Mastering Complexity: Global Partners Choose the Microsoft Dynamics Platform

TORONTO — July 10, 2012 — They are companies that support the most complex manufacturing, distribution and services industries in the world today. They help customers build submarines, manage large automotive dealerships and optimize sales effectiveness.

Today in Toronto, Microsoft Business Solutions President Kirill Tatarinov discussed how enterprise partners that operate in highly specialized, vertical markets across the world are increasingly turning to software that has historically been seen as a midmarket offering — Microsoft Dynamics.

“Microsoft brings together technologies in a way no other company can,” Tatarinov says. “With Microsoft Dynamics, partners can put familiar tools such as Microsoft Office and SharePoint on top of huge business datasets stored in SQL Server. The potential of this is as limitless as the market itself. We’re only beginning to explore it.”

To make his point, Tatarinov pointed to three global ISVs currently building solutions on Microsoft Dynamics platforms to serve large, complex organizations in different ways:

Cincom’s software has supported the manufacturing and selling of complex products from fire trucks to submarines to airplanes. The company has recently adopted the Microsoft Dynamics platform to combine Microsoft’s flexible technology with Cincom’s deep industry expertise.

  • Technosoft’s blend of Microsoft Dynamics solutions supports automotive dealerships from the customer’s perspective to promote brand loyalty and increase repeat sales — a sharp departure from traditional transaction-based dealer management systems.

  • PROS is using Microsoft Dynamics to develop a system that gives sales teams an edge to increase their odds of profitably winning business. Using big data, sales teams are able to protect margins from market volatility and competitive changes, gaining the value they deserve for their products and services.

  • Cincom’s software has supported the manufacturing and selling of complex products from fire trucks to submarines to airplanes. The company has recently adopted the Microsoft Dynamics platform to combine Microsoft’s flexible technology with Cincom’s deep industry expertise.

Connecting With Customers

For Indonesia-based Technosoft, competitive advantage is all about serving customers. With clients across manufacturing, distribution and other industries, the company has recently developed a solution for automotive dealerships based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

According to Technosoft co-founder Fredy Tandiary, basing the system on a CRM platform enabled the company to create a solution that is different from most dealer management applications available in the market, which are based on traditional ERP systems adept at tracking transactions but not much else.

“Traditional DMS systems handle the transactions well,” says Tandiary. “They create vehicle sales orders, process registrations, and handle delivery and after-sales workshop operations. Customers using our system get those processes but also richer capabilities that allow them to transform customer experiences through tightly integrated CRM and DMS processes.”

Technosoft’s solution tracks the entire vehicle lifecycle from the customer’s point of view — from demand generation, test drives, quotations and sales to shipments, registrations, renewals and after-sales service. The solution can also integrate with social networking sites, tracking responses and automatically notifying appropriate staff. It enables dealers to become more proactive in their customer interactions, through activities like phone calls, text messages, emails, faxes and more.

“We cover the entire lifecycle of ownership of the car,” Tandiary says. “It’s not just about processing vehicle sales orders and work orders, it’s about building loyalty from customers to the dealer and the brand. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows us to develop our solution with this CRM strategy in mind.”

Harnessing Big Data

PROS has been developing big data applications for more than 26 years, helping companies understand how customer behavior can translate into better sales effectiveness and performance.

Geared toward large enterprise companies, PROS is currently developing a solution based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM that is designed to analyze millions of combinations of products, SKUs, transactions, shopping baskets and views — and present results in an easily digestible way through familiar desktop tools.

According to John Salch, the company’s vice president of technology and platforms, one big reason that PROS chose to work with Microsoft Dynamics is the platform’s ability to bring big-data analytics into the same software that sales teams use to build quotes or serve customers. The company’s goal is to take the ease of use and powerful capabilities of familiar tools, such as Excel, and build those into an enterprise-grade solution with a single, comprehensive point of view.

“There’s no reason today for knowledge to be hidden in a corner of the building, in the hands of one or two people,” Salch says. “Our goal is to bring that information into the system, make it accessible, and then add our expertise to really help companies and their sales teams sell more effectively, and gain better value for their products and services. So integration and building tools on top of Microsoft Dynamics CRM was a natural next step for us.”

With so many ends to tie together in development, Salch says help from Microsoft’s Partner Program has been essential for PROS to get its solution off the ground.

“We don’t have anyone else who brings the level of partnering and engagement that Microsoft does,” he says. “It’s a combination of solving our customers’ problems and backing it up with the right resources to be able to execute and build something. That’s huge for us.”

Diving Deep

One of the most experienced and respected enterprise software companies in the world, Cincom Systems has worked with major global brands for decades to tackle hugely complex challenges. Imagine the supply-chain logistics involved in manufacturing a submarine, and you can begin to understand the kinds of issues that Cincom’s customers face.

According to Sanjiv Karani, head of global product marketing, to tame such an extremely high level of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, customers need a solution flexible enough to adapt naturally to their operations, yet familiar enough that anyone can use it.

“To physically address this volatility, what you need is simplicity,” Karani says. “Knowing how and why, understanding the problems in the complex manufacturing environment, and putting in place the right solutions is what helps these customers transform into a dynamic business.”

Karani says that by using Microsoft Dynamics AX and CRM to provide the underlying architecture and core business functionality, the experts at Cincom are able to focus on what they do best — diving into the complexities of a manufacturing environment to help customers make sense of it all. Given the change of pace in the manufacturing world, Karani says the underlying flexibility of the Microsoft Dynamics architecture can allow Cincom to provide even more dramatic impact by providing new transformative capabilities and responding effectively to customer requests.

“The heart of what we offer is manufacturing solutions that empower our customers to proactively master complexity and make smarter decisions for ultimate freedom to prosper,” he says. “The less time we spend on infrastructure and the basic underpinnings of ERP and CRM, the more time we can spend with our customers in delivering the step-change results.”