capabilities based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Consolidated reporting has generated immense benefits for the company. Presently, Confide is considering a system upgrade and subsequent recurring updates. These plans also include the agreement on the Human Resources and Payroll module.
The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and add-ons such as Human Resources&Payroll as well as the Targit Decision Suite empowered Cognifide to accomplish its business objectives. The benefits the company has obtained include:
Instant access to an updated and reliable database
Generating reports based on reliable data
Faster system deployment and user training
Standardized accounting model
More efficient analytics and reporting
Streamlined human resources and payroll management
Better planning and time registration
“Implementing Microsoft Dynamics NAV has contributed to the establishment of a standardized methodology for data visualization and cost management across the group. Previously, each company had its own chart of accounts and posting methods. Besides, group reporting was based on MS Excel. At present, data can be easily interpreted, regardless of whether their source is the Polish, English or American subsidiary.” says Ewa Łusiak-Jędra
As its implementation partner, Confide chose IT.integro – Microsoft Dynamics NAV Gold Partner and the member of the elite Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club. The main decision factor was IT.integro’s experience in the delivery of international projects, which involves 50 foreign implementations and support for 1,000 foreign ERP users. Cognifide expected comprehensive support for the implementation from its partner. The company also required the partner to ensure ongoing updates for the system based on legal requirements.