2022 will be a celebrative year at Imbema. The wholesaler and service provider, originally from Haarlem in The Netherlands, will exist for 75 years! While preserving the character of a family business, with for instance social involvement and a long-term vision, a transformation has been set in motion over the last couple of years. The aim is to be able to serve customers as optimal as possible in the future as well. The ambition? One strong Imbema, with one underlying system for all business units and a uniforal operation method. Imbema chose to implement Netsuite ERP software. In addition, Tableau offers insights into processes and enables improvement and forecasting. Cadran took care of the successful implementation.
“Installing gas meters is completely different from selling ten boxes of sandpaper. We supply various products, provide services in multiple different areas and also invest in research & development”, says Richard Groenendal, CFO at Imbema. “Our twenty different administrations all worked with the same system, but in a completely different way. Our goal? One group with a shared vision and uniformity in our operational approach. The customer also benefits immensely from this.”
The choice for Netsuite was made after a well-considered process. A diversity in processes and working methods were no longer desirable. “Netsuite enforces processes, and we needed exactly that”, Richard explains. Cadran was selected as implementation partner. “In addition to the substantive capabilities of a partner, it also just clicked with Cadran. The young people and the energetic mentality immediately appealed to us.”
All administrations are now brought together in Netsuite. And that is special because the COVID-19 outbreak results in many employees working from home. “We were lucky that we were able to get together during the go-live. We rented the first floor of the Van der Valk hotel in Haarlem where we came together with our Management Team and the people from Cadran to get the system up and running. I’ve seen quite a few implementations in my career and this has been one of the most successful; from day one we kept going. Quite an achievement ”, says Richard.
Just before the go-live, the BI and analytics platform Tableau was introduced. By bringing various data sources, such as Netsuite data, and in the future website data and external data sources together in Tableau, Imbema can anticipate at both a tactical and a strategic level. Richard: “Tableau is distinctive in the way in which you make data from your data warehouse accessible for data models. Although we still need Cadran here and there, with Tableau we are more and more able to link data sources ourselves. Yes, it requires understanding of data, but experience with programming is not required.” Tableau also came in handy during the go-live. Cadran made a part of the old system transparent with Tableau, to see if everything from the old system was also available in the new system. “A real clever move by the Cadran consultants, who made the most of the benefits of Tableau”, says Richard.
Imbema business analyst Philip van Vugt builds data models in Tableau Prep. Because of this everyone can ‘slice and dice’ the data with these models to get the right insights. Richard: “Of course we do this in a controlled manner. The dashboards that our business analyst creates will soon be given a quality stamp of approval, and we will also draw up data dictionaries, so that everyone knows what we mean with the turn ‘revenue’, for example. Previously only the management layers were shown certain numbers, but the data will soon belong to everyone, so we can become a data-driven organization.”
Because Imbema previously maintained twenty different administrations, the same customers were registered in multiple administrations, with different customer numbers and often registered slightly differently. Netsuite and Tableau are now also providing insight in this. This insight makes it much easier for departments to work together and answer questions together such as: which type of customer is suitable for a different sector? Where are opportunities for cross selling? Which products do we need for this?
Imbema is at the beginning of the road to a customer-oriented, data-driven organization and learns every day about working with large amounts of data. At the end of the year, it wants to get started with advanced analytics. Decisions that were previously made based on a gut feeling are now fact-based. ‘Based on data, we will soon be able to see how customers move through the customer journey and we will be able to implement improvements. But also customer segmentation and clearer product propositions are an example of possible improvements”, says Richard.
“As CFO I want to tell the story behind the numbers, but I need tools to be able to translate that. And I didn’t have such a tool. What happens to which customers? What are the risks? In that sense, I actually would have liked Tableau at the beginning of the corona era. But should more corona waves arrive now, we are even better prepared. When we have enough data in one or two years, we can even make predictions. I’m really looking forward to that”, says Richard.
The collaboration with Cadran went well. Richard: “It is a young company and that makes the collaboration easy and fun. People want to go the extra mile and are inclined to get to the bottom of things. ” The Internet of Things (IoT) is woven into a part of Imbema’s business, where they work with other platforms. Tableau helps combining this data with other data sources as well. Richard: “Netsuite and Tableau together form the foundation for becoming one customer-oriented Imbema.”