Kuopion Energia took a step towards wider opportunities in connection with a financial administration system update. The new financial administration solution is the company's first cloud-based business system. As their partner for this new stage, the company chose Digia, as the company had the capacity to offer other types of services as well after the delivery of the technical solution.
We were always able to agree matters flexibly with Digia and bring the project over the finish line despite the tight schedule. Everyone at Digia was highly competent and committed to this project.
Eliisa Säntti, CFO, Kuopion Energia
The most important customers of Kuopion Energia’s financial administration are the company’s business areas: district heating, electricity trade, energy production and electricity transmission. In order to serve the business areas better and more efficiently, Kuopion Energia adopted a new financial administration system at the beginning of 2017.
Now, the financial administration functions of Kuopion Energia have been largely automated, which has made everyday work smoother and reduced mistakes. Sample postings in accounting and purchase invoice circulation, automatic order allocation and basic financial reports are just a few examples of the improvements brought by the new system.
The financial administration system is Kuopion Energia's first cloud-based business system. But it will not be the last.
The starting point of Kuopion Energia’s financial administration overhaul was familiar to many companies: the old system was clumsy and could not answer the needs of today, for example in the field of process automation. Introducing a completely new system that would quickly start to make things happen was easier and more efficient than trying to develop the old system.
Kuopion Energia did the background work diligently. In the survey phase, the company reviewed a large number of suppliers and products. At the beginning of 2016, requests for quotes were sent to the selected suppliers.
”We wanted a supplier that had the capacity to deliver the technical solution. The capability to offer other types of services in the future also played a part. Finally, the size of the company also mattered; we wanted a partner that was on our level”, says CFO Eliisa Säntti of Kuopion Energia, shedding light on the company’s partner selection criteria.
In its choice of technology, Kuopion Energia decided to put its trust in a tried and true solution.
”There were many new full-cloud solutions on the market, but they have not been adopted by many companies yet. We did not want to be the pilot project for a new product, but opted to rely on a tested product”, Säntti says.
The company ended up on the Microsoft AX system located in the Azure cloud. The required integrations were managed with the BizTalk ESB.
Choosing a cloud solution is still something of an oddity in the energy industry. Kuopion Energia was taken into the cloud by the company’s plans for the future.
”We did not go to the Azure cloud for financial administration alone. Rather, the idea is to also transfer other systems there in the future”, Säntti says.
It was important to Kuopion Energia that the project would proceed in an agile manner and stay on schedule. After Digia was selected as the company’s partner, work begun in August 2016. The goal was to put the basic financial administration functionalities, such as purchase invoice circulation and basic reports and interfaces, into operation from the beginning of 2017. This was also achieved.
Every company has its own business environment, which poses unique challenges to system replacement projects. In the case of Kuopion Energia, we needed to solve the integration of several sub-programs and systems with financial administration. For example, the completely new fuel and maintenance systems needed to be integrated with the financial administration system as new interfaces.
”We have more than twenty interfaces, also with third parties. It is quite an operation to reconcile the schedules of everyone involved and get them in the same room at the same time. However, we were always able to agree matters flexibly with Digia and bring the project over the finish line despite the tight schedule”, Säntti says.
”This was a huge change for us, but we managed to complete it on a tight schedule. Everything went really well, particularly when you take that into account. Everyone at Digia was highly competent and committed to this project.”
Close cooperation between the various parties played an important role in the successful lead-through of the project. The introduction of the new system increased internal cooperation.
”When connecting different systems to AX, you need cooperation and process development on the part of both parties. This project has increased communication between different departments at Kuopion Energia”, Säntti says.
Now that the project has been completed, Kuopion Energia is ready to take full advantage of the new financial administration system.
”The end users still have things to learn, but they are bravely using the software and compiling a list of things they would like more training on. Right now, we are focusing on putting the system to full use and improving the efficiency of our work”, Säntti concludes.