“On time, on budget and without known bugs”

Clear strategy, consistent project management and priority given to quality assurance: These were some of the factors that contributed to the success of Granngården’s biggest project ever: A new ERP system based on Microsoft® Dynamics® AX 2012 R3, with over 30 integrations.

Founded in 1880, Granngården is one of Sweden’s oldest retail chains. Through continuous development it has become both a competitive supplier of gardening products and an attractive employer. In 2013 the company decided to carry out a major project to remain a market leader in the future, choosing to replace Movex with a new ERP system based on Microsoft Dynamics AX.

A system adapted to retail

Granngården wanted a system that was adapted to retail, not manufacturing. The company also wanted to simplify workflows and processes while offering its employees a modern, simple and attractive system for their work. Granngården had very distinct goals: Create more time to interact with the customer, make purchasing more efficient, and improve logistics, administration and product sourcing, while freeing up capital and supporting development of a future omnichannel strategy. The company also had a very clear picture of the path to achieving these goals.

“The key was a well-structured project model in which quality assurance was given top priority. We decided very early that we would not compromise on quality, and that approach paid off. After the three-year project, we went live – on time, on budget and with only a handful of known issues. To us, that’s the definition of world class.”

Dag Widell, CIO of Granngården.

Extremely complex systems

Among the many challenges facing the project was the sheer complexity of the system. The new ERP solution hade Microsoft Dynamics AX as its foundation, complemented by a number of related systems for logistics, e-retail, business intelligence, administration, point-of-sale and other areas. All in all the solution required more than 30 different integrations for functions such as sales transactions, invoice scanning, forecasting, report generation and logistics flows. The system needed to handle the numerous flows of business-critical that are essential to efficient retail operations. This complexity placed very challenging requirements on the project, which was limited to three years for completion on a fixed budget. Approximately 15 full-time internal resources and about 40 external consultants contributed varying amounts of time during this three-year period.

Thorough preparation is an investment

The project began with a six-month prestudy, which included internal workshops carried out to map both current processes and those that Granngården wanted in its new ERP system. These were in turn compared with leading ERP systems available on the market. Two finalist systems were selected for demos, and the company settled on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. The prestudy also involved interviews with about 10 Nordic IT managers in order to gather lessons learned. Another six months were devoted to thorough development of an agreement with the system supplier.

Granngården also took care to ensure that the project was well-established throughout the entire organization, that information was sufficient and that the project was properly staffed with resources. In this context, the choice of external project and test management resources was crucial. Arkatay Consulting and System Verification fulfilled Granngården’s tough requirements and took on the assignments.



“The time that we invested in laying the groundwork – creating the agreement, setting requirements and planning the project – has paid off many times over.”

Maria Sonesson, CFO of Granngården.

Quality assurance – one of the keys to success

System Verification had the overall assignment of setting up, managing and monitoring the entire test process. The work included everything from establishing requirements on the supplier to acceptance testing of the delivery. Nga Huynh, one of System Verification’s most experienced Test Managers, determined the structure and led the work of planning, coordination, analysis and reporting. The test team comprised 13 persons, plus an additional six who were brought in as needed – all taking a very proactive approach, focusing on improvements in development and testing processes, risk analysis and decision support.

“The key to success was reliable statistics. The data we put on the table was based on exhaustive review of requirements and test environments, as well as careful selection of test cases. We needed to use only about 60 percent of the 1,500 existing test cases, because we knew that they were optimal.”

Nga Huynh, Test Manager at System Verification.

The question that was ever-present for the test organization was “what meets our requirements?” Regardless of the project phase, every test run was carefully analysed to prioritize issues correctly and determine appropriate actions to take. Quarterly reviews were held with management.

Granngården is now convinced of the value of testing and quality assurance, and regards documentation as an investment – when it has a clearly understood purpose.

“It is essential to take test management seriously and give this role the importance it deserves and needs in order to take action. We can’t be afraid to run the project according to the facts that we have before us. System Verification’s systematic working methods were both very impressive and very valuable for us.”

Dag Widell, CIO of Granngården.

Successful “Big Bang” launch

Granngården decided to launch the new ERP system in one go instead of releasing one module at a time. The reason was simple.

“We had no doubt that it would work. The solution was 100 percent quality assured, every employee was well informed and everyone was thoroughly trained. All that remained was to launch.”

Dag Widell, CIO of Granngården.

Erik Björhäll
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Erik Björhäll
Group CEO and CEO Sweden
+46 73 661 28 06
Customer case Granngården
Customer case Granngården Download pdf (2.7 MB)