CRM Benefits From ERP Integration

The roots of the KROHNE group date back to 1921. With its restart in the post-war period, KROHNE began its rise to become one of the global market leaders for process measuring instruments mainly used in the energy, oil and gas industry as well as for chemical plants and water management. "Our business is strongly project-driven. We have been able to gain our market position primarily thanks to the precision of our instruments," explains Eric Martin, IT Manager International and Member of the Executive Board at KROHNE. According to Martin, there has been a significant shift in the markets in recent years. While business in Europe grows at a moderate pace, it is especially Asia which is increasingly becoming the focus of interest.

*With Dynamics CRM, we are able to benefit from a higher level of automation as well as to work and to communicate more efficiently since we have all information ready at Hand.*

Eric Martin
IT Manager International and Member of the Executive Board

Initial Solution

To keep up pace with this market change, KROHNE has responded with a stronger internationalization of its processes and IT systems without leaving any part of the company untouched. While KROHNE’s business software has already enabled the employees at KROHNE worldwide to work in a uniform manner, CRM has been handled differently in the various regions. In the meantime, the existing system has been getting on in years and has no longer been running efficiently. "With the ERP environment, we are able to gain transparency and to manage our projects effectively by means of harmonized structures, for example by using the same master data and the same bill of materials. This is exactly what we also wanted to achieve for our sales," underlines Eric Martin.

In summer 2010, the company set up a CRM project to explore the software market. Because of the international orientation of its business, KROHNE only evaluated solutions of global providers. "Flexibility has been a crucial factor for us, in addition to the ability to support multiple languages," remembers Martin. After having selected an initial number of systems by considering certain technology aspects in fall 2010, a team of international sales representatives decided to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 which has won against solutions of Salesforce and Oracle. "Dynamics CRM offers the required flexibility which enables us to customize processes, functionalities, and practices in detail. It also allowed us to perform a seamless integration into the ERP system," emphasizes Eric Martin. The contract to implement the software was awarded to the Microsoft partner proMX. "The proMX presentations left us with the impression that y competent. They understand how we work and they quickly presented us some initial solution proposals," he adds they were extremely competent. They understand how we work and they quickly presented us some initial solution proposals," he adds.

The implementation started in May 2011 where a number of salespeople worked in several international workshops to share their experiences and to effectively contribute to the implementation project. The results were efficient processes enabling the optimum use of data within the whole organization. Also any existing barriers between the internal sales and the field staff were eliminated. "If an employee discovers during a customer visit that a new refinery is being built, he or she can enter this information directly in Dynamics CRM. Automated workflows make sure that this information is forwarded to the right person," explains IT manager Martin.
The core of the project is the tight, bidirectional interface between Dynamics CRM and the company’s business software. This way, the ERP processes have direct impact on the sales planning in Dynamics CRM. "If an offer is created in the ERP software, it automatically moves down the sales funnel," says Eric Martin. The same applies for documents which are also automatically assigned as PDF files to the respective customer data in Dynamics CRM. By using consistent customer structures in the whole company group, KROHNE is able to eliminate any assignment issues in both systems.

The CRM solution was launched in May 2012, simultaneously in 15 countries in Europe and America – with more than 3.5 million data previously converted and copied into Dynamics CRM.

KROHNE currently has about 400 licenses in use, plus 300 additional licenses to come after the system rollout in Asia. In order to ensure overall data consistency, the Dynamics CRM servers are all centrally run in the company’s data center in Duisburg.
Eric Martin particularly appreciates the transparency and the gain of information which the company has achieved with the implementation of the new CRM software: "With Dynamics CRM, we have succeeded in streamlining our sales processes. We are able to benefit from a higher level of automation as well as to work and to communicate more efficiently since we have all information ready at hand." If several people are involved in a project, they are automatically kept up to date without the need for any emails or phone calls.

At the same time, lead management features which have been seamlessly implemented enable decision makers to get a detailed insight into the success of individual key accounts, sales regions or sales teams. With the close integration into Microsoft Outlook 2010, the employees are able to track activities and to schedule appointments more easily. The overall feedback was unsurprisingly positive. "The fact that we have considered our entire international sales has finally paid off. This way, each employee is able to effectively use CRM," underlines Eric Martin who is also more than satisfied with the performance of its software partner proMX. "Due to the complex ERP inter- face and the strict timeline, the burden sometimes has been very high. Without the assistance and support of proMX we could not have been able to get this done so easily. They have done a really good job." After the rollout in Asia, the company plans to implement mobile solutions in 2013.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables the KROHNE company to get a better insight into its current sales projects.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Customer Size: Large Organization
Industry: High Tech & Electronics
Country or Region: Germany
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Suites
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
Organization Profile: With 2,758 employees worldwide and a turnover of 413 million euros in 2011, the Duisburg-based KROHNE group is one of the global leaders for process measuring instruments. The company produces worldwide in ten different countries and has a number of local offices in all major regions.
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