REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 14, 2009 — To improve its business processes and set the foundation for a new social computing framework, leading computer peripherals company Roland DGA Corp. chose to consolidate the vast majority of its finance, customer relationship management (CRM) and collaboration IT infrastructure on Microsoft software.
As a global manufacturer supporting companies in industries such as fine art, photography and 3-D modeling, Roland DGA needed to upgrade its infrastructure because legacy systems were creating a strain in the company’s ability to provide an integrated set of business tools for its employees and nearly 400 channel partners. The resulting solution is a combination of Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
“We have limited interaction with our customers, so it’s critical that we give our partners the tools to communicate proficiently as our company representative,” said Bob Castle, chief information officer at Roland DGA. “For example, we are now able to automate the delivery of customer inquiries from our Web site to the most appropriate dealer with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This improves the time it takes for customers to get a response to their questions.”
To further strengthen communication between employees and channel partners, Roland DGA consolidated its disparate databases into a single one supported by Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This reconfiguration removed the need for employees to enter data into two separate systems and gave Roland DGA the ability to control portal user rights for each partner directly from Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In addition, working with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner speakTECH, Roland DGA was able to further improve the collaboration between employees, customers and dealers by developing internal and external team sites through SharePoint Server.
“The flexibility for our employees to set up team sites using SharePoint and invite channel partners to participate in the conversation has spread across the entire organization, boosting productivity,” Castle said. “We have three team sites for our primary management groups, a site for our Canadian and Latin American dealers, more than 20 employee sites, and our external customer-facing Web site. These sites have drastically improved the way our employees and dealers communicate. They are now able to share documents in real time and access them from any Internet-connected computer.”
As part of its future plans, Roland DGA will further strengthen its communications structure between employees, partners and customers. The company will be implementing a social computing platform consisting of wikis and blogs in 2009. This open platform for user-generated dialogue will be supported by SharePoint Server and will seamlessly integrate into the employees’ and partners’ Microsoft Office suite.
“We knew Roland DGA planned to enhance collaboration through social computing, so we developed the platform right alongside the team sites using the built-in tools from Microsoft Office SharePoint Server,” said Michael Jarvis, senior account executive at speakTECH. “By having its business operations managed by a single platform, it gives us the flexibility to roll out the social computing platform at any time without disruption to employees or partners.”
The integration of Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Office will enable employees to work from their existing Office applications or directly from SharePoint Server to create a wiki or blog.
“A company and its channel partners need to operate as one organization in how they market and sell to customers,” said Drew Gude, director, U.S. High-Tech and Electronics Industry Solutions at Microsoft Corp. “Companies that can quickly and effectively collaborate with their channel partners in selling situations have a competitive advantage that should drive both improved business performance and increased levels of customer satisfaction. The objective of Microsoft and its partners is to provide the IT platform and sales effectiveness business solutions that make such a competitive advantage a reality.”
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