Assetlink streamlines operations and enhances visibility – plans next Azure move

Attributed to Hani Arab, CIO, Assetlink

Quality and efficiency are the priorities we look to balance at Assetlink – and from my vantage point I believe cloud computing has a significant role to play.

Over the last 25 years we have grown, and today, we are an Australian owned integrated facilities services provider who have expanded nationally. The company has around 2,500 people serving over 350 clients from large-scale national portfolios to single-site facilities within the Retail, Commercial, Government, Education, Health, Aged Care and Resource channels.

We want to ensure the quality that has characterised the business since day one is maintained as we grow. And we want to do that efficiently.

To help with that we have started to move applications into Microsoft Azure, taking advantage of the opportunity to move to an opex model – but also to streamline access for our people, and to ensure we have enterprise-wide transparency.

Getting this done right is critical and we are taking our transition to the cloud step by step, optimising workflow and processes along the way. So, for example before we move to Dynamics 365 Business Central – which is our end goal – we’ve taken the time to integrate our time and attendance data from Kronos with Dynamics Navision which is the Microsoft platform we are using right now.

It’s giving managers clarity and the opportunity to optimise operations around the task being done. They can see if a task is being tackled in the most efficient way, the most cost-effective way – based on the roster in terms of what’s in the award for that jurisdiction.

And by integrating our works management system with the Microsoft platform we can initiate a quote, send it to Navision, raise a sales order, convert it to an invoice and continue that through the whole workflow.

It’s efficiency without compromise of quality.

That’s that cloud promises. Because we can use cloud APIs we can integrate applications more easily and open up any silos of information for greater access and scrutiny. That integration extends to clients as well – we can create links directly to their systems to streamline operations and provide them with visibility.

We’re now working with Microsoft partner Dialog to prepare for our move to Dynamics 365 Business Central. We already use Office 365 – and expect there will be real benefits from the streamlined productivity that these two SaaS solutions can bring to Assetlink.

At the moment we are making use of Active Directory in Azure, some authentication servers have moved to the cloud along with our document management system and ServiceNow.

Our ambition is to progressively move everything to the cloud.

One of the advantages of Dynamics 365 Business Central will be having a pure cloud SaaS enabled platform that will give us the power to continue driving efficiency between our operational teams, our finance teams and also to be able to create seamless workflows from start to end. And with that comes the promise of near-real-time reporting across the entire business, so every manager, every executive can see how they are tracking right now – it drives accountability and discipline but also identifies where there are opportunities for improvement.

Dynamics has always been the nucleus of truth for us – this takes it to the next level.

Once we are using applications natively in the cloud it streamlines everything for our frontline staff as well. At the moment they have access to corporate apps via Citrix – but that’s just another hurdle.

I think the ability to have a native cloud system where these guys can issue, generate their own sales orders or see their P&L will be an improvement on user experience.

And while it’s simpler and a better user experience for our teams, being in Azure gives Assetlink peace of mind about security and reliability.

I’m not expecting the transition to cloud to happen overnight. We need to invest time, energy and a lot of thought – but I’m confident of the rewards.

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