4-page Case Study
Posted: 5/31/2012
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Akrapovic Exhaust Systems Leading global manufacturer of top quality exhaust systems gets ready for Global Operations

Situation

Akrapovič is the leading global manufacturer of top-quality exhaust systems for motorcycles and performance cars and supports many of the world top motorcycle and car racing teams. Akrapovič is also an innovator in titanium and carbon fibre product manufacturing. Their products are characterized by modern and exclusive design and the company is renowned for its innovative titanium technology.

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* Now we have a true 360° view of our partners and related sales and marketing activities. *

Miloš Dežnak
CEO
Akrapovič

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Akrapovič aftermarket car exhaust systems can be found on leading global car brands such as Abarth, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini and many others. Their motorcycle aftermarket or first fit exhaust systems are used by Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Gilera, Harley Davidson, Honda and Yamaha, among others. The company is the official Audi Sport team partner in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. Audi Sport car with an Akrapovič exhaust system won 24 Hours of Le Mans race twice - in 2010 and 2011. The Company is also an Official Partner to BMW Motorsport DTM racing and Official Sponsor of Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team. Its exhausts have so far helped 64 World Champions achieve their titles.

Innovative solutions and technologies and global brand recognition drive the company's rapid growth, which is based on a partner network that spans more than 60 countries and serves more than 3,000 partners such as agents, importers, resellers and representatives. They offer customers more than 1,500 actively manufactured products and between 3,000 and 4,000 products from archive product catalogues. The company’s goal is to increase revenue by 100 percent in the next five years and aims to add several thousand new partners to its partnership network. To effectively support their ambitious development goals, the company needed a comprehensive solution that would efficiently link all business processes related to B2B and CRM operations.

Solution

Despite fierce competition from technology providers that were motivated by the company’s stellar reputation to offer aggressively priced solutions, Akrapovič decided to entrust the development of their Akrapovič Business Platform system to Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) Slovenia and Agito. Agito has already completed several projects for Akrapovič and has proven that they are among the most dependable, effective and competent partners for developing software projects by using Microsoft's technologies. The company is also renowned as a leading regional company for Microsoft SharePoint Server deployments, custom .NET development and different integration projects.

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* The result is a solution that provides integrated support for the most important business processes and fulfills the most demanding expectations. *

Mišo Brus
General Manager
Agito

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Microsoft Consulting Services participated in all stages of the projects, which included the assessment of the existing environment and planning future business processes and solutions. Microsoft architects were involved in designing the features that would be best suited to the needs of Akrapovič in terms of performance, availability, security and scalability requirements. Microsoft Consulting Services also cooperated in the integration stage of the project where Microsoft consultants took over the integration of individual systems while Agito provided integration interfaces.

“In addition to the right technology, the foundations for creating state-of-the-art solutions are professionalism, teamwork and commitment. When developing Akrapovič Business Platform we've shown that we understand their specific requirements and we’ve built on an existing excellent relationship with our client. We left nothing up to coincidence and have shown our know-how and our ability to execute. The result is a solution that provides integrated support for the most important business processes and fulfills the most demanding expectations,” said Mišo Brus, General Manager, Agito.

The Akrapovič Business Platform solution consists of several closely linked systems: Product Information System (PIM), Business Portal (BP), Internet Portal (IP) and CRM system integration. It supports all the most important business processes: management of customers, campaigns, opportunities, orders, contracts and payments. The solution also links these processes to research and development processes.

Product Information Management is the central system for managing all product information and related documents. Product information is acquired from the back-end SAP system and can be supplemented with multilingual marketing materials and technical descriptions, images, video, sound, technical blueprints, homologation certificates, and installation instructions. This information can ultimately be published to different platforms (Extranet or Internet) or used to create product catalogues. Typical users of PIM work in product, marketing and research departments.

Business Portal is the main web-based communication channel between the company and its business partners. It allows partners to access their own basic information, payment terms, credits and conditions, product information and availability, and the latest news. Partners can also use the portal to submit orders, track order status, view invoices, submit warranty claims and track claim status. Product information is pulled from the Product Information Management system. Pricelists, product availability information, selling terms, orders and claims are synchronized with the CRM system.

Internet Portal provides a web-based communication channel between the company and its end customers and the general public. They can use the portal to access public product information and latest news that is stored in the Product Information Management system.

Customer Relationship Management represents the central system for managing business partners. It includes support for sales and marketing activities by supporting a number of business processes (customer management, campaign management, opportunity management, order management, contract management, case management, payment management, etc.). The system is tightly integrated with Business Portal and the back-end SAP system. SAP is the core business system for finance, accounting, financial controlling, warehouse management and manufacturing management. SAP serves as the data source for Product Information Management and Customer Relationship Management systems and provides product, financial and accounting information. Other business entities, such as pricelists, inventory information, customers, orders, and invoices are also regularly synchronized with the CRM system.

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* Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) enables Akrapovič to ensure its partners all over globe share the same user experience in terms of download speeds. *

Aleš Tancer
CIO
Akrapovič

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Akrapovič Business Platform solution is a showcase for the latest Microsoft technologies, such as Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft Office 2010 (integration of the CRM system with Outlook), Microsoft BizTalk 2010, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Windows Azure and, naturally, the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 development platform.

“We wanted to take advantage of the benefits offered by using both on-site solutions as well as cloud computing. The result is a tightly integrated hybrid environment, where some systems, such as Dynamics CRM and BizTalk are deployed on-site, while others are hosted by a hosting provider. We also utilized Windows Azure, which means that the solution represents a realistic and gradual migration path from the local environment to the cloud," explained Janez Bevk, Engagement Manager, Microsoft Consulting Services.

SharePoint Server 2010 enabled Akrapovič to unify its Internet and Extranet platforms and to pave the way for deploying Intranet in the future. Currently this platform is hosted at an external hosting provider. All collaboration processes and workflows that serve internal departments, teams, individuals, and external partners are supported by the system. The result of this approach are streamlined content management and content publishing processes.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Office 2010 brought a fresh, yet familiar experience to Akrapovič users in Marketing & Sales. The user experience that combines CRM and Outlook drives user adoption with a familiar and flexible user interface, helping to minimize resource and training investments. As most users are already familiar with the Outlook environment, CRM can be easily learned and adopted by end users. Many teams, especially in the sales department, have switched from SAP to CRM, where they have everything they need for their daily work.

Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010 was used to integrate SAP, CRM, PIM and the B2B Portal. It was chosen because it is a mature enterprise product for integration and connectivity. BizTalk Server includes more than 25 multi-platform adapters and a robust messaging infrastructure to provide connectivity between core systems whether they are local, remote, hosted or cloud-based.

Akrapovič chose Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve multimedia content and technical documents. “Windows Azure was chosen for document storage for a good reason. Akrapovič products come with a huge amount of marketing multimedia and technical materials, which is ideal for cloud storage. Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) enables Akrapovič to ensure its partners all over globe share the same user experience in terms of download speeds,” said Aleš Tancer, CIO, Akrapovič.

The Windows Azure CDN is one of the building blocks to create fault-tolerant, reliable, and fast applications. By moving content closer to where it is needed and used, Windows Azure CDN improves performance by caching content at locations closest to customers or users to provide the best experience. Content types include web objects (e.g. JPG, CSS, and JavaScript), downloadable objects (media files such as pictures, software, and documents), applications, and other components of Internet delivery (DNS, routes, and database queries). CDN is a managed service, located in United States, Europe, Australia and South America, that is operated by Microsoft and has a 99.9% monthly SLA. The CDN service supports highly available services such as Windows Update, and Bing Maps, to serve hundreds of millions of devices and users every day.

At the project launch in Q1 of 2012 the first partners were given access to the new business portal and their feedback was very positive. Akrapovič goal is that all existing partners will be comprehended in the new business community, which means about 3.000 partners in more than 60 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Middle East. The back-office system was initially used by local Sales, Marketing, Research & Development and Quality departments in teams of 30 people. In Q3 2012, the same solution will also be deployed in Akrapovič’s American subsidiary. In the future, new Sales business units are scheduled to be opened in Europe, Asia and South America, where the same back-office solution will be considered.

Benefits

The new solution provides Akrapovič with better control over Marketing & Sales and Research & Development business processes, connects partners to all company’s departments and people, and centralizes all information and content about products in one place, an important benefit for all partners.

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* The unified platform greatly improves the insight of our agents into the dealer network and allows us to manage our entire partner network. *

Michel Neven
Sales Director
Akrapovič

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Before the implementation of the new solution, all sales orders were taken by phone, fax or e-mail and manually entered into the SAP system. This process was very time consuming and required a lot of administrative work with much space for errors and uncertainty. Administrative burden was significantly reduced, resulting in a shorter and more effective sales cycle. The company estimates that the internal Marketing & Sales department reduced the amount of administrative work significantly. Other benefits include: a shorter sales cycle and more responsive marketing services (reduced response times, faster delivery, etc.), faster ordering process, and reduced time from ordering to distribution. The company also reduced the number of errors and is able to provide improved quality of service with shorter time to market for new products. Akrapovič now also has a powerful marketing tool for executing campaigns or sending newsletters.

By implementing the new solution, Akrapovič was able to dramatically increase the quality and efficiency of collaboration in their partner network and to improve the control over their internal marketing, sales and development processes. The new solution provides a single point of entry and information source for all partners. The company is now able to provide richer and more up-to-date information to their partners.

From this perspective of the importance of partner networks, the Akrapovič Business Portal is the most significant sales and marketing channel. The Business Portal and Customer Relationship Management system also significantly reduced the amount of administrative work and improved our response times. At the same time, Marketing and Sales department can now provide a higher level of service.

“The unified platform greatly improves the insight of our agents into the dealer network and allows us to manage our entire partner network,” said Michel Neven, Sales Director of Akrapovič. Miloš Dežnak, CEO, Akrapovič, added: “Now we have a true 360° view of our partners and related sales and marketing activities.”

By using the information from the on-line ordering system, the company is better positioned to plan their production more accurately to reduce back-orders and warehousing costs. The new solution offers a high level of flexibility that enables the company to implement different business approaches for different partner segments and offer high levels of localization. They are now able to run more accurate analytics, which in turn supports better strategic decisions.

The solution also enables the company to expand its business operations, both from the volume as well as geographical point of view. Agents can easily introduce new dealers, importers, and distributors and manage them. One of the many benefits of the new information system are also its high availability and the ability to place orders 24/7, which is mandatory for global expansion. By implementing the system, the company has established a platform that will support high growth of their business and their global operations.

Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a complete solution that gives you a 360-degree view of your constituents’ needs—from first contact through service fulfillment. Fast, flexible, and affordable, Microsoft Dynamics CRM streamlines important tasks, such as constituent services, grant writing, field inspections, investigation management, case management, call-center management, campus information sharing, emergency response, and much more. For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:www.microsoft.com/dynamics.

Windows Azure
Windows Azure is the development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage web applications on the Internet through Microsoft data centers. To learn more about the Windows Azure platform, visit: www.windowsazure.com.

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:www.microsoft.com.

For more information about Agito d.o.o. products and services, call +386 1 242 56 70 or visit the website at:www.agito.biz.

For more information about Akrapovič d.d. products and services, call +386 1 78 78 404 or visit the website at:www.akrapovic.com.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 500 employees

Organization Profile

Akrapovič is the leading global manufacturer of top-quality exhaust systems for motorcycles and performance cars and supports many of the world top motorcycle and car racing teams. The company is present in more than 60 countries and on all continents.


Business Situation

Akrapovič plans to rapidly expand to new countries and markets and to add several thousands of partners in the following years.


Solution

By working with Agito and Microsoft Consulting Services, the company implemented a solution that integrates their Product Information System, Business Portal, Internet Portal and CRM system.


Benefits
  • Reduced administration burden in sales and marketing
  • Effective partner network
  • Improved manufacturing planning
  • Support for global operations

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
  • Microsoft Biztalk Server 2010
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Services

Vertical Industries
Automotive, Industrial Equipment & Aerospace

Country/Region
Slovenia

Business Need
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Enterprise Web and Search
  • CRM
  • xRM
  • Business Critical

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Agito d.o.o. Microsoft Services

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