A developer of custom software, Dorset Software has 50 employees and annual sales of U.S.$3.3 million. The company firmly believes in leveraging technology to help people work faster and smarter in as many ways as possible—from business intelligence to productivity gains. By taking advantage of technology, Dorset Software can better deliver business value to its customers and stand out from the competition. In support of this effort, Dorset Software upgraded its existing enterprise resource planning solution to Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010. Since going live with the solution, the company has improved its ability to provide business intelligence to managers, increased productivity, improved internal and external communications, and expanded access to information to team members.
|We felt Microsoft Dynamics GP was already an effective business management solution, but the new version is even more powerful in terms of providing information to the people who need it.|
|Nicole Thompson, Director of Accounting and IT, Dorset Software|
Based in Poole, United Kingdom, Dorset Software has 50 employees and develops custom software solutions for large companies headquartered in the region. To help one client, a large supermarket chain in the United Kingdom, Dorset Software developed a database that lets training-desk managers automatically record the outcome of employee training sessions in compliance with regulatory requirements. As a result, training managers at each store can use workflows that facilitate consistent processes and tracking documentation.
With Dorset Software growing rapidly, management felt that it had to make a decision on whether the company should increase the number of support staff or use technology to become more efficient. Convinced that technology can help people work faster and smarter, management decided to find a centralized solution that could handle the company’s complex customer requirements and intricate cost-tracking needs.Solution
After an extensive search, Dorset Software chose Microsoft Dynamics GP as the solution that could handle its sophisticated reporting and day-to-day financial requirements. According to Nicole Thompson, Director of Accounting and IT for Dorset Software, the company wanted a product that worked as a hub to connect other products. “To connect a variety of different business systems, Microsoft Dynamics GP is brilliant,” she says. Since then, Microsoft Dynamics GP has played a central role at the company in providing accurate and reliable financial reporting.
In 2009, Microsoft presented Dorset Software with an opportunity to take part in the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program. As part of the program, the company was able to deploy the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics GP before Microsoft made the solution generally available. Thompson and other Dorset Software managers were enthusiastic about upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010. “The upgrade process went smoothly for us,” says Thompson. “It took close to two weeks, and we were up and running with no problems. We took some more time to work on customizations.”
According to Thompson, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 can connect employees, customers, and suppliers in new ways. For example, Dorset Software can consolidate all details related to a customer or vendor that it once tracked separately, without the need to write new code to bring the information together. In addition, capabilities for accessing information give salespeople greater insight into interactions that others in the organization have with a client and help project managers stay better informed about how their projects are progressing.Benefits
With Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, Dorset Software is dissolving traditional organizational boundaries and strengthening business relationships. “We felt Microsoft Dynamics GP was already an effective business management solution, but the new version is even more powerful in terms of providing information to the people who need it,” says Thompson.Connect Applications and Systems
The first step in Dorset Software’s integration plan was to connect the company’s existing time-sheet system, a custom application that the company developed in-house years ago, with the accounting module in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010. The time-sheet system captures billable time that Dorset Software team members contribute to projects and aggregates it by client, project manager, and other criteria. Two-way connections in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 make it possible for data to flow directly from the time-sheet system database into Microsoft Dynamics GP. “Being able to capture and consolidate business information that we’ve been maintaining in separate places is just huge for us,” says Thompson. “With the new, straightforward integration platform, our developers can easily connect applications to and from Microsoft Dynamics GP.”Improve Business Insight
With its upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, Dorset Software achieved one of its highest priorities: giving everyone in the organization, including people who don’t use Microsoft Dynamics GP, the ability to access, analyze, and share information in ways that make sense to their particular jobs. Built-in Microsoft Office Excel–based reports can be refreshed with a single click whether they are accessed through Microsoft Dynamics GP or a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server site. “I’m quite excited about the new Office Excel reporting feature,” says Thompson. “It will answer people’s questions by getting information directly to their desks so that they can work with it immediately.”
Thompson predicts that the management team will heavily use the new dashboard reporting in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010. Senior executives rely on personalized dashboards and key performance indicators, which help them monitor business performance and make informed decisions. “The biggest surprise to us in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 was the dashboard feature,” says Thompson. “Having a dashboard that already has 90 percent of what we wanted is a powerful new tool.”Increase Productivity
Dorset Software can serve customers more effectively with what it sees as having a competitive advantage in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010. And, the company’s team members now can quickly create well-designed customer-facing reports in Microsoft Office Word that draw information directly from Microsoft Dynamics GP. “One of the major advantages we see in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 is the use of Office Word for reporting,” says Thompson. Reports generated for Dorset Software customers include project status, including percentage of completion, revenue recognized, and spending in the past year. “In the past, generating ad-hoc custom reports required IT support,” says Thompson. “When people can quickly generate their own reports, it frees up more of their time to do billable work.”Make Customer Communications More Immediate
By using Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 as the foundation of Dorset Software’s communication infrastructure, the company has connected information assets that were formerly separated. Dorset Software expects to find new ways of helping salespeople and project managers build profitable customer relationships through the integration of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 with Microsoft Office Communications Server and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Says Thompson, “I know that Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 will always help us extend existing investments and adapt to changing business needs.”
Eventually, Dorset Software will no longer have physical telephones or a PBX system. The streamlined communications system will enhance people’s experience by embedding rich-presence and click-to-call capabilities Microsoft into the company’s applications. This lets customers contact Dorset Software team members based on their availability and then click to communicate with them in the best way—by e-mail, voice-over-Internet protocol, or instant messaging. “The consolidation of telephony and voice mail with our business systems will not only simplify IT management and improve customer communications but it will also help us maximize the value of our resources and budget,” says Thompson.