February 17, 2022

Integria Healthcare blooms after modernising its digital landscape

Source Publication: Microsoft News Center (Click to view on source website)

For more than 70 years, Integria Healthcare (Integria) has offered a range of herbal, nutritional and complementary healthcare products to customers worldwide. It is also one of the largest suppliers of natural healthcare solutions in Australia and New Zealand.

Headquartered in Queensland and with operations across the Asia-Pacific region and the United States, Integria operates a high-quality manufacturing plant and invests significantly in research.

The company knows the effectiveness of its products depends on the quality and strength of its raw materials. This requires clarity around its supply chain and manufacturing, as well as sales, customer care and finance.

Integria was faced with the challenge that many of its information systems had become outdated and inflexible, meaning its ability to innovate and meet modern business requirements was at risk.

To solve these issues, Integria transformed its digital landscape by replacing its SAP and Pronto enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and deploying Microsoft solutions including Azure Active Directory, Office 365, Dynamics 365 for Financial Operations and Customer Engagement, and Power BI.

Microsoft caught up with Jairo Garcia, Head of Information Technology at Integria, to learn more about its successful modernisation project.

The digital modernisation plan built around Microsoft’s technology stack allowed us to overcome the systemic inflexibility, skill shortage and high ownership cost of outdated legacy systems.

Jairo GarciaHead of Information Technology, Integria Healthcare

Microsoft (MS): How did you undertake this project?

Jairo Garcia (JG):  We worked with Microsoft partners including Data#3, Professional Advantage, DXC Technology and Fusion5 to deliver the expected outcomes as per the planned timeline.

We started migrating our on-premises services to Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange towards the end of 2018, and we moved our intranet to Microsoft SharePoint in 2019. By the end of that year, we had already transitioned from Skype to Microsoft Teams. Our first implementation of Dynamics 365 solutions went live six months after kicking off the ERP project in 2020, and our last deployment was live 10 months later. During those years, we also moved key folders from the traditional shared drives to OneDrive and began replacing the legacy BI platform with Power BI. It was an exciting three-year journey made possible by the dedication and commitment of Integria’s staff, the direction and guidance of our executive team, the experience of our external partners and support from Microsoft.

MS: How did you select Microsoft technologies as the platform for modernisation?

JG: Microsoft Azure is a comprehensive platform that can be scaled reliably and with high availability. Equally important in the decision-making process were cybersecurity, disaster recovery and compliance features. Also, making use of the ecosystem of applications for Microsoft opens the door for innovation. And the Azure implementation was a natural fit for my team, who are familiar with Microsoft’s technology. We transitioned to Azure with no tangible interruptions to the business.

The ERP selection process followed a rigorous approach in which key business stakeholders participated in sessions with multiple vendors. They analysed the options in the market and assessed them based on previously agreed selection criteria. These criteria included functional fit, strategic fit and experience in our industry, among other factors. After this process, our subject matter experts recommended Dynamics 365 as the ERP of choice.

MS: What impacts has the modernisation program had on Integria so far?

JG: It is too early to assess the long-term impacts of the modernisation initiative. However, we have seen immediate benefits such as reduced exposure to risks like cyber threats and system outages. Also, the constraints imposed by our outdated legacy systems have been removed, which has provided us with opportunities to improve other business processes, some of which we have already actioned.

With the implementation of Dynamics 365, we have achieved a tighter integration of several business functions that were dispersed across multiple legacy systems, and we have increased governance at the transaction level for specific business scenarios.

Corporate reporting is another area that has been positively impacted. Not only does our data now require fewer transformations by having a single system of record, but the integration of Microsoft applications such as Dynamics 365, Power BI and Office 365 also provides our staff with a seamless user experience.

MS: How did Integria execute such a complex project in the middle of a pandemic that included snap lockdowns and travel restrictions?

JG: Technology was a critical success factor. The entire modernisation initiative was designed to create building blocks to use the technology as we released it. The COVID-19 pandemic began around the time the ERP project kicked off, and the platforms we had put in place before the project played a significant role in its execution. For example, we introduced Teams as a collaboration tool in the early stages of the ERP project. We realised the benefits of having virtual meetings, a chat function, file-sharing capability and remote support while working through the pandemic. At the end of the project, our team recognised that we could not have completed it successfully without Teams.

MS: Do you plan to use artificial intelligence to support Integria in the future?

JG: Yes, that is on our technology roadmap. Microsoft is assisting us through one of its partners, Empired, to assess our current data and artificial intelligence solutions. We have already identified a few opportunities in sales and manufacturing.

After implementing a three-year digital strategy, our next three-year cycle of digital innovation will focus on providing enhanced services to our external and internal customers.

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