Aquatera Utilities, Inc. provides the city of Grande Prairie, Alberta with water and wastewater treatment, garbage collection and recycling services. They are dedicated to ensuring their customers receive the highest quality and most affordable water, wastewater, and solid waste services.
As the first full-service utility corporation of its kind in Alberta, Aquatera relies heavily on their ERP system to delivery on their mission and ensure long-term sustainability. In partnership with Catapult, they have now upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 and laid the foundation for a wide range of business performance and productivity improvements, and a well-supported solution and team.
Aquatera had been running Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009-R2 for several years to meet their finance, inventory, payroll, and reporting requirements. With support for NAV 2009 no longer available from Microsoft, a major production system was at risk. They were also considering additional customizations and process changes, most of which would be available out-of-the-box in NAV 2015.
Aquatera was seeking a consulting partner that could assist with the upgrade and provide long-term as they harnessed the capabilities of the upgraded solution and developed business processes around them.
Catapult worked with Aquatera to define business objectives for the upgrade and map NAV capabilities to their business processes. Armed with this understanding, Catapult developed an upgrade plan and strategy that ensured a smooth transition to NAV 2015 and helped create managed and support framework for Aquatera.
In April 2015 after only 4 months, Catapult completed the upgrade and deployed NAV 2015 R2. The resulting solution included a major clean-up of old code and elimination of workarounds and shadow systems in Excel. In addition to the upgrade, Aquatera required an in-depth testing and training program in order to increase staff knowledge and improve their efficiency.
- Installation and reconfiguration of Microsoft NAV 2015 with Serenic HCM and Zetadocs upgrade
- Foundation for future integrations including future asset management system and waste water utility system
- Improved staff efficiency and self-sufficiency in system management
- Successful merge of existing relevant objects, integrations, reports and data
- Improved reporting and analytical capability in JetReports
- Bank reconciliations that used to take days, now take hours with the simplified transition from Excel to NAV 2015
"We had a smooth upgrade transition because Catapult had the ability to really understand our system and needs."
The Journey to Self-Sufficiency
As a midsize organization with limited IT staff, Aquatera valued the personal and hands-on training led by the team at Catapult. In addition to the upgrade itself, it was important to prepare and equip all employees with the skills necessary to use the system to its full capability. Catapult achieved this by incorporating training and support into several areas of the upgrade process.
This initial training session was early in the planning process to get users familiar with the new system and layout. Compared to NAV 2009, NAV 2015 has a different user interface and introduces new terminology so this part was designed to get everyone on the same page.
Pre Go-live Testing
This training session with super users was to fully prepare them for Go-Live, making sure they were comfortable and had the correct tools in place. This is where Catapult focused on processes like month end, running payroll, etc.
Post Go-live Testing
This is a phase that never really stops. Since Go Live, Catapult remains a managed services and support provider, where they continue to provide in-depth training for the team from Aquatera. As Aquatera’s sophistication with the system grows, so do their training needs.
In addition to training, Catapult implemented a thorough UAT (User Acceptance Testing) process to ensure a smooth transition to NAV 2015. Here is what Jeff Pieper, the Controller for Aquatera had to say about the process:
"After the upgrade, it was our staff who have had the real impact. The in-depth training and knowledge-transfer Catapult provided was unlike anything we’ve had before. Now, we are able to fix things ourselves and really gain the most from this system."
Foundation for the Future
Now that NAV 2015 is up and running, Aquatera is positioned to integrate essential processes into their system. These systems include a waste water utility system that will tie in the data that they are currently manually typing invoices for and asset management system for work orders.
Aquatera and Catapult have already made improvements to their purchasing and inventory processes along with automated invoicing. For example, it used to take a full day to compile a bank reconciliation because jumping in and out of Excel and NAV was a time consuming process. Now, the process is a lot simpler and only takes two hours. Investing in an upgrade and more training has saved Aquatera time and money on regular tasks so now they can continue to be a model in regional cooperation and growth.
"We used to spend a full day compiling a bank reconciliation because we were jumping in and out of Excel and NAV. Now, it only takes us 2 hours."
Building a Long Term Partnership with Catapult
From the beginning, Catapult worked with Aquatera to gain a deep understanding of their business and their people. By building a strong relationship with key stakeholders and understanding everything about their operations, Catapult is now able to act as an advisor in long term planning and support of the system. For both a partner and for a client, learning from each other makes this familiarity and knowledge exchange invaluable. Catapult is able to provide better support, where consultants are able to troubleshoot at a high level.
During the upgrade, Catapult delivered on everything Aquatera needed from a partner – fast response time, extensive end user training and efficient issue resolution. With a stable platform now in place, Aquatera and Catapult are fully prepared to take the next step towards sustainability, introducing new integrations and working towards a central system.