Popdock Bridges the Gap for Pittsburgh Brewing’s ERP Transition
Pittsburgh Brewing Company’s Background
Pittsburgh Brewing Company (PBCo.) is a regional Pennsylvania brewer with a successful 160-year history and a flavorful future.
Since joining PBCo. 21 years ago, CFO Bob Pyle has witnessed several ownership and facility changes. In 2017 when a new owner came on the scene, the company changed direction to become a full-production facility brewery.
Within the walls of their facility, PBCo. manages multiple brands. With staples ranging from premium-level beers such as Iron City and I.C. Light, to popular brands like Old German, PBCo. makes a full range of beers for consumers to choose from. They are continually adding new brands as well, like their I.C. Light Mango which has been a home run for the company, and their many Block House Brewing lagers and ales.
Since moving into the full production side of the business, they plan on continuing to produce new innovations for beer lovers across the United States.
There really isn’t an alternative solution that does what Popdock does. Customers really want the product and love it.Alison Bainbridge, Project Manager at Cargas
Problems and Challenges
As their business expanded and their demands and needs grew, Pittsburgh Brewing Company knew they needed to migrate from Dynamics GP to Business Central because of GP’s inevitable end and because Business Central offered more capabilities. However, they still needed easy and affordable access to their old GP historical data. They no longer wanted to maintain their old GP server or pay for its license. Additionally, they needed easier multi-company data access and reporting.
The Solution – Popdock
After more than two years of planning and preparation, PBCo. cut old ties and started on their own last July as a full production facility brewery. They soon began expanding their product line and distributing to 18 states. This required a more robust and modern ERP to match ever-growing production demands.
In the past, PBCo. used Dynamics GP as their ERP software. However, they knew GP would inevitably end, and as they expanded, their needs changed and grew.
After deciding they would migrate to Business Central, PBCo. and their implementation partner Cargas needed a plan that would allow them access to their GP historical data and the ability to report on it in their new system. Certain products, like Iron City and I.C. Light, have many years of historical data behind them that PBCo. would need to access.
Enter the missing puzzle piece in this migration: Popdock, the virtual migration solution.
“With GP going away and us not wanting to keep a license with both GP and BC, that’s when our third-party implementation team at Cargas originally reached out to Popdock as our solution for historical data,” Pyle said. “We had historical data from our GP software for all of our multiple companies. I’m still learning and getting better at using Popdock, but it’s user-friendly when you understand what you’re trying to do.”
Historical Data in New ERP
As an eOne partner, Cargas has helped multiple companies migrate from GP to BC and has utilized the aid of Popdock to solve these historical data accessibility issues. Senior systems engineer Mike Bodine is familiar with this process and solution.
“We don’t want to migrate 20 years of data,” Bodine said. “We want data that is newer, that they will be referencing more often, and we want to put that in their new ERP. After that, we want to identify the information they still need to look up and bring that into Popdock to make it accessible from within the system.”
Using Popdock’s data migration and virtual integration features, Cargas is able to solve multiple problems for PBCo., as well as their other customers.
“When we are migrating people from GP, which we’re trying to do in droves, Popdock allows us to move less data into the new system,” said Bodine. “It really reduces our workload of things that have to be actionable within the new data structure, without them losing the ability to inquire on the history in a way that they’re familiar with.”
Using an Azure Data Lake
While Popdock can access historical data from on-premise and cloud-based servers, most companies opt to migrate their data to an Azure Data Lake and shut off their old SQL servers after the migration.
There are also additional performance benefits to this convenience. As a web application, Popdock can query a data lake faster than it can query an on-prem server. There are noticeable improvements when accessing lists with tens of thousands of records.
Protected by the security that Microsoft’s Azure provides, once PBCo.’s GP data was moved to a data lake, they were able to retire their old GP server. Businesses can greatly reduce costs when switching from their GP server to a data lake because paying for a data lake is a fraction of the cost of maintaining a GP server.
“There really isn’t an alternative solution that does what Popdock does,” said Alison Bainbridge, the project manager at Cargas. “Customers really want the product and love it. Bob was able to get rid of whatever server was hosting his GP data. He was able to get rid of that expense because all of the data is in the data lake and can be accessed with Popdock’s connectors, and it can all be rendered wherever it needs to be.”
Your Business Keeps Rolling
By introducing Popdock prior to the migration, PBCo. was able to continue accessing their GP data via the Popdock web app during the migration to Business Central.
Cargas and eOne know that information is the lifeblood of any business, and being able to efficiently access the data they need makes everyone successful. Dynamics GP users grow attached to their SmartLists over the years, and by using Popdock, PBCo. was able to consume data in a familiar way after they were fully migrated to Business Central.
“We don’t have any alternative solution that offers the same things as Popdock, like with its SmartList functionality,” said Bainbridge. “I think what we’re finding, first and foremost, is that the GP users love their SmartLists, especially the ones that have been on there 20-plus years. It’s what they know. When they hear they can still have that in Business Central, which is what we’re trying to get all our customers to transition over to, it’s very exciting for them and it’s a very easy win.”
Because eOne understands data structure in multiple platforms, reporting in ERP platforms like GP and BC is very effective. If you put data into a system, you can get it back out with Popdock. There are also dozens of lists made up of the data that customers find valuable, reducing the time it takes to expose the information that users need.
“It’s pretty simple to go out and grab that information,” said Pyle.
Unrestricted access to historical data and multi-company reporting were high priorities for Bob, and Cargas knew Popdock would deliver. With virtual integration, Cargas was not only able to give Bob access to the data he needed, but they were also able to display it in BC without needing to import the data, so users can see everything on a single pane of glass.
Only Scratching the Surface
Popdock also provides the training and support customers and partners need to excel in using the product effectively and to learn all of its vast capabilities.
“The training was very good,” Bodine said. “There’s just a lot of depth to what you can do with Popdock, and we’ve really only scratched the surface on what it can do.”