Empired upgrades Brisbane Catholic Education to Dynamics 365 Finance across 176 schools

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Empired upgrades Brisbane Catholic Education to Dynamics 365 Finance across 176 schools

Capgemini-owned Empired has upgraded Brisbane Catholic Education to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance across 146 schools in South East Queensland and 30 schools in the Diocese of Cairns.

The Perth-headquartered IT services provider implemented the new system in an eight-month window, starting from 2021 and making it live in early 2022. 

Brisbane Catholic Education had been using Microsoft Dynamics for its on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for finance and operations since 2008. The organisation said the existing Dynamics AX 2012 setup had been too difficult to customise, maintain and upgrade.

“There was no consistency,” said Brisbane Catholic Education’s manager of business information services Kerry Edwards-Williams. “Your experience with that system in one school could be very different from your experience in another school.” 

“We’ve got very tiny schools and outback schools that don’t have many students, right up to large schools that have 150 staff and are very complex, almost running as businesses on their own.”

Edwards-Williams said the organisation went for a major reimplementation project instead of migrating its on-premise system straight to the cloud, .

“We went right back to the bones of what the system could do and how we could configure it to meet all the needs of Brisbane Catholic Education,” she said.

“We required proper fiscal oversight on a per-school basis. It meant that we had to set up individual instances of Dynamics 365 for every single one of our schools, as well as for us as an office.”

Edwards-Williams said Empired and the organisation’s IT team also deployed Microsoft Teams, which enabled the organisation to work in separate locations and minimise the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. 

“The team at Empired are high-quality people. They were a perfect cultural fit for us and were crucial to helping our team achieve what they did.”

Azure DevOps was also deployed, Edwards-Williams said. 

“DevOps was a fantastic tool for transparency across everything happening on that project – when things were happening and who was responsible.”

With the upgrade, Brisbane Catholic Education now has standardised processes across each school, as well as improved data quality, which was now being fed into Microsoft PowerBI. 

“That quality and consistency is becoming evident in our reporting and insights... previously all schools were doing different things, requiring a lot of manual manipulation by our finance team to try and pull reporting in,” Edwards-Williams said. 

The upgrade also meant the on-premise system was no longer under threat from natural disasters such as floods and bushfires.

Brisbane Catholic Education portfolio manager Lisa Camus said the upgrade also increased employee productivity by giving staff a more flexible and secure work environment.

“Knowing that we’ve got a whole gamut of things to keep our system secure and that the onus isn’t just on our organisation is a real benefit.”

“When we think about the diversity of our workplace now, and when we’ve had COVID and had to go into lockdown, the ability for people to use their own devices and how we manage that is easier with a cloud-based product and a secure product.”

Global systems integrator Capgemini acquired Empired for $233 million in July last year.

Empired also won a contract to deliver Dynamics 365 and several Microsoft cloud solutions in February this year with WA Water Corporation for $59 million.

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