Today, GEMS Education is one of the world’s largest K-12 private education providers, striving to empower students in more than 60 schools in the MENA region alone via innovative curricula and learning strategies. As part of its objectives to enhance its capabilities, GEMS Education partnered with Microsoft Technology partner, Intwo, to move from Dynamics AX2012 to Dynamics 365 and enhance productivity. As a result, users have faster and easier access from anywhere and a secure environment for financial operations, procurement processes and collaboration with vendors.
GEMS Education students receive an education focused on academic excellence, social responsibility, and global citizenship. The organization’s innovative all-in-one integrated platform, LearnOS, is highly regarded by education experts and thought leaders, and allows for regional customizations to meet the needs of students in terms of multiple curricula, languages, and learning methods.
To offer the best experience possible, GEMS Education moved its on-premise Microsoft Dynamics AX2012 to Dynamics 365 cloud, enhancing finances, procurement, and operations in its service division (facility, maintenance, and catering). Driving the change was Vishal Mehta, Head of Enterprise Systems & Data / CPO, who saw Intwo and Microsoft as reliable partners in the digital transformation. He says, “We rely on Microsoft 365 stack for our IT infrastructure, and we are one of their biggest customers with over 15,000 licenses. Intwo had the best experts that we needed to move to the cloud.”
To ensure school operations would remain uninterrupted, it was decided to initiate the move over the winter vacation. The internal ERP team at GEMS Education and Intwo put together a team of experts that migrated all assets seamlessly for 120+ entities. The team was empowered by the Microsoft FastTrack team, who gave support and advice for effective cloud deployment.
“We had a large professional services team led by an experienced project manager who understood the technical nuances of the upgrade as well as finance and procurement processes from a functional perspective,” says Anilesh Kumar, MD – MEIA, EVP – Business Applications at Intwo. “The team put in the extra hours to ensure we go live in time. We suggested appropriate workarounds to adopt standard Dynamics 365 functionality, and the team engaged with business and IT users with excellent results.”
With Dynamics 365, workflow automation became more efficient. “Because we have a strict Delegation of Authority in our ERP for finance and procurement transactions, we needed quick workflow approvals to ensure things get done,” explains Mehta. “Now, we use Power Automate and actionable Outlook messages to simplify approvals. Executives approve them with just a few clicks, without downloading or signing documents, allowing us to do more than we could with the previous solution.”
Thanks to the extensive user training by Intwo and GEMS Education’s internal team, business users were prepared for the new cloud system. “Our data upgrade approach handled opening balances, prior years’ data, and purchase orders so that users could resume work immediately as if they had never left the system,” says Mehta. “Dynamics 365 Finance also provides easy and secure access thanks to multi-factor authentication (MFA). It allows more than 600 users to work on multiple tasks simultaneously. Plus, vendors can collaborate securely from any location using the vendor collaboration feature.”
Being on the cloud also paves the way forward for GEMS Education to scale up. “Scalability on peak load is possible with cloud computing—we can increase our capacity or decrease it during off-peak load. Currently, we can process over 100,000 procurement transactions annually using Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management,” details Mehta.
Dynamics 365 Finance allows more than 600+ users to work on multiple tasks simultaneously. Plus, vendors can collaborate securely from any location using the vendor collaboration feature.
Moving forward, GEMS Education wants to make the most of its new ERP. “We are working towards enhancing the human resources management system (HRMS) with Dynamics 365 HR and an application programming interface (API) for payments automation and integration with banking systems,” says Kumar.
“But things will not stop here; we plan to build a Vendor Collaborate solution so vendors can onboard themselves, submit proposals, and send invoices,” adds Mehta.
Krishnan Gopi, Group Chief Disruption Officer, GEMS Education, foresees a bright future for the company and its collaboration with Microsoft: “Technological innovation has an incredibly promising future ahead. We are excited to see how our relationship with Microsoft will continue to grow and strengthen in the years to come as we work together to further enhance the educational experience for our students, teachers and parents.”
Technological innovation has an incredibly promising future ahead. We are excited to see how our relationship with Microsoft will continue to grow and strengthen in the years to come as we work together to further enhance the educational experience for our students, teachers and parents.
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