Veseris farmer spraying pesticides in the field

Veseris Clears Up its Tech Environment by Moving to the Modern Cloud

Velosio & Veseris worked together to bring the newly-formed company live in 18 months. Learn how Velosio’s D365 Finance team, D365 CE team, & Cloud team all played a part.

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Veseris farmer spraying pesticides in the field

Table of Content

    Client Overview

    Veseris Company Logo

    On January 1, 2020, Univar Environmental Sciences was acquired by AEA Investors, and became Veseris. With 400 employees, 10,000+ products from 800 supplier partners, and 71 ProCenter locations across North America, Veseris maintains significant reach as a specialty products distributor of pesticides and equipment, sold through their ProCenters in large quantities only to licensed professionals.

    On their home page, Veseris reminds customers of their significant investments in improving their businesses, including new brick and mortar locations; digital tools; logistics infrastructure and more.

    The Need for Rapid Transition

    When Veseris separated from their parent company, Univar, they were given eighteen (18) short months in which to transition their brand new $400+ million enterprise off the parent’s legacy IT system, which was still Cobol-based running on green-screen terminals.

    Spraying pesticide on plants

    The Veseris team knew they had limited time to consider their options and determine how they were going to run all their business processes, from sales, through supply chain, and finance. This was an opportunity to create an entirely new cloud-based platform for their company with integrated processes, improved security, and a more modern user interface. The task ahead was daunting. The new company had to take control of all networks, hardware, and security as well.

    Veseris chose the Microsoft cloud because of its breadth of integrated solutions and needed a partner who could move the entire set of business processes including all of Veseris’ email and Sharepoint into a new Veseris domain. Veseris chose Velosio and Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain, CE, and M365 migration.

    Mainframe systems are a challenge to unravel, and as discovery of detailed processes began with Velosio and Veseris, the teams found that Veseris had been dependent on lot of hand-crafted mainframe system processes. Some “padding” on the go-live date would be convenient. Typically, during a carve-out transition, there are options to extend an implementation period in order to make an implementation less abrupt. In case the new system was unable to go live with all the history from the mainframe, Veseris expected they could at least get their hands on the servers that their old parent company had in the data center. The old parent company was in the midst of their own transition to a different ERP, and the data center was on completely lock down, which removed the possibility of keeping the hardware with old data. The deadline for go-live had no flexibility, and transaction history had to be included in the move.

    Planning for Success Despite COVID Lockdowns

    Imagine planning to move an entire company’s business functionality and management of its technical assets to completely new architectures, with an 18-month deadline, only to be challenged by Covid19. Now, any options for in-person meetings during the implementation were removed. Employees who were used to using older technologies and working in-person were now going to be expected to adopt completely new business processes with new cloud technology. While Veseris was thankful that they were moving to the cloud, they had to work closely with Velosio to plan a completely remote implementation of their entire company.

    Veseris CIO Nawaz Shaik is quick to point out their biggest challenge in getting this done. “Remember that our entire deployment was performed remotely due to the pandemic. We went live with no in-person training,” explains Shaik. “Everything was done on the phone, so that was very challenging to go live on a completely new ERP system for every single department in the company.” He acknowledges that training and adoption remain his biggest challenges to this day, especially with post-covid job moves.

    Microsoft Dynamics Finance and Operations

    He then reveals his secret weapon in conquering this challenge, saying, “We do a lot of recordings in Dynamics 365 with the task recorder of how we do our business functions in 365. We make those task recordings available to the field so they can go replay and have the system show them to click here or there. From that perspective, having that task recorder function within F&O is invaluable.”

    The New Business Backbone

    Plane flying over crops

    Velosio and Veseris worked closely together to bring the newly-formed company live in 18 months. Velosio’s D365 Finance team, D365 CE team, and Cloud team were all engaged on the implementation. Velosio also provided tier-1 desktop support along with Dynamics support. The Veseris team experienced turnover and of course had to adjust to Covid19 processes that included turning their storefronts where customers pick up their products to curbside experiences.

    Canada was the first go-live, followed by a big-bang approach across the US, which included all storefronts and warehouses. At go-live, there were 21 different Veseris teams at-the-ready, all working with Velosio team members. The new D365 Finance and Supply Chain solution included ISV solutions such as EDI, OCR invoice processing, credit card processing, and foreign exchange. This was a highly-tailored solution that only the native Dynamics365 Microsoft cloud solutions can handle.

    Veseris also uses Microsoft Power BI for reporting and analytics, Microsoft Dynamics CE for customer relationship management, and PowerApps for automation. Regarding their Microsoft relationship, Nawaz Shaik explains, “We standardize on the Microsoft stack for all solutions as much as possible since everything is on Azure, and it all integrates so seamlessly. When we want to add new extensions or new applications to different parts of the business, it’s easier to do that with this cloud-based system.”

    Another important advantage he highlights, “In F&O versus other commercial cloud ERP systems, we can customize the database tables and the code to meet our business requirements. Other cloud providers do not allow you to do that, so from that perspective, being on F&O really enabled us to match the software to do exactly what the business is looking for.” Nawaz knows this well, as he used to work with one of the other ERP vendors.

    He continues, adding, “We have far more visibility now. We have tools to show what’s happening with our supply chain in real time, including the people who work in the stores in their warehouses. They have to do the physical work on site, but from a corporate shared services perspective, they are able to work remotely, and they are able to take advantage of the cloud-based system. They just need a laptop and an Internet connection to do their job. The finance folks can work anywhere without losing any functionality. There is no reduction from what they would do at the office.”

    Velosio and Veseris were able to take the entire system live on time, with historical data conversion and a tailored Microsoft system, across the US and Canada. Velosio also migrated over 500 users to M365 and continues to deliver desktop support services for Veseris. Velosio worked closely with Veseris to license their software and then, after go live, to reduce licenses to their optimal levels and is now generally supporting all of its own solutions in the Microsoft cloud.

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