Red Cross Flanders chooses Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the cloud
Every company has different drivers when it comes to its cloud journey. For nonprofit Red Cross Flanders back in 2016, it was the news that their custom IT solution, which had been in place for many years and maintained by a sole supplier, would no longer be supported.
“We’d been relying on the same solution for many years, having it updated on an ad hoc basis,” explains Karolien Geudens, Financial Director at Red Cross Flanders. “When we learned that it was being phased out, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to reduce maintenance costs by moving to a multi-supplier system.”
From an IT perspective, Red Cross Flanders was primarily concerned with the reliability of the new system and wanted to keep downtime as low or lower than 1%. In addition, their ICT team was wary of a move to the cloud, as they would not have the same level of control over a cloud vs. an on-premise system.
In the summer of 2016, Red Cross Flanders extended an invitation to tender to several ICT consultancy companies, choosing delaware in November. “delaware stood out because their response to our request for proposal was the clearest and most comprehensive. In meetings, their consultants were the most familiar with our needs,” Karolien continues.
The nonprofit selected a Microsoft solution because of the familiar environment. Karolien: “Our first choice was an on-premise implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX, but when we realized that we would have to move to the cloud anyway in 3-5 years, we selected Dynamics 365.”
Despite a 2-month delay on Microsoft’s side, Red Cross Flanders worked closely with delaware to ensure the original go-live of January 2018. “The integration went smoothly overall. Key users of the system are aware of our move to the cloud, but many users are still unaware that this big change has even taken place,” says Karolien.
Bringing it all togetherThere were some key takeaways from the project. “When a company purchases a complex IT product, it’s difficult to imagine how the end result will look,” Karolien explains. “For example, we knew we had to tailor the product, and there was a vision of the processes that needed to be in place. But during the implementation, there were several decisions to be made regarding whether to stick to our own processes or adjust to the standards of the package. For us, it was important to be informed about the standard solutions and the features of the product. delaware consultants challenged us to change our own processes to align with the standard, rather than the other way around.”
Red Cross Flanders now relies on digital workflows and a system that can be accessed from anywhere – enabling hassle-free telework and less commuting. “With the solution only in place for two months, it’s still a work in progress. In 2018-2019, we’ll focus on incorporating our MS Dynamics CRM system into the solution. We’re also investigating whether there are other parts of the organization that we can take to the cloud in addition to finance and logistics, such as HR.”