Microsoft Dynamics Customer Solution Case Study
DaimlerChrysler Egypt Saves U.S.$300,000 with Lower Total Cost of Ownership
"With Microsoft in control of Microsoft Great Plains, we were confident it would result in improved functionality, greater usability, continued support, and that the solution would be future-proof." Mohsen Idriss, Financial Controller, DaimlerChrysler Egypt
Automotive wholesaler DaimlerChrysler Egypt belongs to global vehicle manufacturer DaimlerChrysler AG, whose major brands include Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge. In 1997, before the merger between Daimler and Chrysler, Chrysler Egypt acquired a business management solution to help streamline business processes and boost customer service efforts. With assistance from Egypt and Middle East IT (EME IT), the automotive wholesaler implemented Microsoft® Business Solutions–Great Plains® (now part of Microsoft Dynamics™). When Daimler and Chrysler merged to become one entity, EME IT expanded the Microsoft Great Plains solution throughout the organisation and implemented Microsoft SQL Server™ 2000 to increase scalability, and improve data integrity in financial reporting. Information is now entered once and flows smoothly from ordering and transaction systems to Microsoft Great Plains, where it is instantly available to all users.
In 1998, Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corporation merged. As DaimlerChrysler AG, the company is an industry leader with a global shareholder base, and sells its products in more than 200 countries. Its major brands include Mercedes-Benz, Chysler, Jeep, and Dodge.
DaimlerChrysler Egypt is a wholesaler of the global automotive manufacturer. The Egyptian division supplies vehicles under the Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge brand name to retail distributors throughout the country.
Prior to the merger, there were a few key challenges facing the former business Chrysler Egypt, which prompted the company to evaluate business management software.
"At that stage, we didn't have integrated systems. The system couldn't integrate information about the shipping and receiving processes, or aggregate information for the reports needed by senior management." Mohsen Idriss, Financial Controller, DaimlerChrysler Egypt
"At that stage, we didn't have integrated systems. The system couldn't integrate information about the shipping and receiving processes, or aggregate information for the reports needed by senior management. As a result, there was a lot of duplication in data entry. A lot of time was spent on manual tasks, which were not revenue-generating. Finally there were problems with the stability of the system due to the existing infrastructure."
"The criteria we had for a solution was simplicity of use, low cost of ownership, and its ability to handle our business. We wanted to create balance sheets, reports, invoices, and business information that could be customized to suit each recipient. For instance, the government required tax reports in Arabic, while senior management at the German head office needed sales performance reports in English. We were looking for a solution that would be ideal for our company size, with only 10 users. We also wanted a flexible solution so we could integrate add-ons in the future.”
The global operation of Chrysler was already operating an SAP system. In 1997, Chrysler thoroughly investigated enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems including an evaluation of technology sold by Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP. However, the company rejected these systems as too complex and expensive to run.
Instead, Chrysler engaged integration specialist and Microsoft® Certified Business Solutions Partner Egypt and Middle East IT (EME IT) to implement a full business management system using software that was soon to be acquired by Microsoft, called Microsoft Business Solutions–Great Plains®. The solution integrated capabilities for financial management and distribution. It also integrated with a local human resources and payroll system.
Since the original implementation, Daimler and Chrysler merged internationally in 1998, and locally in 1999. Locally, the merger between the two dealerships was virtually trouble-free, according to Idriss. This was because Daimler had a similar operation to Chrysler. The main difference was the business management solution it was running, and the partners it dealt with. Daimler's Egyptian branch operated its business with a bespoke business management system, developed by a local independent software vendor (ISV). The main challenge in the merger was combining the business data and integrating the business software to a standard solution.
To ease the issues involved with the merger, DaimlerChrysler decided to replace the legacy bespoke business solutions used by Daimler with Microsoft Great Plains®. This was for three reasons: the merged company believed the solution provider, EME IT, could support its industry requirements. The total return on investment (ROI) expected from Microsoft Great Plains had more potential benefits than the existing system within Daimler. Chrysler had experienced great benefits from Microsoft Great Plains and DaimlerChrysler believed this momentum would continue.
"DaimlerChrysler compared Microsoft Great Plains to other multinational software companies in Egypt—such as Oracle and SAP, which are its main competitors. There was quite a significant difference between Microsoft Great Plains and solutions from SAP and Oracle in terms of total cost and time to implement." Nader Iskander, Managing Director, EME IT
Idriss calculates that it would have cost U.S.$300,000 to implement SAP in DaimlerChrysler Egypt. Yet the cost of running Microsoft Great Plains has not exceeded a third of this price since 1997.
He says: "It would have been very expensive to implement SAP in Egypt. The business decided it would not be worthwhile to bring over such expensive and complicated software for a medium-sized company. DaimlerChrysler Egypt merely represents DaimlerChrysler AG operations in Germany, and we only deal in wholesale. The solutions from SAP and Oracle were complex and expensive more suited to a multinational production company.
"Further, Microsoft Great Plains is extremely user friendly has a familiar interface similar to Microsoft Windows® and Outlook® so employees can learn to use it quickly and easily.” Idress adds: “In fact, the product has continually improved with each new version, since we first started running it in 1997. As we were given the freedom to choose a best-of-breed business management solution by our head office in Germany, we decided to expand Microsoft Great Plains because we had already had such success with the solution."
Under a support and service agreement with EME IT, DaimlerChysler had kept its software up to date with the latest releases of Microsoft Great Plains. Recently, EME IT also installed Microsoft SQL Server™ 2000, which is part of Microsoft Windows Server System™ integrated server software, to improve scalability and generate speedier processing.
Powerful and easy to use, Microsoft Great Plains streamlines distribution planning, improves customer service, and helps operations workers to process orders more efficiently. The ease of use and efficiency with which reports can now be produced gives managers more time to analyse financial numbers. They can act on discrepancies before they turn into larger problems. What's more, Daimler Chrylser Egypt is assured of ongoing support and continual improvements to the Microsoft Great Plains offering, as a result of Microsoft acquiring the software.
Enhanced Support and Improvements to Solution from Trusted Technology Leader
When Microsoft bought Great Plains in 2000, DaimlerChrysler Egypt was reassured of continual upgrades of the solution as well as ongoing support.
Iskander believes Microsoft Great Plains has been enhanced as a result of this commitment from Microsoft. The upshot is improved integration, greater ease-of-use, and enhanced functionality in the latest version of Microsoft Great Plains.
"Since Microsoft purchased Microsoft Great Plains, the newer versions have become more user-friendly. Also, more options have been added to the software, such as shortcuts to access the reports," says Iskander.
"With Microsoft in control of Microsoft Great Plains, we were confident it would result in improved functionality, greater usability, continued support, and that the solution would be future-proof," Idriss says.
"The upgrades, support, integration ability, and open architecture from Microsoft provide us with a great solution that allows ad-hoc and financial reporting. With Microsoft Great Plains, we have moved to an orderly, organised, and streamlined business process."
Increased Stability and Speed
While Microsoft Great Plains provides streamlined planning capabilities that help management to accurately forecast and plan order requirements, Daimler Chrysler Egypt also wanted a reliable and fast infrastructure to support it. Daimler Chrysler Egypt could not afford to have its systems go down. Standardising on Microsoft technology, such as Microsoft SQL Server 2000, provided a stable and fast system. SQL Server 2000 also addressed the issue of scalability and speed.
Improved Customised Reporting for All Stakeholders
DaimlerChrysler Egypt needs to report to three major entities: the government, the local partners, and the head office. It was vital that the company could cater these reports to suit, and present the information in a form that each group could understand.
The company, for example, needs to report to:
- The local government about taxes, in Arabic, and create cheques.
- Local partners, without sacrificing the integrity of the data.
- DaimlerChrysler's foreign counterparts in Germany.
- The head office in Germany.
Iskander says: "The financial manager would receive instructions from the German head office, stipulating the criteria and format of the reports. Meanwhile, the government wanted a report in another format. The partners had many different report requirements. Some reports needed to be in Arabic, and others in English. It was a challenging job."
Following implementation of Microsoft Great Plains, DaimlerChrysler is able to easily run customised reports and reconcile balances.
"Microsoft Great Plains makes it easy because the customisation tools are easy to learn and quick to use. Also, using EME IT as an implementation partner made the job simpler for DaimlerChrysler," Iskander adds.
In-Country Support from Partner
DaimlerChrysler has enjoyed an eight-year partnership with EME IT during which it has received outstanding performance and service from the Microsoft partner.
“EME IT works with you side by side. It is part of the company. For me, EME IT is DaimlerChrysler."
Mohsen Idriss, Financial Controller, DaimlerChrysler Egypt
Reduced Total Cost of Ownership
In terms of support and implementation costs, the solution from SAP had proven to be an extremely costly solution for Daimler Chrysler Egypt. Idriss calculated it would have cost U.S.$300,000 to implement SAP. With Microsoft Great Plains, however, the total cost of ownership of the solution has not exceeded one third of this budget.
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business and helping you drive business success.
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 who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. 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 Egypt & Middle East IT products and services, visit the Web site at: www.emeit.com
For more information about DaimlerChrysler products and services, visit the Web site at: www.daimlerchrysler.com
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to: www.microsoft.com/dynamics
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