NOSA is South Africa’s leading provider of occupational health, safety and environmental training solutions. With 70 years of industry experience, NOSA offers unmatched expertise in legislation and regulatory compliance. However, when NOSA first approached Enterprisecloud following their acquisition by The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG), they were anything but “leading” in their customer service.
NOSAs business applications were old, unstable, and unable to support the business’ operations let alone Carlyle’s growth ambitions for taking NOSA digital and turning them into a multi-geo, world leading OHS training provider. NOSA needed new business systems, and they needed to digitise – almost every business process was manual and paper-based, causing tremendous pain for their customers on the ground. As an example, training participants would wait for hours to be registered into training courses because the system was so unstable that it took over 15 minutes to simply check-in each training participant. Back office processes were disconnected and manual, causing learners to have to pay cash in advance of training. Companies would send their employees for training, only to have to wait weeks for the results and certificates to be printed and mailed to them. Costs inside of NOSA were skyrocketing, yet revenue wasn’t growing. Courses were under-attended, and trainers and facilitators were under-utilised, leaking profits out of the business. Customers wanted easier engagement and online offerings, and NOSA had no answers.
NOSA engaging with a Six-Sigma black belt to streamline their processes, and then went about evaluating several vendors (including Oracle, Salesforce, Sage and Microsoft) and solution partners to find a fit. They eventually chose Enterprisecloud because:
- We proposed a holistic digital vision and roadmap based on Microsoft technology, and centred on providing excellent customer service and engagement,
- We provided a clear path to success using our Truenorth implementation methodology, and
- We provided a compelling business case for solution implementation, with clear
Enterprisecloud painted a clear picture of digital transformation for NOSA leveraging Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics 365. We bravely proposed an end-to-end replacement of their business applications, from core operations management to back-end financials, to front-end customer engagement and service, and with the Common Data Model, and the power of Azure and Office 365 at the centre. In what is truly a unique and one-of-a-kind solution for South Africa, and potentially on a Global Scale, we proposed the implementation of:
- Dynamics 365 for Finance and Supply Chain – for their core financials and back-office for their 21 legal entities,
- Dynamics 365 for Talent – to transform their workforce for the digital future,
- Dynamics 365 for Sales – to provide robust sales management and unified quoting,
- Dynamics 365 for Marketing – to provide marketing automation,
- Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, leveraging Universal Resource Scheduling – to provide their central training operations management system (leveraging over 50 custom entities, 200 business rules and 23 plugins),
- Power BI – for their enterprise reporting and dashboards,
- Power Automate – for workflow orchestration and automation (over 240 automations),
- Power Apps – for unique use-cases like their staff onboarding process, claims management process, staff training, and other HR core processes
- Custom Client and Student Portals – using Blazor, C#, ASP.net and Azure
- Azure Logic Apps and Event Grid – for full, live integration between these systems and to support custom entities not stored in the CDS (Common Data Service)
- Azure Blob Storage – to store student certificates and templates
- Azure API Manager – to host APIs for the Student and Company portals
- Azure Key Vault – to manage security key housing
- Azure Application Insights – to provide monitoring and analysis
- Azure Web Jobs – for automated processing of bookings and schedules
- Azure SQL – to house reporting data exported from Dynamics 365 and for consumption by Power BI
The solution incorporates hundreds of complex business rules and processes, and has enabled the full digitisation of their business processes from first client contact through to ongoing training provision. NOSA’s 400+ staff are now empowered to train over 90,000 students a year through their 26 branch locations all handled through seamless digital business processes. Every staff member in the organization has a Dynamics license, and uses the system every day to run and operate their business.
Customers and students are able to login online and book and manage training, transact and pay digitally, and collect their certificates – forging their careers as Occupational Health and Safety practitioners and ensuring a safer South Africa.
Leveraging this amazing platform, NOSA are now positioned to provide eLearning, and are converting many of their course offerings over to digital content. They are able to provide this digital training through the same Dynamics-centred platform.
The solution we implemented leverages all the very latest cloud and Dynamics technologies on offer and following Microsoft best practices for implementation. We believe that this depth and breadth of implementation is truly unique to South Africa, and possibly even on a global scale. All the modules have been seamlessly integrated to run the following core processes:
- Customer Integration
- Inventory and pricelist integration
- Quote to order to cash process integration
- Talent integration to F&O and to CE to provide internal training management and skills/proficiency growth, which in turn contributes to the skills and proficiency model used in the scheduling of training and facilitation resources in URS
- Bank to “wallet” integration – allowing students and corporate customers to make deposits and payments into a wallet – to be used online through the portal
- Scheduling engine to the Office graph – to put calendar entries into the trainer and facilitators’ diaries, and to ensure they are not double-scheduled when entering entries from Outlook
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this story, was our ability to deliver on this scale of implementation in the timeframe that we did it. The delivery timeframe looked like this:
- We began the implementation in November 2018;
- By December, we had rolled out a new Sales and Quoting solution;
- By January, we were live with Finance and Operations in their main financial company;
- By end of February, we were live with the remaining 20 legal entities;
- We began their core operational system in early January 2019, and were live in July 2019;
- We began their Talent implementation in late April, and went live in August 2019.
The depth and breadth of the core solution was delivered in a 10 month process from start to end, and since then we have continued to provide ongoing improvements and enhancements to the solution to date, and have done at least 10 functional improvements, including taking on board additional business units with new capabilities.
Within 3 months of going live with the core operational management system (built on Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, and powered by Universal Resource Scheduling), NOSA had achieved operational efficiencies with Dynamics that brought a 500% Return on Investment. That translated to Multi-Millions of Rands ($1m+) in real net Return on Investment on the bottom line. While the client has kept the detailed ROI investigation private, they have shared the following operational efficiencies and ROI data, and the resulting benefits with us:
- Digitisation of the Training Certificates has saved them hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Rands in direct cost to date;
- Centralisation of their sales history and operational data allowed them to run a highly targeted cross-sell email-marketing campaign on Black Friday in November last year that brought in over R1.6m in direct new sales;
- Operational efficiency and customer satisfaction – we have turned their 15+ minute per individual check-in process down to mere seconds, driving high levels of customer engagement and satisfaction at the training centres;
- Better customer experience: savings wallets for students where money can now be deposited at any bank, where before money was only payable at the branches.
- Saving time: Administrators can book courses with the right knowledge of the course and trainer capacity, not having to check and phone the candidate back later.
- Automated Cross-sell and upsell capabilities: Campaign marketing is available within the portal, driving targeted banners to customers and students in the portal;
- Greater security: Automatically assigned auditing rights to the right people as well as select admin for highly secured information.
- Maximising and optimising profitability: finally, we have implemented business rules that monitor course attendance and ensure minimum thresholds are reached to ensure courses run profitably, and the system automatically cancels the training and reschedules students if profitability targets are not met.
Other Business Problems that were solved:
- Simplification of the quoting solution, and enabling sales mobility
- Streamlining the sales operations process, and moving away from expensive external sales model to a hybrid Account Management (for high revenue, high profit customers), and Direct Sales (for volume, low revenue customers) sales model.
- Streamlined discount approval process: Using Power Automate, managers are now able to approve quote discounts on their mobile, while adhering to minimum margin levels.
- Pro-forma invoice generation – for speeding up the cash collection process, thus driving increased cash-flows.
- Booking cycle time has decreased, freeing up time for client service activities.
- Certificate cycle time (the time from course completion through moderation and certificate printing) is now at average of 9 days, representing a decrease of 12 days per cycle.
- Disclaimers have been implemented, driving tighter compliance and regulation controls.
- Assessment and moderation accountability have been established associated with an SLA to track time until stage has been completed per assessor and moderator.
- Online portals allow customers and students to self-manage their training and learning experiences, driving cross-sell, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
Overall, the business is more profitable, more streamlined, and delivers exceptional customer service.
Importantly, the business is now delivering on their regional expansion strategy – providing digital / online-based learning to customers in new markets and new territories. The Carlyle Group saw this as a must-have in their investment criteria, and NOSA’s runway for the future is now bright indeed.
The solution is now being implemented in their testing business – which is separate from their training business – where they are driving the important processing of tests to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Driving Customer Satisfaction at Enterprisecloud:
Enterprisecloud’s delivery to clients is driven through our client-centric Truenorth implementation process. Our True-North is our clients’ success. We put the targeted Return on Investment that the client aims to achieve at the centre of everything we do. We structure project and change management around these future-facing client objectives, and we seek a highly collaborative, yet structured approach to delivery. A true “wagile” combination of the best of Waterfall-based governance, with agile-based iterative delivery.
Our clients’ satisfaction is top of mind, and we focus on building strong relationships with our clients from the beginning of our engagements by being as open and transparent as possible, and involving them in our implementations deeply – as core resources. This is critical in the way we work, because the closer we are to our clients, the closer the project is to the final idea that they have in mind. Our clients often send us emails of praise to highlight particularly well-done tasks or services provided by our teams.
Our marketing team also does a check-in at certain points using of projects using Microsoft Forms to get valuable feedback that they might not directly want to discuss with the team. They ask questions like:
- Have you noticed any impact since initial implementation?
- What has worked?
- What problems have been solved?
- What can be improved upon?
- Is there any team member or project team that stood out to you?
This feedback is then circled back to the team working with the client.
Testimonial from NOSA:
One such testimonial was received by NOSA – from Madelein Stander – Business Optimisation Manager, and chief Product Owner at NOSA:
“EC has proven to be a valuable partner during the first transformation stages. NOSA consider EC as a trusted partner who will go above and beyond to assist their clients to achieve their goals. The entire team at EC has been extremely professional and illustrated core values of integrity and respect during the engagement. Overall EC staff has been found extremely competent and a joy to work with.”
Through our engagement with NOSA, as well as previous engagements with the Nelson Mandela University, and others, Enterprisecloud is now carving a niche for itself in the Education sector. We have added Curro as a key client, and are driving massive adoption and usage of Dynamics and digital transformation into their 160+ schools nationwide. We are in talks with several other Universities and Academic Institutions, and continue to work closely with the Microsoft Edu team in South Africa to drive demand generation and new business development.