From manufacturers to retailers, European companies run on Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud

Companies big and small are turning to cloud technologies to keep their customers happy. At this year’s Convergence 2014 Europe, Microsoft is celebrating a handful of companies doing just that, and recognizing them with the 2014 Europe Customer Excellence Awards. The winners are diverse in many ways, but they all have one commonality: They understand the value that business insights and collaboration tools can play in delivering amazing customer experiences.

One such company is Victrex, this year’s winner of the Industry Excellence: Manufacturing award. The leading producer of cutting-edge polymeric solutions is in the business of creating innovative technologies that help customers maximize performance. Unfortunately, its legacy business management solution wasn’t nimble enough to keep pace.

Companies across industries, from medical to industrial, rely on Victrex’s raw material supplies to create durable products that last — but Victrex was missing opportunities because of its internal system complexity. More than 60 independent systems were in place, making it difficult to collect data and to share information across business groups. These challenges drove operational costs up and manufacturing efficiency down.

“A fundamental change had to happen if we wanted to grow bigger than we are today,” says James Fleming, group IT director at Victrex. “We were disconnected across the company, and we were basing decision-making on what we believed rather than on hard facts.”

The company worked with Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year Zero2Ten to evaluate and implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM within 12 weeks; Microsoft Dynamics AX is currently being deployed throughout the business using the U.K.-based partner IBRL. Fleming acknowledges that the manufacturing industry as a whole is over-reliant on manual processes, and that Victrex gains a competitive advantage by consolidating its disparate systems into one cloud solution.

As they’re rolling out the full suite, Victrex employees already have improved visibility into sales and supplies, so they can manage customer demands in a more efficient way. They now see sales cycle data, cost of manufacture, warehouse turnaround rates, and many other trends they hadn’t previously tracked.

“I love to deploy software solutions that make my colleagues’ lives easier,” Fleming says. “To see the reaction when we show how much more effective they can be in a shorter amount of time is priceless.”

Since implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Victrex experienced a 13 percent revenue increase in the first six months of 2014, compared with the same timeframe in 2013. The whole organization now has a view into customer dashboards, and improved business insights have motivated Victrex to consider deploying other Microsoft solutions, such as Office 365 and Microsoft Power BI.

Even young startups can reap benefits from a customized CRM solution. North South Wines, a wine importer based in the U.K. and winner of the Technology Innovation: Small and Medium Business award, needed a cost-effective system that allowed its employees to remain productive and access information from virtually anywhere.

“All our employees travel a great deal and work remotely,” says Hamish Gillespie, finance and operations director at North South Wines. “We need to have access to all company data wherever we are to deliver excellent customer service.”

Gillespie and his colleagues are passionate wine lovers who aim to import and deliver high-quality wines at low prices. Cashflow was a major challenge as North South Wines prepared to open its doors in May 2014, and the eight-person team needed to deploy a user-friendly system for efficient cash management to be successful.

North South Wines decided an end-to-end cloud solution would best meet business and customer needs.

“Our customers have high expectations,” Gillespie says. “Implementing a cloud-based solution avoids the need to invest in IT infrastructure, and it means we have a solution that can quickly adapt and scale to projected growth.”

Partnering with TVT Cloud Ltd., North South Wines built its Web presence using Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Office 365 on Microsoft Azure. From start to finish, implementation took less than a month, and the solution’s go-live date coincided with the company’s launch. The low cost enabled North South Wines to begin sales operations with minimal operational, IT and administrative expenses.

When working directly with customers, employees can quickly pull up information about wine inventory, helping to delight customers on the spot. Important decisions are based on the sales data that Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides, including sales, margins, financial reports and logistics.

“Our business model is not only cost-effective, but it adds value by helping us recognize trends and deliver on those in a timely fashion,” Gillespie says. “We want to deliver good wines to good people. Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives us instant access to live data, ensuring we sell the best available — whether it’s red, white or something in between.”

To learn more about Victrex, North South Wines and other companies reinventing productivity with Microsoft Dynamics, visit http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/convergence/europe14.

Reinventing productivity with the Microsoft cloud for business

BARCELONA, Spain — Nov. 4, 2014 — In a sold-out Convergence 2014 Europe business conference, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) on Tuesday highlighted the wave of innovation designed to enable organizations to benefit from the Microsoft cloud for business through the combination of Microsoft Dynamics business solutions, Office 365 productivity applications and the power of Microsoft Azure.

In the opening keynote delivered to business leaders from 71 countries, Microsoft Business Solutions executive vice president Kirill Tatarinov featured customers, including City of Barcelona, Ingram Micro, JJ Foods, Nagra, Onduline and the Spanish Association Against Cancer that are differentiating themselves with Microsoft Dynamics solutions through the power of the Microsoft cloud. Tatarinov showcased new technologies that bring machine learning and mobile capabilities to help businesses increase productivity, demonstrating capabilities of the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release, the interoperability between Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 and Office 365, and new capabilities to Microsoft Dynamics AX in the latest update to its flagship enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

In addition, he announced a new partnership with Thunderhead.com to build interoperability between the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform and Thunderhead.com’s ONE Engagement Hub.

“To better engage with their customers, businesses are looking to the cloud for greater collaboration and the right insights to help them be more productive,” Tatarinov said. “Microsoft is reimagining and reinventing productivity by harnessing the power of the cloud through a flexible platform in Azure, a cloud productivity suite in Office 365, and customer-centric business applications delivered through Microsoft Dynamics solutions that are helping organizations transform the way they engage with customers and run their business.”

Breaking silos between sales and marketing

The company on Tuesday announced that the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release will be generally available in December 2014. The new release is designed to address the growing need for businesses to deliver seamless experiences to their customers by helping them break down the barriers between divisions and collaborate like never before. New capabilities in this release, showcased on Tuesday, include advancements in natural user interface and integration with Cortana, the intelligent personal assistant on Windows Phone 8.1. With Cortana, users will be able to set up meetings and reminders; search for contacts, accounts and activities; view customer lists; and create new customer records — all with voice commands.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 will also include significant updates to its platform capabilities, enabling businesses to create predefined and configurable processes with enhanced branching logic for complex scenarios, near-real-time calculations and roll-ups for business information, and client API enhancements that will allow automation and consistency across devices. Using these design elements, Microsoft is adding new Industry Templates for a number of specific industries, such as financial services, retail, public sector, manufacturing and professional services. Twenty-seven templates will be available by the end of 2014, helping customers jump-start their implementation with industry-specific requirements.

Microsoft also reinforced the benefits of its Sales Productivity solution, which gives sales professionals the leading productivity tools that work seamlessly with business applications to enable them to do more and achieve more. The new solution is offered to customers at a promotional price of $65 (52.70 euros) per user, per month. Existing users of Office 365 can upgrade to the Sales Productivity solution for $45 (34.50 euros) per user, per month.

At the event, the company also announced a new partnership with Thunderhead.com that will bring to market a complete omni-channel customer engagement solution based on the interoperability of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform and Thunderhead.com’s ONE Engagement Hub. The solution gives chief marketing officers and customer experience leaders the ability to build customer engagement by tying together customer insight, context and journey behavior and enhancing omni-channel customer experiences with greater visualization and analytics capabilities across all touch points.

Transforming business with the cloud

Microsoft also on Tuesday introduced a new update to Microsoft Dynamics AX, its flagship ERP solution that harnesses the power of the cloud to help organizations transform their businesses and deliver amazing customer experiences. This latest update enables businesses to combine all the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Azure in a full end-to-end cloud solution. It enables companies to run hybrid environments with an optimal mix of development, test and production instances, and it adds a new, modern Point-of-Sales client for Windows tablets and phones, giving in-store sales associates the ability to access product and customer information at their fingertips to deliver great shopping experiences. In addition, this update adds capabilities that streamline warehouse and transportation operations to help organizations fulfill orders quickly and flexibly to exceed their customers’ expectations.

Using the cloud, Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS), the Microsoft Azure-based application lifecycle management service for Microsoft Dynamics AX, provides new implementation methodologies, based on industry best practices, to help organizations drive business process innovation and implementation and get value from these projects faster. Giving businesses the ability to design, develop, test and deploy their projects in the Microsoft cloud, LCS is increasing agility and saving time for thousands of customers and partners. With the cloud-powered support service in LCS, Microsoft is reimagining the support experience for partners and customers. Businesses that currently use the service are realizing a significant 60 percent drop in days-to-resolution of their support cases.

The new update for Microsoft Dynamics AX will be available to customers in December 2014. More information on the update and LCS can be found at Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Customers such as J&J Foods are benefiting from Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 as they use machine learning capabilities to turn automated processes into intelligent processes for a more personalized experience for their customers. The capability, demonstrated during the conference keynote, is based on the implementation of a machine learning algorithm in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 that is used by J&J Foods’ call center agents to engage with their customers directly on the Web storefront. The cross-channel implementation of machine learning-infused processes has helped J&J Foods improve customer service, better understand customers and in just four weeks increase its Internet sales revenue by 3.5 percent.

As part of the event, Microsoft also demonstrated the new Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 release that adds a new tablet and touch-optimized user experience, enabling small and midsized business customers to access their company data and processes regardless of location or what device they choose to use. It adds faster access to information that matters with personalized home pages that let users view their most important business data and key performance indicators at a glance. New capabilities within this release also radically simplify invoice design and production through new interoperability with Microsoft Word. Power users can now create customized, branded invoice templates on their own in Microsoft Word without having to engage a technical consultant. The release also includes additional optimizations to deploy in the cloud on Microsoft Azure and, with Office 365 to lower costs, increase flexibility and boost employee productivity.

Advancements in Microsoft Dynamics cloud solutions follow closely on the heels of several enhancements Microsoft announced last month to its hyper-scale, enterprise-grade, hybrid cloud platform, as well as updates to Office 365, which now include unlimited storage with OneDrive. All these updates combined underscore the company’s commitment to its cloud solutions to help customers do more and achieve more.

More information

More information and news from Convergence 2014 Europe is available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/dynamics. The opening keynote presentation and general session keynote speeches are available on the virtual event platform at http://convergence.evo-td.com. Those who want to follow and engage with the Microsoft Dynamics Twitter community can do so at @MSFTDynamics and @MSFTConvergence using #Conv14.

About Microsoft Dynamics

At the heart of every successful business are the people who make things happen. Microsoft Dynamics designs modern business solutions that empower individuals with intuitive tools that allow them to do their best work. Our proactive, easy-to-use business applications adapt to the way people and systems work, enabling businesses to rapidly deploy and be forward-looking in an ever-changing world.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.””

Microsoft and Dropbox announce strategic partnership to give people more freedom in how they work

SAN FRANCISCO and REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 4, 2014 — Dropbox Inc. and Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership to help people work more effectively. The two industry-leading companies are teaming up to integrate their services for collaboration across Dropbox and Microsoft Office on phones, tablets and the Web.

When you select “edit” while you are viewing your document in Dropbox, the appropriate Office app is offered up for editing. Continue editing, and the apps work together to automatically save your changes back to Dropbox.
When you select “edit” while you are viewing your document in Dropbox, the appropriate Office app is offered up for editing. Continue editing, and the apps work together to automatically save your changes back to Dropbox.

With data and mobile usage exploding globally, millions of people are turning to Dropbox and Office to access, manage and collaborate on their files from anywhere, anytime. Over 1.2 billion people use Office to get work done, and Dropbox has become home to more than 35 billion Office files.

“In our mobile-first and cloud-first world, people need easier ways to create, share and collaborate regardless of their device or platform,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Together, Microsoft and Dropbox will provide our shared customers with flexible tools that put them at the center for the way they live and work today.”

“People around the world have embraced Office and Dropbox to empower the way they live and work today,” said Drew Houston, CEO and co-founder of Dropbox. “Our partnership with Microsoft will make it easier than ever to collaborate seamlessly across these platforms, giving people the freedom to get more done.”

This partnership will enable people at work, home and school to easily collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. These capabilities will first be available from within the Dropbox and Office apps on tablets and phones, and will soon be accessible via the Web.

Dropbox and Microsoft users can now do the following:

  • Access Dropbox from Office apps to get to their files and folders faster.
  • Edit Office files directly from Dropbox and sync them across devices.
  • Share new or edited files from the Office apps using simple Dropbox sharing functionality.

The functionality will first be included in the next updates to the Office apps for iOS and Android, coming in the next few weeks. The Web integrations between the Dropbox website and Office Online will be available in the first half of 2015. Dropbox will also make its application available on the Windows Phone and Windows tablet platforms in the coming months.

These capabilities will be available to all Office users with a Dropbox account. Dropbox for Business customers will need an Office 365 subscription. More information can be found by visiting the Dropbox blog at https://blog.dropbox.com/2014/11/dropbox-microsoft-office-partnership and the Office blog at http://blogs.office.com.

About Dropbox

Dropbox’s mission is to build a home for everyone’s most important information and bring it to life. We make it easy for millions of people at home and at work to access, share, and collaborate on their files so they can be more productive. For more information, please visit https://www.dropbox.com/press.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Microsoft announces upcoming events for the financial community

REDMOND, Wash. — November 4, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. today announced participation in the following upcoming events with the financial community. Interested parties can listen to a webcast of these events on Microsoft’s Investor Relations website at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/.

RBC Capital Markets Technology, Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
3:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Vikas Mehta, director, Investor Relations

UBS Global Technology Conference
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
7:45 a.m. Pacific Time
Jeff Teper, corporate vice president, Corporate Strategy

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

For more information, financial analysts and investors only:

Chris Suh, general manager, Investor Relations, Microsoft, (425) 706-4400

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com/. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Shareholder and financial information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/.