After a steady pace of M&A transactions, ANT Trust & Corporate Services (“ANT”), SGG Group’s wholly owned subsidiary and one of the world’s leading providers of corporate and asset-administration services, turned to Mendix’s application platform as its foundation for a new customized ERP/CRM system.
As one of the world’s leading providers of corporate services and asset-administration services, ANT provides a range of elite, highly specialized management, administrative, and accounting services for worldwide companies and private clients seeking tax-efficient structures and operations. That means ANT must operate with an extraordinary emphasis on client service, confidentiality, and regulatory compliance. After a series of successful acquisitions, the company found that its IT infrastructure – particularly for its CRM and operational systems – was disconnected and therefore unable to adapt to the changing needs of the business.
To lay the foundation for future growth, ANT recognized that it needed an entirely new group-wide ERP/CRM system that integrates with the finance and compliance sectors of the business. According to Adrie Beerepoot, group CFO, growth was driving the need for change. “We acquired a number of independent companies and were assembling a large, international organization – growing from just 30 people to more than 250,” he said. “We had no uniformity in our processes and systems. Different groups and teams used different applications, so we needed to bring them together into one unified, automated system.”
ANT considered a range of commercial off-the-shelf alternatives from a variety of vendors, but ultimately decided against a pre-packaged software solution. “The commercial packages do offer an impressive amount of functionality,” said Jeroen van Deutekom, program manager and executive consultant for ANT. “But our needs were very specific and distinct. We knew we’d need an extensive amount of customization and flexibility – more than simply choosing from pre-defined parameters. Commercial solutions didn’t have the flexibility we needed, and we felt the added expense of adapting those packages would drive our costs up. Plus, we weren’t entirely convinced those solutions would easily integrate with our other applications and data sources. There was too much risk and too much cost.”
Instead, ANT built its own ERP/CRM system using Mendix’s application platform and following the SCRUM methodology. “We wanted to create a system that works the way we do,” said Beerepoot. “With so many countries constantly changing their compliance regulations, we needed the utmost flexibility because we need to make changes on a near-constant basis. That’s what we get with Mendix. It perfectly matches our environment and business. Each and every day, we’re reaping the fruits of our labor.”
Over the course of 12 months, a team of two Mendix developers and, subsequently, a consulting team, created a series of functional models using a classic “Develop, Test, Accept, Production” process. The system integrates with ANT’s Qics and Exact applications as well as Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory to provide a single source of information. The initial deployment took place in Hong Kong, Curacao, and Aruba. New updates are deployed every few weeks.
“We were able to create a system that reflects our processes and strategies,” Beerepoot said. “We developed the features and functionality that we needed along with the integration and security that are essential. Our Mendix app gives us the data integrity, process quality, and auditability we require. If we’d chosen another system, we’d have spent more time, energy, and money. With Mendix, we can quickly adjust and scale up. Today, we have 250 people working with the application as we continue our rollout.”
Since its start in 1896, ANT Trust & Corporate Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of SGG Holdings S.A. (“SGG”), has become the No. 1 specialist in asset administration services for major listed companies such as Unilever and ING. Its expertise helps businesses efficiently manage their international activities and corporate structures, such as operations, investing, and financial transactions. As a result, ANT helps companies benefit from the Dutch financial and corporate advantages that provide greater legal/financial protection and stronger ROI. In 2012, SGG acquired 100 percent of the shares in ANT. SGG, founded in Luxembourg, is an independent financial and administrative services provider.