GEN-I Group’s core activity is international trading in electricity and natural gas and supplying end users, which includes corporate customers as well as household consumers. Company's expansion to new countries required a new solution to manage and consolidate operations in different countries and different curencies, so Gen-I started looking for ERP solution.
Many providers offer similar functionalities, but Microsoft Dynamics AX makes it easiest to provide a great user experience.
Andrej Šajn, Member of the Management Board, GEN-I
GEN-I Group’s core activity is international trading in electricity and natural gas and supplying end users, which includes corporate customers as well as household consumers. The company has 120,000 customers in Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and Austria and is the largest Slovenian supplier in terms of quantity delivered. With more than 170 employees, GEN-I is a highly centralized operation with headquarters and IT operations located in Slovenia, from where it delivers operational support to subsidiaries and companies in 18 other countries, including Italy, Austria and Croatia.
In 2012, GEN-I began looking for a new ERP and billing solution to support the company’s rapid growth and increased focus on consumers. Expansion into new countries required the new solution to allow GEN-I to easily manage and consolidate operations in different countries with different currencies.
“We were also looking for a stable partner with a clear product roadmap and focus on usability,” explained Andrej Šajn, Member of the Management Board. “Before the project we were using a locally developed solution that depended on a small development team that could easily be disrupted and in our industry such risk is something you are looking to avoid.”
Clear Goals of Implementation
After evaluating a number of solutions, GEN-I selected a powerful software solution based on MECOMS and Dynamics AX. MECOMS is a vertical solution for utility companies, based on Microsoft Dynamics AX, and it offers all required industry-specific functionalities, such as Contract Management and Billing, Customer Care and Portfolio Management.
GEN-I evaluated a number of other solutions, including SAP, Oracle and Infor, but finally decided on Microsoft’s solution, which was delivered by Microsoft Services and BE-terna, the largest regional Dynamics AX partner.
The implementation project began in November 2012 and first results were visible in January 2013, when invoices for natural gas sales were processed with MECOMS. In August 2013 standard ERP functionalities of Dynamics AX were released into production.
The new solution covers all existing business functions and processes within the company and acts as a platform for future upgrades and new functionalities.
“Previously, the ERP system was used only by employees in the accounting department,” explained Šajn. “Now, it involves a larger number of employees and business functions and is far more integrated into our business.”
Important benefits during the implementation were the ease of use and the intuitive user experience offered by Dynamics AX. As the users were already familiar with the Microsoft Office interface, only a reasonable amount of training was required for them to start using the new solution.
Another important benefit is the ability to extract data from Microsoft Dynamics AX and analyze it in Microsoft Office applications, such as Excel.
“Reporting flexibility is an important factor in making the entire solution more user friendly and ensuring that it increases user productivity,” said Šajn. “All providers offer similar functionalities, but Microsoft Dynamics AX makes it easiest to provide a great user experience.”
The new solution has already increased productivity, as the company was able to partially integrate a Croatian daughter company into the centralized AX platform without having to increase the number of employees or their workload.
“Microsoft and BE-terna are reliable partners with industry-specific knowledge and a clear future product roadmap. This is a must for a company that operates on the demanding electricity and gas energy markets,” explained Šajn.