Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management: Realizing Transformational Opportunities by Working With the Private Equity Industry

By developing a strategy for working with private equity (PE) firms, Sikich has found prime opportunities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft cloud technologies with significant pull-through for other Microsoft and ISV solutions. Sikich mergers and acquisitions and transactions advisory teams help PE companies evaluate potential investments and prepare transition services agreements (TSA). Engaging Sikich mitigates the risks PE organizations can incur when it’s time to assess a company’s technological maturity and the state of its systems and infrastructures. Sikich provides this due diligence and also handles many logistical and legal steps that prepare the ground for successful transactions.

Once TSAs are in place, Sikich consultants work with the businesses being acquired or divested to optimize their business processes and modernize their technologies. The private equity project below, is one of several transformational engagements Sikich has completed with PE firms. We expect more to come as we continue our collaboration.

Creating a new organization in the cloud

A PE firm felt that a Microsoft Dynamics 365 deployment we performed for one of their portfolio companies was their most successful go-live ever. When a holding company, decided to spin off one of their organizations, the PE firm engaged us to perform due diligence assessments to prepare the technology section of the TSA. Once the holding company and PE firm signed a TSA with a one-year runtime, the PE firm hired us to put our plan into practice and empower the spin off organization to become an autonomous business.

By relying on the full spectrum of Microsoft cloud technologies, we were able to complete a large part of our work within six months. Even with an arsenal of best practices and experience from hundreds of successful projects, we would not have been able to deliver this project during the pandemic, while supply chains were disrupted, without the cloud infrastructure. The new spin off is an agile, data-driven business that can respond to changing market trends and emerging competitive challenges.

From zero to digital leader in less than a year

Here’s what we delivered during the TSA runtime:

Technology design.

We designed a master data strategy, cloud-based infrastructure and network architecture with a technology implementation roadmap. We developed a new server infrastructure that allows the spin off organization to manage cloud and on-premises technologies in a virtualized hybrid cloud with Microsoft Hyper-V.

Sourcing and provisioning.

We worked with the client to source, deploy, and configure servers, storage, client computing, broadband connectivity, firewalls, networking, and telephony hardware and software. With Windows Autopilot as the zero-touch desktop, recovery, and remediation solution, we deployed new desktops and laptops as much as 50% faster than a conventional hardware rollout, while optimizing provisioning for their repeatedly changing user count.

Data migrations.

Sikich worked with the holding company to ensure smooth data migrations. We migrated data from the holding company’s corporate SAP to Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 with Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Microsoft SharePoint.

ERP deployment.

We deployed of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management through Sikich HEADSTART, which is built around Microsoft Lifecycle Services and its business process library with hundreds of standardized, best practice-driven processes. HEADSTART comprises complete, production-ready models of the Dynamics 365 solutions that typically meet 80% or more of clients’ requirements. Through the HEADSTART model, we gave the spin off a firm foundation for long-term viability and profitability and set up the company’s financial and operational processes. The Dynamics 365 implementation resulted in many operational improvements over the previous state of the business, including:

  • Same-day recognition of labor and material costs instead of days later
  • Real-time visibility of inventory changes and their financial impact in company-owned and third-party logistics warehouses
  • Month-end closes within 3 days or faster instead of 14 days
  • Accurate, fast cost analysis reporting within the ERP system instead of outside of it
  • Fast barcode scanning with Dynamics 365 Advanced Warehouse Management
  • Hundreds of hours saved in reporting through automatic item consumption updates in production orders
  • Single instead of multiple scans of license plates to receive multiple pallets of raw material
  • Efficient EDI communications with suppliers, replacing paper-based processes by means of SPS Commerce ISV software integrating with Dynamics 365

Organizational development.

Sikich expertise and HEADSTART together with Microsoft cloud technologies bridged the spin off’s IT and business leadership gap until the company staffed up. Aligning with optimized HEADSTART business roles, the spin off organization hired a CFO, accounting department, and a director of IT. By traditional means, an organization would not have hired for all these positions during a complete technology transition. However, the HEADSTART accounting structure and deployment methodology allowed them to interview, hire, and train the new team members while our project was underway, avoiding what otherwise would have been a significant delay.

Building on a cloud foundation.

The client uses Microsoft Azure to support lifecycle management of Dynamics 365, maintaining a golden image by means of the Azure Sandbox. We optimized the company’s Azure subscription design after our assessments.

Work-from-anywhere productivity.

Microsoft 365 and Teams support large parts of the client’s workforce. Teams is the preferred app for meetings and Teams Presence facilitates instant messaging. We preserved Outlook and Exchange as the email environment, modernized by a move from Exchange on premises to Exchange Online.

Cloud telephony.

To replace their Cisco telephone system, owned by the parent company, we deployed Teams Phone System for the entire company, making use of our expertise in the area of number porting and other tasks that the new IT team found challenging. We worked with the holding company to manage the telephony transition and designed the network topology for 911 calling. Bigleaf SD-WAN, protected by a SonicWall firewall, both made highly available through hardware redundancy, allows the client to manage and prioritize phone voice traffic.

Strong security.

Taking advantage of Microsoft cloud security, we designed the client’s cybersecurity and internet protocols, following best practices for security and availability. Hyper-V Replica replicates virtual machines between the client’s two locations to enable immediate disaster recovery. The company’s security includes multi-factor authentication for Microsoft 365 apps and ESET antivirus protection. Microsoft Defender Business Premium protects links, files, and attachments in emails and on SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive for Business. Software from Microsoft ISV SkyKick safeguards Teams and SharePoint data. Veeam is the backup solution for the Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized environment, accessing Azure Blob Storage to ensure geo-redundancy and anytime business continuity. Great Kitchens also provides users with VPN technology.

Data insight.

Microsoft Power BI enhances Dynamics 365 by enabling pervasive data intelligence through dashboards and reports we designed.

Brand identity.

When we realized the client needed a new identity, we designed its brand to fit with the PE firm’s portfolio. We stood up a new website for the company, along with supporting infrastructure, LinkedIn page, and social media channels. Our clients didn’t need to hire a separate provider of branding and marketing services.

Read more on this story here.

Have any questions about how Dynamics 365 and Microsoft cloud technologies can make your private equity firm more productive and efficient? Please contact our experts at any time!

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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