There is a task related to electricity networks that is essential for the functioning of the commercial electricity markets. Electricity grids are in shared use, so a wide range of operators either generate electricity for the grid or consume it. A reliable party is needed for carrying out the so-called imbalance settlement. It defines how much electricity each producer supplied to the grid and how much electricity each electricity company or industrial plant consumed from the grid.
“In the electricity market, it is extremely important that every operator is able to settle the situation for each week, both in terms of energy and money,” says Minnakaisa Ahonen, CEO of eSett.
Established in 2017, eSett carries out this important responsibility in the Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish electricity markets. eSett's information systems are used to manage the settlement and international invoicing of more than 1,000 market participants, so the uninterrupted operation of the systems plays a key role in the entire Nordic electricity market.
What we did
- ERP for financial management
- system integrations
- purchase invoice circulation
- continuous services
What we used
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management
- Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft Azure Integration Services
- SignUp Software ExFlow for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations
The core function of the electricity markets was moved to cloud
eSett previously used the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system. The support for it was about to end, so a decision was made to upgrade the system to a modern cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP system. The demanding nature of the operation resulted in many requirements for the IT system and upgrade.
“Our core system is extremely critical. It is used to transfer large sums of money, and the system is closely integrated with the operational system and, for example, the banking system,” says Finance Manager Kaisa Nirkko, who was responsible for the project implementation at eSett.
eSett had already cooperated with Digia for years regarding the previous ERP system. The experiences from that cooperation were good, and Digia was also selected to implement the system reform. The project took into account many of the special requirements related to eSett's role.
Firstly, the information security requirements were very high. In its projects, Digia carries out an internal information security audit and in eSett's project, this was complemented with several external audits. The system’s information security was also improved through a number of special arrangements and processes.
Another key requirement was the high reliability of the system on a 24/7 basis – and especially on the weekly billing days. According to Ahonen, very short maintenance response times were agreed with Digia for these days, so that any challenges could be dealt with quickly.
The third key area for requirements was the effectiveness of financial management operations. Ahonen says that eSett has systematically automated its financial management processes already for years. These automations were also implemented in the new system, and efforts were made to further increase the efficiency of operations. Digia’s experts have long experience with Microsoft Dynamics solutions and international invoicing and taxation, which was very helpful.
“Our finance systems are now in good shape”
eSett's renewal project started at a challenging time in the midst of a pandemic in September 2020. It was practically impossible to arrange any physical meetings, so the project was carried through remote connections and video conferences. Ahonen says that the cooperation was nevertheless extremely smooth.
“We had an open and trusting atmosphere. We were really pleased with the communication between Digia and our experts,” Ahonen says. The challenges and questions that are inevitable in all projects were resolved in good cooperation, which meant that the work progressed quickly. “We all thought that the cooperation worked really well,” Nirkko agrees.
The challenge in the project was that the need for integration work was found to be greater than expected. Therefore, it was decided that a modern integration platform is built for eSett as part of the project.
“The integration team was really good and thought about things in terms of best practices. They were not stuck in the past, but from the very beginning they figured out the best way to implement our integrations. They now work really well,” Nirkko says.
According to Ahonen, the project was completed on schedule and even slightly early in October 2021 despite the extra work caused by the integrations. “Deployment also went well with minimum customer impacts,” she states.
eSett is very satisfied with the finalised system. Ahonen is pleased that due to the transition to cloud, the financial management system will constantly be up to date, which largely eliminates the need for major non-recurring updates.
Nirkko also praises the improvements brought about by the new integrations. “In the past, integrations were like a black hole with no visibility inside them. Now we can see the status of bills, the progress of the process and whether there are any errors. This is a clear improvement,” she says. With the modern integration platform, future integration needs can also be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
“The systems have been working reliably. Now there is a feeling that our financial management systems are in good shape,” Ahonen says.