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Empired brought in to upgrade ERP for Brisbane Catholic Education

Empired brought in to upgrade ERP for Brisbane Catholic Education

Worked alongside Microsoft’s FastTrack advisory service.

Leigh Williams (Brisbane Catholic Education)

Leigh Williams (Brisbane Catholic Education)

Credit: Brisbane Catholic Education

Empired has been brought in to help Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) upgrade its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system across 177 entities.

BCE offers services, programs and resources to 146 schools in South East Queensland and roughly 30 schools in the Diocese of Cairns.

The education group decided in 2021 to upgrade from Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 Finance, opting to go for a reimplementation project.

Empired and Microsoft’s FastTrack advisory service helped to deploy the new finance and operations systems for BCE over an eight-month time period.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the support that FastTrack provided as we carried out this project,” said Kerry Edwards-Williams, BCE’s manager of business information services.

“We were able to easily tap in and get advice on moving forward and getting rid of blockers along the way.

“[Plus] 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.”

The decision to update its Dynamics usage came as its legacy system was heavily customised, which made maintenance and upgrading difficult, and was experiencing data inconsistencies and dysfunctional processes.

“There was no consistency,” Edwards-Williams said. “Your experience with that system in one school could be very different from your experience in another school.”

Other Microsoft technologies were used during the deployment, such as Teams and Azure DevOps.

With the new system in place, Edwards-Williams said business practices and processes have been tidied up, with its user-friendliness being picked up on by employees.

Indeed, the solution allows BCE to standardise processes across each school, which has generated a “significant” improvement in data quality and in turn is sent to Microsoft Power BI.

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

In addition, BCE is already eyeing adding new functionality into the system, including purchase orders and customer relationship management.

“We have that core foundation now where we know what the process is, which is going to make it so much easier to scale out,” added Leigh Williams, BCE’s CIO and head of information technology services.

“That core foundation is going to pay dividends not just now, but for all the future work that we now want to engage in over the next few years.”

This is not the first time Empired has worked with educational institutions on projects, with it working alongside Expose Data on an analytics upgrade for Flinders University in 2020, which utilised Azure Data Factory, Databricks and Power BI.

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