EUN, or in full European Schoolnet, is a non-profit network of the European Ministries of Education. Based in Brussels, EUN aims to innovate teaching and learning within the European Union. For this, they rely heavily on support from the European Commission. It goes without saying that clear, detailed budgets and reporting are essential in their operations. And so EUN called on Scapta for the development of a bespoke ERP tool.
The outdated ERP system, created over a decade ago, no longer fulfilled the requirements of EUN’s approximately 100 employees. Upgrading the software proved impossible, so the team started looking for a new, modern Microsoft solution. Several suppliers were screened with the help of an external IT consultant. Scapta came out as the best candidate, a specialist in the field since 1998. Under the motto ‘one size doesn’t fit all’, the IT consultants set out to find a bespoke solution for European Schoolnet.
“Subsidised projects are closely monitored by the government. So every detail of a budget is important and must be traceable. Clear financial reporting is key,” says Laurence Abrassart, EUN finance & administration manager. Every project is different and so the ERP system should be able to respond to different needs. Impossible with the old tool, developed in 2008 and based on outdated reporting requirements. Back then developments mainly took place abroad, without knowledge of Belgian legislation.
Solution & implementation
Laurence explains: “We quickly agreed to opt for a Microsoft application again. An external consultant linked us up with several suppliers, including scapta. They soon proved to be the right party – the team captured our needs and translated them in very concrete solutions. Both a project manager and a financial expert were present right from the start, even during the intake meeting. Other companies often start from a purely commercial perspective, but they presented us with a concrete and solution-oriented approach right away.”
And so it went. Scapta started working on EUN’s requirements and consultants Marco Donati and Sebastian de Vaan came back with the right answers. After extensive testing, Business Central was implemented, with Continia for general workflows and Jet Reports for detailed reporting. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, as both sides ran into some difficulties during the testing phase. That was the reason why the launch was delayed by a year, until everything was all set in January 2023. All this obviously caused some frustration, but in hindsight it was the only right choice. Result: a brand-new ERP system that meets the needs of key users and project managers.
For testing, EUN looked mainly in the direction of their financial coordinator Charlotte Culot. She also has the necessary technical know-how, which was a big plus in the overall story.
From a more accounting view in the old ERP system, the focus now shifted to a more user-friendly approach for key users. By the way, the number of user licences was also significantly reduced. Whereas previously any staff member could enter a purchase order, today this is limited to project managers and a few financial key users. Their reactions are unanimously positive: the clear overview of the project and its associated expenses, is a clear step forward.
“It was a very open and proactive collaboration. The fact that business consultant Marco Donati has a financial background, knows the business and also the specific VAT rules is a huge added value.”Charlotte Culot
In the future
It doesn’t stop here, because even now after the implementation, EUN and scapta continue to work together like a well-oiled machine on areas for improvement, additional modules and nice-to-haves. Both teams are indeed working hard to further develop the reporting section. This is not only necessary to maintain financial overview, this aspect of the tool is also essential for funding and subsidy purposes. No mean feat as it turns out, as each project has its own rules and timing. It will be feasible, though, provided everything is subjected to thorough testing. A contract module is also being developed. The aim is to issue contracts via the software using templates and also to allow them to be signed via a signing module. In this way, EUN and scapta are jointly building a future-proof ERP system.
“As a consultant, the collaboration feels natural. The project team is very skilled and is always looking for ways to improve and optimise Business Central according to their needs”Marco Donati.