The Nordic energy company Gasum required an ERP system suitable for the needs of its growing and developing business at all of its business locations in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Digia provided Gasum with the Microsoft D365 system. As a cost-effective and scalable solution, it will serve the company in the future as well. Gasum also adopted the Microsoft Data Lake solution to rationalise the work of its analysts.
We know each other. For instance, I don’t have to really think twice before calling someone at Digia and getting things done smoothly. Cooperation runs smoothly when we find suitable points of contact and get things done.
Pertti Norjos, CIO, Gasum Oy
Gasum got its start selling natural gas. Today, it is a diversified Nordic expert in the gas business, operating not only in Finland, but also in Sweden and Norway. The ERP system of this growing and evolving company had originally been set up with natural gas in mind. It no longer provided Gasum with the required benefits.
“During the past three years, we’ve expanded into new business areas. We saw that it was time to thoroughly modernise our ERP to serve the needs of all our business areas,” says Gasum CIO Pertti Norjos.
Gasum previously used a Microsoft AX 2012 system supplied by Digia, which had been customised extensively over the years. The goal set for the modernisation phase was to implement as many of the functionalities as possible using standard solutions.
Cloud-based Microsoft D365 was selected as the new system. Norjos says that the choice of technology was easy.
“Gasum was already using Microsoft Office 365 applications, and the previous ERP system was also by Microsoft. The user interface of D365 does not differ significantly from that of the old AX, so it felt sensible to stick with the Microsoft family.”
Gasum was encouraged to opt for a cloud solution thanks to its scalability and cost-effectiveness. As the infrastructure is located in the cloud and the number of licences required is relatively low, the operating costs are reasonable. A cloud solution is also flexible when necessary.
“Gasum has been proactive and we’ve carried out acquisitions, for instance. The scalability of the D365 solution ensures that the system will keep up with any new acquisitions,” says Norjos.
Gasum’s system modernisation project was carried out on quite a tight schedule. The preliminary study was started in May 2017. Actual implementation was launched on the basis of the results. Work got under way in earnest in October and the new system was deployed at the beginning of April 2018.
Several factors posed challenges in the project, such as the busy schedules of the financial department at the turn of the year and the transfer of master data to the new system. That said, time could be set aside for testing and personnel training, enabling deployment to proceed smoothly.
Due to the tight schedule, the scope of the first production version was defined clearly. The next development packages are already being produced. They will introduce plenty of new features that weren’t included in the old system.
“There are some small needs for further development and the development package also includes certain features that were included in some form in the earlier ERP system or which have been eagerly awaited,” Norjos says.
In addition to the ERP modernisation, Gasum carried out other projects at the same time. One of these was the development of analytics. The solution was to implement Microsoft Data Lake from the Azure cloud.
“At Gasum, we have several analysts whose tasks include monitoring market prices, price indexes and changes in the weather, and to create forecasts on the basis of this data. The analysts had built their own reporting tools, but as time went on it became clear that they had to spend too much time on maintenance rather than actual analysis work,” says Norjos.
“We now have the Data Lake platform in production use and everything works as it should. The architecture is in line with Microsoft recommendations. In this, too, we have sought to avoid customisation.”
Gasum and Digia have been partners for a long time. Norjos says that this is highly beneficial.
“We know each other. For instance, I don’t have to really think twice before calling someone at Digia and getting things done smoothly,” says Norjos.
Norjos says that from the perspective of cooperation it’s significant that both the customer and supplier are the same size.
“Although Gasum generates large net sales, our personnel count is quite small compared to many other industrial groups. For this reason, a supplier of Digia’s size is suitable for us. Neither of us has much bureaucracy or different layers of administration,” he says.
“Cooperation runs smoothly when we find suitable points of contact and get things done.”