CASE SAVON VOIMA

Digia completely revamped Savon Voima's financial management – 22% below budget: “Users extremely satisfied”

Savon Voima is one of the largest and most well-known energy and electricity network companies in eastern Finland. The company needed to completely reform its financial management system. Digia implemented a major project with excellent results – underspending the budget by 22 per cent. Savon Voima's CFO Toni Vainikainen says that users have been exceptionally satisfied with the new system.

Savon Voima is a Finnish energy company that is responsible for a large part of eastern Finland's electricity network and energy production. For example, the company has 21 district heating networks in 13 different municipalities and the company is a major energy producer, with the majority of its energy production based on renewable energy sources. Its subsidiary Savon Voima Verkko, on the other hand, is the sixth largest network company in Finland, managing approximately 27,000 kilometres of electricity network.

“Our investments in networks and energy production amount to 50–60 million euros on an annual basis,” says Toni Vainikainen, CFO of Savon Voima. For example, the company is a shareholder in Finland's largest wind farm, which will be completed in Lestijärvi in 2024.

Such large-scale activities place significant demands on financial management systems. A few years ago, this resulted in Savon Voima facing an extensive and challenging IT project. The entire company's financial management systems had to be reformed. There were several reasons for this need.

mita-teimme.pngWhat we did

milla-teimme.pngWhat we used

The users of the new system are extremely satisfied. This is the most successful IT project that I've ever been involved in.
Toni Vainikainen, CFO, Savon Voima

One reason was that support for the company's previous Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system was ending. However, it was not just an upgrade project, but the aim was much higher.

Savon Voima wanted to transfer its financial management and ERP system to a modern cloud system, which would make it easier, for example, to increase the efficiency and automation of financial management processes. Another aim was to develop reporting in a more real-time direction and to utilise the possibilities provided by analytics more efficiently.

Savon Voima organised a competitive tendering process for the project, in which Digia emerged as a top candidate. “In the tendering process, Digia gave the most professional impression. Already in this phase, the impression we got was one of strong expertise, system understanding and industry understanding. The offer was also the best in terms of overall economics,” Vainikainen says.

Digia was also recommended to Savon Voima by another energy company, whose project Digia was working on at the time. Therefore, the project started with Digia at the end of 2020.

The successful project was implemented with budget underspend of 22 per cent

The project included building a new Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP system for Savon Voima to run the financial management for the entire company, with an internal invoice circulation system also implemented in the course of the project.

At the beginning of the project, all the financial management processes at Savon Voima were reviewed and their functionalities specified. Based on this analysis, the project schedule and price were adjusted. The practical implementation phase started in early 2021.

Vainikainen says that the positive expectations in the bidding phase only strengthened during the project. “Digia's operations were methodical and systematic, and the people designated for the project had extremely strong expertise,” Vainikainen says.

He says that cooperation was excellent at all levels. “Our employees involved in the project gave a lot of praise for how competent and flexible Digia’s experts were and how quickly they responded,” Vainikainen says. “Working with Digia employees was easy and pleasant.”

Along their other duties, Savon Voima's own team also worked for the project with great commitment. Although two key persons working for the project at Savon Voima transferred to other tasks during the project, the good cooperation resulted in a very successful outcome for the extensive project. The reform project was completed on schedule in January 2022.

In terms of costs, the outcome was really positive. “The project costs remained significantly below what was agreed after the analysis phase,” Vainikainen says. The costs were 22% lower than agreed, which is an amazing result.

“Best ERP that I've ever used”

According to Vainikainen, user experiences have shown that the new ERP system is a success. “The users of the new system and our financial management experts have been tremendously pleased,” he says.

He says that the system is faster and more reliable and user-friendly than its predecessor. Savon Voima's users find that it is a significant improvement compared to the old system.

“After a few weeks, a new accountant who recently started with us said that this ERP of yours is wonderful, clearly the best they have ever used,” Vainikainen says.

With the system reform, Savon Voima can now continue to develop its financial management. According to Vainikainen, the company will initially focus on modelling and streamlining financial processes, and later the aim is to develop the utilisation of analytics and artificial intelligence, for example. The modern ERP system enables and enhances such further development.

Savon Voima is very satisfied with the project that was implemented with Digia. “This is the most successful IT project I've ever been involved in,” Vainikainen says.

Digia is also very satisfied with the cooperation in the extremely smooth project. “It is a pleasure to be involved in such top projects. Cooperation with the customer's project personnel was excellent, and the teams on both sides worked closely together. It is a good starting point for continued cooperation with Savon Voima in the context of continuous services and further development,” says Jarkko Savolainen, Head of Dynamics 365 Unified Operations at Digia.