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Braintree and Old Mutual Africa hail their partnership as new era


Braintree and Old Mutual Africa hail their partnership as new era
19-06-24 / Chris Smit

Braintree and Old Mutual Africa hail their partnership as new era

Johannesburg - There is no doubt that the goal of a company’s Chief Financial Officer is to have clean and accurate audits across the business – a single source of truth with a strong focus on compliance. As a diversified financial services company operating in 12 countries across the continent, Old Mutual Africa embarked on an ambitious journey to transform its finance and operations (F&O) across these territories, integrate their operations, introduce efficiency savings, and ensure the reliability and integrity of financial reporting.

Central to this journey was a partnership with Braintree, tasked with implementing a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations Enterprise Resource Planning solution—a crucial component of the broader transformation strategy.

 The Role of Braintree in the Transformation Journey

Donald Van der Merwe, Programme Executive at Old Mutual Africa who led the broader financial transformation programme, says that this journey was not just about technological implementation, but a strategic endeavour to consolidate over a hundred product systems across life assurance, asset management, unit trusts, property, insurance, and banking into a single platform.

As a leading IT solutions provider of Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions, Braintree was selected for its deep expertise and understanding of the challenges at hand. Their role in this partnership was pivotal, focusing on the seamless implementation of the Microsoft D365 F&O system. This collaboration was characterised by a shared ethos and vision, with both parties bringing a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the financial services landscape.

 The strategy and objective

Helping finance to become a strategic partner within the organisation was a key objective from the outset. This was achieved by restructuring the business and delivering a unified platform with an end-to-end view of all relevant financial and non-financial data, enabling real-time insight and decision-making while still delivering core finance capabilities.

Standardisation was key to the strategy of this transformation project, with chart of accounts, processes and internal controls all needing to work on the same system and a seamless flow of data into the company’s general ledger.

Automating these processes also meant the introduction of easier and more accurate workflows. For example, with D365’s powerful automation capabilities, 99% of all Old Mutual Africa’s bank reconciliation has now become automated.

 Collaboration and buy-in

A key factor in the success of this initiative was the emphasis on collaboration and stakeholder engagement. Rather than adopting a top-down approach, the programme fostered a sense of ownership and involvement among all stakeholders, ensuring that the transformation was embraced at every level of the organisation. This collaborative approach was instrumental in achieving a smooth transition and in harnessing the full potential of the new system.

 Buy-in from the organisation itself also translates as an investment of their time, both in the design phase as well as the implementation. This cannot be done in isolation, with the finance teams and other stakeholders needing to participate from the very beginning of the process.

 With a project of this magnitude comes certain inevitable challenges, from data migration and cultural integration across different territories to different operational standards and regulatory requirements. However, these challenges were met with a spirit of collaboration and transparency. The expertise of Braintree, coupled with the leadership and strategic vision of the Old Mutual finance transformation team, ensured that each obstacle was met with clear communication and transparency and viewed as an opportunity for learning and growth.

 A long-term investment in efficiency

This journey towards an integrated financial system was driven by the need to reduce manual input, improve reporting timelines, and ensure compliance with new international reporting standards, such as IFRS 17. These challenges were not merely technical hurdles but opportunities to redefine the way this multi-tiered organisation approached its financial operations.

Any company making the decision to implement technology such as this needs to view what this investment means in the long run, the value that this flexible and scalable operating system brings to the business and the costs that the business will incur when their financial and reporting systems do not align.

“This financial transformation has positioned Old Mutual Africa for sustainable growth and agility to future challenges. The scalable nature of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations system means that this business is equipped with a robust platform that can evolve as the business grows, ensuring long-term resilience and efficiency,” Van der Merwe says. He adds that the overall project architect, Braintree’s Craig Fidler, was instrumental in the success of the implementation based on his extensive expertise and experience as a former Chief Financial Officer.

“This collaboration was not just about implementing a system; it was about incorporating innovation and strategic foresight into the very fabric of their operations. Seeing the substantial benefits of our work, from enhanced efficiency to strategic decision-making, reinforces our belief in the power of partnership and technology to navigate the complexities of the financial landscape. The success of this project was a testament to the vision and dedication of both teams,” says Fidler.

 The power of partnerships

“This implementation stands as a testament to the power of partnerships and has spearheaded a future where Old Mutual Africa can leverage real-time insights, streamline operations, and meet the dynamic needs of the market with agility and precision,” says Van der Merwe.

This is one example of how a multi-tiered enterprise can incorporate world-class technology to improve efficiency and accuracy, streamline operations, minimise risk and enhance financial management.

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