International aid arrives faster and more efficiently for Chemonics with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Company Overview

Founded in 1975, Chemonics is an international development consulting firm. In 70 countries around the globe, our network of approximately 4,000 local professionals share a simple belief: Those who have the least deserve our best. So we pursue a higher standard every day to help clients, partners, and beneficiaries achieve results. In addition to its headquarters facilities in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, the company also has project offices around the world. Where Chemonics works, development works.

Solution

HSO worked with our client to deploy Microsoft Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft SharePoint.

Results

By migrating to Dynamics 365, our client has been able to:

  • Operate as a unified, global organization
  • Gain visibility into up-to-date and accurate data
  • Setup offices faster with increased operating speed and flexibility
  • Increase employee satisfaction and deliver better customer care

International aid arrives faster and more efficiently with Microsoft Dynamics 365 + consulting360

Executive Summary

How does a global company with field offices in many of the most challenging and far-flung locales in the world establish reliable technology systems that offer collaboration, data archival, and reliable business insights across the entire company? Leaders at Chemonics wanted faster, more efficient systems so field staff could focus more on providing technical assistance to improve the lives of people in developing countries. For the speed and flexibility needed to move forward, Chemonics leaders chose Microsoft Dynamics 365 + consulting360 implemented by a highly experienced Microsoft Gold Partner, HSO.

Background

When Chemonics launched the Rwanda Family Health Project, its mandate was clear: Begin supporting hospitals and community health facilities nationwide within three weeks. Chemonics staff had to race to hire and onboard new staff, set up internal management systems with the ability to communicate and collaborate with the home office, establish 178 grant agreements, and start providing assistance. This is the typical day-in-the-life of a Chemonics employee–fast-paced, results-driven, and striving to promote meaningful change around the world to help people live healthier, more productive, and more independent lives. From its founding in 1975, Chemonics has worked in more than 150 countries to help clients, partners, and beneficiaries take on the world’s toughest challenges. Today, Chemonics reimagines global supply chains to deliver essential medicines to the right place at the right time. The company operates on the knowledge that effective governance and accountable institutions are critical to alleviating poverty and achieving sustainable results. Chemonics embraces project management as a discipline, not an afterthought, so their clients get maximum impact for minimum risk. And, they apply lessons learned across all projects globally, bridging gaps between different technical fields to ensure results-driven solutions.

When it was time for the growing employee-owned international development consulting firm to address maximizing its global operations, corporate leaders searched for technology that could realize this critical mission while meeting the specific requirements of a U.S. government contractor–all while delivering the speed and efficiency of a unified core system. To implement this system, they looked for a consulting partner with the right experience and capability with the solution, as well as the right people and processes to successfully deliver this complex project.

Aiding developing countries requires speed and flexibility

In the first few weeks after Chemonics takes on a new project, a field office must be set up many times in remote or conflict-ridden environments. Once the project’s improvements are accomplished, the offices are broken down and the company withdraws. Chemonics currently has offices in more than 70 developing countries, with each office supporting a staff as small as 3 or as large as 300.

Chemonics management systems were originally designed to accommodate places with poor communications and Internet connectivity. Project management, finance, HR, and procurement systems traditionally made workflows and information aggregation difficult and time- consuming for employees, and realtime collaboration basically impossible. Without access to current data, forecasting and resource planning was very challenging. Chemonics Executive Vice President Eric Reading says, “As the company geared up for new opportunities, we needed a new, unified core system that would better serve our organization’s business complexity and give us the speed to enable continued growth.”

Based on its communication challenges, Chemonics needed technology that didn’t require on-site servers, and it wanted software to span the entire lifecycle of projects, linking opportunity tracking, bid and proposal management, project initiation, project management, and delivery. The company also needed software that would link project flow to human capital management, onboarding, budgeting, and billing for easier business insights and better accuracy. In addition, Chemonics wanted a single platform that made it easier for team members to be deployed across different roles and field offices. Finally, that system had to meet stringent compliance requirements around cost allocations, client billings, and global financials as well as recording and archiving documentation within federal contracting compliance standards so audits were never a concern. “Over time, we realized we needed a single integrated solution that would allow us to operate as a unified, global organization,” says Rob Teitelbaum, Controller at Chemonics.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the cloud offers business flexibility

An RFP process revealed that there was only one solution that met all these requirements: Microsoft Dynamics 365 + consulting360. The solution made scaling easier, offered an advanced level of integration across functions, provided easy access to data from anywhere across the globe, and did all this while fulfilling the specific data-management requirements of a U.S. government contractor. Microsoft engaged leading international Dynamics 365 consultancy, HSO, to lead the implementation project based on their strong experience delivering global Dynamics 365 solutions.

This implementation will enable the company to finally operate as a global company rather than as a collection of semi-autonomous offices. “In the past, our technology was site-specific because that was the only option,” says Teitelbaum.

Reading agrees, saying, “Technology has evolved to fit our business case. It was extremely difficult to deploy in an on-premises format in the 70 developing countries where we work, and we didn’t have the connectivity we needed for real-time collaboration with our headquarters offices. The cloud technology and the Internet connectivity came together at the same time to make this solution possible.”

Integrated processes lead to better visibility into the business

Data will be accessibly stored and archived accurately in real time as projects move along, making business analysis faster and more accurate than ever before. Teitelbaum says, “Up-to-date and accurate data will be easily accessible for visibility into the business at any time, because records will be accessible even after a project office is closed.” With access to data from all field offices within Power BI, forecasting and business planning reports can be automated, allowing Chemonics to plan in real time to deploy the resources necessary to make projects like Rwanda Family Health successful from the get-go.

With Dynamics 365 + consulting360, project flow will be much less manual. Work plans developed for a proposal easily turn into projects that can connect to HR, procurement, and billing systems all without re-inputting information into different systems. And it’s all in the cloud. Contacts are shared globally across the company with Microsoft Dynamics 365, and collaborative project flow is simplified with Microsoft SharePoint.

Faster office setup offers operating speed and flexibility

Dynamics 365 + consulting360 can be configured for offices of varying sizes and can function in online and offline situations. Additionally, it will allow offices to be set up and scaled down easily with each contract. Says Reading, “Rather than having to set up business processes, install servers, and configure software, teams will deploy new instances of our cloud-based systems instantly. And the flexibility in licensing offers access to all modules. For instance, in a three-person office, we might have someone working in the HR system and a procurement system, where in a larger office those might be managed totally separately. And if we have a surge in work, we can allocate more people to different tasks without the administrative task of buying additional licenses.” And since the Microsoft Office 365 interface was already familiar to employees, access to all tools within a single, integrated user interface makes work faster and easier.

Increased employee satisfaction and better customer care

Teitelbaum says, “Because Dynamics 365 is a global solution that fosters increased collaboration and reduces administrative work, we’re going to better meet the needs of our employees, and in turn we’ll deliver better service to customers.”

Reading agrees, saying, “Dynamics will increase staff satisfaction, allowing employees to focus more on the work they’re passionate about, and in the end we’ll provide the ultimate outcome—helping people live healthier, more productive, and more independent lives.”

Because Chemonics is an employee-owned company, employee satisfaction with the new tools is paramount. Reading and Teitelbaum are working closely with Microsoft Customer Success Manager Mark Schubert to build change management into the process with dedicated stakeholders and resources to ensure successful adoption. Says Reading, “In our business, success metrics are as dependent on speed, effectiveness, and sound recordkeeping as they are on pure cost savings, so we’ve had to develop new KPI options. Mark has helped us do that, and our partnership with Microsoft has helped us make progress.”

Chemonics is in mid-implementation, working closely with partner HSO. Says Reading, “HSO has worked with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for many years, understands the opportunities and pitfalls of ERP implementations, and helped us see the best way to get through our implementation. We are grateful for their experience, and are benefitting from it.” Adds Teitelbaum, “During our evaluation, HSO was willing to travel with us to Haiti and the Dominican Republic to see firsthand the challenges that our field offices face, and we appreciated that commitment.” Chemonics anticipates rolling out the Microsoft solution to their field offices later this year, and then implementing project management, data integration, and records management across the entire company in 2018.

Michael D’Alesio is VP, Customer Care at HSO ProServ | Michael has served in many roles during his tenure in the Microsoft Partner Channel for the past 25-years.  Michael currently is responsible for supporting, enabling and strategically leading the HSO ProServ Team responsible for HSO ProServ D365 installed based customers to accept, adopt the Microsoft platforms to ensure they attain business value and user adoption.

Gary Mills serves as Senior Vice President of Finance, Planning & Analysis for HSO | ProServ. Gary’s diverse industry background brings a unique perspective to the company, with more than 30 years in corporate finance, banking and commercial real estate.

In his role as CFO of HSO | ProServ, Brian Lounds leverages deep experience implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to drive excellence into the organization’s financial and practice management practices. Having worked with Dynamics solutions since 1998, he has a strong understanding of technology solutions and their application
to business initiatives.

Whit McIsaac is CEO of HSO | ProServ and brings over 20 years of leadership experience in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem to drive the group’s overall business strategy. Whit was Co-founder and CEO of aec360 and legal360 prior to merging these practices into sa.global, where he served as CEO of the Americas prior to launching HSO | ProServ.

Andy Yeomans brings nearly 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics sales and marketing experience to lead the HSO | ProServ sales organization. Under Andy’s leadership, the organization has shown strong growth and has consistently been recognized by Microsoft as a top performing partner, winning multiple Microsoft Inner Circle and Partner of the Year awards.

Jan Dahl Sorensen’s deep experience with Microsoft Dynamics gives him a unique foundation to guide the HSO | ProServ client success team. As part of the original development team under Damgaard Data, Jan has been working with the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions since 1995.

Joe Stuckey is EVP and Director of CRM Product Development for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM product development efforts across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Joe leverages the power of Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform technologies to design and develop purpose-built industry solutions.

Paramesh Rajan is VP, Technology at HSO | ProServ. Paramesh has served in many Microsoft Dynamics project and program management roles over the past 20 years, and currently drives the development of the organization’s vertical ERP and HR solutions and outsourced development services.

A highly respected Microsoft Dynamics veteran, Jen Wisemore serves as CAO for HSO | ProServ. Jen was instrumental in the launch of sa.global’s US subsidiary in 2007 and has served in a wide variety of roles within Microsoft Dynamics consultancies across sales, pre-sales, program management, and leadership capacities.

John Aschenbrener is Director of Delivery Services for HSO | ProServ. John brings over 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics project and program management, consulting, and architect experience to his current role where he is responsible for driving PMO standards, methodology, and overall project delivery.

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In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Sean Skiver brings nearly 25 years of broad Microsoft Dynamics experience to provide strategic leadership around product development and client delivery services across the organization’s solutions and industry segments.

Amy Spencer leads the team that is responsible for go-to-market strategies, messaging, and demand generation in the US.

Amy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from The College of New Jersey and has 25+ years of experience in marketing management for technology and professional services companies.

As Vice President of Human Resources for HSO, Kristen Ramerini is responsible for initiatives including recruitment, onboarding, professional development/career progression, performance management, culture, and employee retention. Prior to her position with HSO, she worked in human resources and recruiting for Seviroli Foods on Long Island and CCN, Inc. in New York City. She holds an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University and is PHR certified.

Darren Gooding is VP of Delivery for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM delivery across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Darren applies his 25 years of experience and HSO’s industry focused intellectual property to successfully deliver large-scale, global engagements that ensure customer success.