Growth is good, but it brings its own challenges. For Australian food equipment manufacturer tna solutions a series of acquisitions left the organisation with a patchwork quilt of information systems and fractured processes.
To streamline and optimise opportunities for the future it is undertaking a comprehensive information systems transformation. Leveraging cloud computing and Dynamics 365 it is breaking open its global data silos to ensure information and insight gets into the hands of executives and employees when and where they need it.
The first business process being transformed is tna’s human capital management with the deployment of Dynamics 365 for Talent.
There are four key pillars to effective digital transformation; engaging with customers, empowering employees, optimising operation and transforming products. By choosing to focus on talent management first, tna is starting to empower its people and also optimise operations.
Over time it plans to roll out the full suite of Dynamics 365. According to Pravin Singh, tna’s chief information officer; “I looked at lots of products and for me the Microsoft product really stood out. Over the next three to five years we are going through an implementation to Dynamics 365 – the whole suite – Talent was the first piece in the jigsaw for us.”
The roll out of Dynamics 365 for Talent worldwide means that all of tna’s HR professionals globally have access to the same solution and instant access to data about employees and – very soon – prospective hires.
Founded in Sydney in 1982 tna solutions manufactures food processing and packaging equipment, and is able to supply turnkey solutions to food manufacturers worldwide. It employs over 500 people in six manufacturing sites and 30 offices around the world, and has customers in more than 120 countries.
It also has 27 different payroll systems. But not for much longer as tna’s digital transformation program gathers pace.
Singh joined the company in 2017 to steer the digital transformation, help establish streamlined processes and ensure tna staff had access to the information they need to perform at their best.
A previous attempt to migrate to the cloud had come unstuck, so Singh’s first task was to bring everything back in house and wrest back control. From the get-go though tna was aware that this was only a stop gap on the way to a comprehensive embrace of trusted cloud computing.
The advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe in early 2018 was significant for tna which holds both European employee and customer data on its systems. That data needed to be held securely to comply with the new regulation, or the company risked enormous fines of up to 4 per cent of revenues.
A move to Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365 offered the security, resilience and trust that tna needed and the regulator demanded according to Singh.
Talent takes off
tna had previously run much of its HR operations using spreadsheets. Information was flying all over the world in spreadsheets attached to emails.
As Singh explains; “The challenge was that with GDPR we had to prove that the data was where it was, that it was secure and that we could delete it when they leave.” The spreadsheets’ days were numbered.
Dynamics 365 Talent has now been deployed globally, initially for tna’s HR team, but with plans to open an employee portal that will allow people to apply for leave or update their personal details.
“Talent gave us the database, the security, the user friendliness. We got rid of all the third-party products and spreadsheets and brought it into one. That is what it gave us – the vision that we are after and all controlled.”
Singh explains that having a common database and comprehensive access to information across HR means that everyone can see everything as it is updated in real time.
“Talent gives real time data to anyone with access, including the owners. They know the headcount movement and know where they need to be. There are future projections in there around ‘if the business grows this much, they need to do this in the departments.’”
Working with Microsoft gold partner DXC Eclipse, a practice within DXC Technology on the installation of Dynamics 365, Singh says TNA will next deploy the platform’s Attract features. “This is about the talent pools – attracting people into the business that we might not normally see – and that is through the LinkedIn integration,” which significantly extends the talent pool that TNA can tap.
According to Martin Wildsmith, director, DXC Eclipse: “The integrated approach provides TNA with the opportunity to manage the entire HR lifecycle – from talent attraction, through onboarding, appraisals, and ongoing talent management and retention through a single integrated platform.
“As the business continues to deploy Dynamics 365 solutions the benefits to the company will be magnified. It will have a global platform that scales as TNA scales, reaches all the parts of the world that TNA does business in – now and in the future, and provides the rich information insights that will support the company’s continued success.”
Singh says that already; “It blows everything away for us. We ran systems to manage appraisals – so now we are getting rid of five different systems, and the need took in a file for a contract, because it’s all attached in Talent.”
tna will also replace the 27 payroll systems with a single integrated payroll solution.
New revenue streams
Already well down the road to streamlining talent management, tna’s next transformation focus is ERP and CRM. The company’s acquisition history means that it has multiple systems currently deployed.
Singh says that Dynamics 365 CRM and Field Services are next to be deployed, followed by Dynamics FinOps.
It’s part of the transformation agenda which Singh says will leave tna with a single global integrated system within three to five years.
He notes that tna’s challenge of managing fractured and disparate information systems would resonate for many businesses – though he acknowledges that tna had a particular spur in the form of achieving GDPR compliance.
“The strategy I presented to the business was to remove everything from onsite and move to a cloud environment. Being a global business, you cannot have things sit in a server room that is unmanned.
“I want to do it on the Azure platform. Security wise there is no way tna can implement the amount of security and the investment required that Microsoft can.
“The amount of development and security that Microsoft puts in – they spend billions and billions of dollars on something that tna possibly spent less than $50,000 on.”
Besides Dynamics 365 tna has also rolled out across the world Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity solutions Office 365, Skype for Business and InTune to bolster mobile access security.
The approach has already streamlined HR, and over the next couple of years will do the same for all the other departments of tna. Singh also stresses that the move to the cloud, and access to Azure services creates new opportunities for the company.
He’s particularly enthused about the opportunity to use Azure cognitive services and IoT Hub in order to allow tna to develop new business services.
“This is really big on our agenda. Being a manufacturer, all our machines have sensors built in,” says Singh. The opportunity to feed data from those sensors through Azure IoT hub and make the insights available through dashboards to both tna employees and customers creates the opportunity to offer predictive maintenance and service agreements to tna’s customers.
“We want to sell service agreements to the end customer – so we will come in and maintain it if you sign a one-year, two-year contract. We as a business need to understand how their machine is running and they need to understand the wear and tear on their machine.”
The data insights from such a system also helps customers structure and restructure their business, headcount and real estate based on accurate data rather than gut feel.
For tna and its customers, it’s the clarity that comes from streamlined access to a comprehensive data collection that is ensuring optimised outcomes and impact.