Sevan Multi-Site Solutions was founded in 2011 by a group of senior leaders with years of experience in architecture, engineering, construction, program management, and professional services. They shared the vision of a client-centric, highly agile organization that would be the best in the world at delivering architecture, engineering, construction, design, surveys, and program management to organizations with multiple sites. That vision has paid off. Today, Sevan’s client portfolio includes some of the world’s best-known brands in the restaurant, retail, and grocery sectors, as well as other industries. The company has averaged 86 percent year-over-year growth during the past three years and has been named to the Inc. 5000.
The Sevan technology team has been a big contributor to that growth. It has a number of custom solutions that provide breakthrough capabilities to Sevan clients, including:
Sevan has deployed these digital tools in the cloud. This gives clients round-the-clock access to data. It also provides team members with incredible flexibility in the field. Overall, it’s been a huge competitive differentiator.
Success with cloud-centric solutions in the field led Sevan to extend this capability to the financial arena. The company decided to move beyond the QuickBooks software it used for financial management and to instead explore a powerful, tier-one platform capable of hosting flexible, cloudbased business management solutions. The criteria for success were simple: the solution had to be able to support the company’s principles, which place the highest value on empowering people so they can deliver superior project and program results for the company’s unique mix of projects and programs. This philosophy is one reason why Sevan has been named one of the 100 Best Medium Workplaces 2018 by Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE, ranking #29 on the list.
Jason Bentley, Vice President, Technology and Innovation at Sevan, explains, “We wanted a solution to help us do more than take care of the business in its current state. We needed it to the manage our talents and skills so that the right people can contribute to projects where they can have the greatest impact. It also had to support continuing growth, as our strategy calls for a strong focus on international opportunities.” The software decision was strategic and highly consequential. “We were looking for a platform that we could invest in and that would grow and evolve with us,” Bentley adds.
After comparing multiple solutions, Sevan chose Microsoft Dynamics 365 to deliver what was traditionally known as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities—as well as a wealth of other functionality—on the Azure cloud. Bentley says, “We are confident that we chose the right solution with Microsoft Dynamics 365. We believe in Microsoft’s direction. Their roadmap aligns closely with our vision for a single, integrated platform to run business operations and finances in the cloud.” Sevan also felt that an implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 would be less complex, risky, and lengthy than a comparable deployment of competing products.
Once the solution was identified, Sevan had to find a technology partner to help implement Microsoft Dynamics 365. The company sought a provider that would offer ERP and CRM expertise and demonstrate an understanding of Sevan’s core lines of business—construction, design, surveys, program management, and technology. Bentley and his colleagues reviewed and compared several companies that looked promising. They engaged in multiple in-depth conversations about the company’s requirements and values and the upcoming deployment. Ultimately, Sikich emerged as Sevan’s preferred partner. Bentley says, “Sikich shared our value perspective of delivering excellence to customers. Starting with the very first contact, the Sikich team demonstrated the empathy, business insight, and technical expertise that we thought would be essential to the project’s success. I’m happy that our relationship has become even stronger through our collaboration.”
Sikich technology and business experts performed a phased implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365. First, Sevan went live with a pilot of the solution’s CRM functionality. Shortly thereafter, financial and operations management capabilities—typically associated with ERP—followed. Sikich also helped Sevan integrate and implement several software tools that extended Microsoft Dynamics 365 capabilities to meet the company’s unique needs. These included Microsoft Power BI reporting and analytics, Replicon business-critical software for managing time and expenses, SK Global for managing banking transactions, and CCH SureTax to facilitate compliance with state sales and use taxes. “Sikich helped us set expectations and priorities for a successful implementation,” Bentley notes. “Then they helped us execute the deployment in the timeline we hoped to achieve-including integration with Replicon.”
Jim Evans, President and CEO of Sevan, describes the implementation experience from his perspective: “Sikich has an excellent process for managing complex, large projects like our Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation. They helped us resource it in the best possible way, and then collaborated with us to meet all of our milestones on time. They have wonderful people with a wealth of experience and an unshakeable commitment to our success.”
Much of the value Sevan will realize from Microsoft Dynamics 365 comes from the increased visibility of data in one centralized resource that is available to business users in the cloud anytime, anywhere. Bentley explains, “We wanted to get our business data onto Microsoft Dynamics 365 and take advantage of the integrations with analytical and business intelligence tools that Microsoft offers in the same Azure environment. That gives us control and transparency in growing the business and getting the right data to the right people in the right business groups.”
John Schneider, Vice President, Finance and Risk at Sevan, emphasizes the transparency and control Microsoft Dynamics 365 brings to the company, especially when compared to previous financial reporting that relied on spreadsheets. “In Microsoft Dynamics 365, we can set up metrics and reports to see exactly where we are in terms of our plan and goals for the year, whether it’s the overall business or at the individual project level,” Schneider explains. “We can benefit from more reliable and timely assessments of our financial performance and revenue flow. Forecasts will be far more accurate. We can be more confident that we know where we are and where we are headed.”
As Evans views it, Sevan’s clients are sure to benefit from the company’s use of Microsoft Dynamics 365: “Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps us see ourselves more clearly, which means we will be able to make commitments to our clients with greater certainty. Thanks to Microsoft Dynamics 365 as implemented for us by Sikich, we will also be more competitive and effective in winning and serving large enterprise clients with the quality, innovation, and speed they expect.” The business development team will be one of the first beneficiaries of Microsoft Dynamics 365. “We already maintain highly successful client relationships,” Bentley says. “Soon, we will be able to track account information, review opportunities together, and become even more efficient and consistent across our entire organization in how we develop pricing and proposals, project incoming revenue, and execute on the projects that we win. That will provide tremendous value.”
– John Schneider, Vice President, Finance and Risk
In Sevan’s implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365, digital business transformation is the result of many small changes and incremental steps. “With assistance from Sikich, we are automating routine processes, making data more accessible, and increasing our efficiencies,” Bentley explains. In the next phase of its Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation, Sevan will add talent management functionality to optimize the use of people’s skills on client projects. The company also plans to rely on Microsoft Dynamics 365 to more closely align its recruiting and onboarding with customer project requirements. In addition, Bentley and his team will be evaluating the project and field service capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 to see how they could be of benefit.
Having implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365, Sevan knows that its growth goals are within closer reach. Bentley says, “We now have a scalable infrastructure that enables us to connect with and serve large clients anywhere in the world. Sikich helped us operate at the highest levels of performance and agility, expanding our business on the digital platform of the cloud.”
For Sevan, the Sikich team will remain a go-to resource when organizational and technical changes call for insight and finesse in adjusting the company’s cloud infrastructure. “We don’t view Sikich as just another system integrator,” Bentley emphasizes. “Sikich is a trusted partner we will turn to when we have questions about Microsoft Dynamics 365 or anything related to our business technology. That’s what we hoped for from a true partner relationship.”