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Better Informed People Make Better Decisions

Today’s social connectedness, mobile devices, and growing opportunities for interaction “any time any place” have changed the way many live and work. People are increasingly dependent on connections across the global network—interlocked in this connected reality.

In order to gain the insight needed to make better decisions, organizations need an end-to-end business solution that integrates all areas of their business and provides managers - as well as individual team members and contributors - with the information they need to make the right decisions at the right time!

Modern business solutions like Microsoft Dynamics AX not only connect people inside and outside the organization, they also give them context and insight which drives better decisions and boosts productivity. An important focus of Microsoft Dynamics AX is to drive connections with people, with customers and with business partners across processes, data and the ecosystem in which organizations operate. This focus on connected organizations includes the vision of anywhere, in-context collaboration services that links people and companies to the right people in the right place, in the right context, at the right time, across multiple avenues of communications.

By implementing a fully integrated ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics AX - encompassing everything from sales and marketing to production and accounting - organizations can improve the accuracy of the information upon which decisions are based because each module of the software is tied together and information flows freely among them. Everyone from the top floor to the shop floor can have access to the business intelligence information they need to drive business success across the organization:

  • Keep current on changing business conditions - Accurately monitor current business activity, and compare it to historical activity and future plans to give people the contextual information they need to keep performance on track. Microsoft Dynamics AX delivers many integrated monitoring tools to help your people access the most relevant, accurate, and timely information about your business.
  • Gain insight into your business - It's not enough to gather accurate and timely data—people need powerful and easy-to-use analysis tools to help them understand context and trends. Microsoft Dynamics AX business intelligence functions provide people with the insight they need to take quick action and pursue opportunities.
  • Budget, forecast, and plan effectively - Microsoft Dynamics AX offers flexible planning tools to help you compare budgets, forecasts, and plans to actual performance. It also gives you the ability to update budgets and plans on the basis of new data and analyses to help your business stay competitive.

Microsoft Dynamics AX removes the impediments that generate friction within the organization and provides people with a broader array of insights and actions across internal and external connections. With greater transparency, agility, and insight, your people can make better, more informed decisions - enabling you to transform into a Dynamic Business.

Microsoft Enables Connected Organizations

Today’s social connectedness, mobile devices, and growing opportunities for interaction “any time any place” have changed the way many live and work. People are increasingly dependent on connections across the global network—interlocked in this connected reality.

Modern business solutions not only connect people inside and outside the organization, they also give them context and insight which drives better decisions and boosts productivity. An important part of Microsoft’s mission is to drive connections with people, with customers and with business partners across processes, data and the ecosystem in which organizations operate. This commitment to connected organizations includes the vision of anywhere, in-context collaboration services that links people and companies to the right people in the right place, in the right context, at the right time, across multiple avenues of communications. Microsoft business solutions include everything from email to voice to video to presence to social – all designed with a singular goal of giving people and organizations more effective ways of:

  • Leveraging the exploding number of channels to connect with customers at the time and place of their choosing;
  • Creating an inclusive, listening organization by extending collaboration scenarios that exist internally to include customers;
  • Evolving from an organization that engages with individual customers to one that leverages the crowd to benefit the brand

Microsoft’s commitment to connected organizations is about removing the impediments that generate friction within the organization and providing people with a broader array of insights and actions across internal and external connections. With greater transparency, agility, and insight, people can make better, more informed decisions, and transform their organization into a Dynamic Business.

It is the impassioned individual equipped with the right tools that enables companies to stay ahead of the competition in this world of constant change. Microsoft transforms organizations into Dynamic Businesses that enable people to do their best work no matter where they are in the organization. We are already seeing the impact as customers make the transformation, and Microsoft is committed to delivering modern business solutions, built using the broad portfolio of Microsoft technology, with intentional simplicity as a core design element. The solutions are innovative, proactive business applications that help users work in new, more effective ways. Moreover, they deliver tools for a connected organization to drive data to insight to action any time anywhere, with the flexibility to deploy and consume business workloads and suites in a way that delivers on today’s needs while also providing the ultimate flexibility necessary to be ready for the future.

Increase Insight and Efficiency by Integrating People, Information, and Processes

For our 500TH POST on the Merit Matters Blog, let's talk about manufacturing insight.

Accurate information and the ability to respond with fast, informed decisions are key requisites for agile, low-cost manufacturing. Unfortunately, many manufacturers continue to operate with aging and unconnected information systems. Growth through acquisition, plus the valid need for custom manufacturing processes, often results in an inability to gather and roll up data from diverse manufacturing execution and control systems.

Consequently, many manufacturing organizations struggle with insight issues such as:

  • Manual forms and unstructured data not readily integrated or understood in relation to other data and systems.
  • Limited visibility of manufacturing data in the context of overall enterprise processes and information.
  • Critical machine, performance, tracking, and status information trapped in silos.
  • Labor-intensive and untimely report generation.
The resulting lack of visibility of key data can greatly hinder an organization’s ability to implement common and shared business processes, practice lean manufacturing, or even understand machine center or process profitability. That’s why many companies are recognizing the need to move to a common and shared manufacturing solution architecture that enables implementation of shared best practices while addressing the needs of local language, regulatory compliance, and integration requirements of each operating unit or location.

When companies integrate data to make a single version of the truth visible across the organization, they can deploy an appropriate manufacturing solution in either an on-premise or cloud model to:

  • Support the business across manufacturing, back office, and managerial processes.
  • Provide an integration platform for manufacturing execution and control systems.
  • Deliver accurate information to people who need it for proactive decisions and actions.
  • Facilitate the standardization of data and the optimization of processes and value.
  • Help reduce cycle times and costs through the elimination of errors, redundant or manual tasks, and data delays.
  • Link to existing or corporate systems to better understand overall performance and plan continuous improvement.
With accurate, integrated data, business managers can more easily measure and analyze performance, run “what-if” scenarios and simulations, and better predict potential problems. When circumstances change, the right business management solution can provide fast access to the historical and plan data needed to assess the right course.

The end-to-end integration of Microsoft Dynamics AX means the right information can be available to the right people at the right time, with less data reentry and fewer manual procedures.

  • Real-time, consolidated views of customer account and historical information, product data, and production or delivery status can help your sales and service teams step up their responsiveness to customers and deliver faster, more accurate quotes, pricing, and order status reports.
  • Detailed inventory and replenishment information based on actual production and materials use data can help you reduce inventories, optimize purchasing processes, and gain leverage with suppliers.
  • Automated alerts and workflows can help ensure prompt actions and keep processes on track when conditions change, while automatic posting of materials consumption, work in process, and finished production costs directly to the general ledger means less time spent on routine financial tasks.
  • Comprehensive traceability and audit control can help you document components or ingredients and more easily manage source material tracking and chain-of-control compliance.
  • Remote access to company data and processes, either directly or through the Web, boosts the productivity of field employees.
Microsoft Dynamics AX helps multisite businesses operate more efficiently with immediate connectivity across locations by using one business application and a single business object data model. You can, for example, create and update sales and purchase orders across your locations in real time. Minimize stockholding costs by making stock-on-hand inquiries in all subsidiaries and sourcing raw materials across locations. Support for multiple companies, locations, languages, currencies, and tax and legal requirements for more than 30 countries is built in. Employees, customers, and suppliers can work in their own languages and currencies, while smooth conversion and reporting functions help ensure full insight and visibility at the highest levels of the organization.

Microsoft Dynamics AX enables companies to reduce time to delivery and increase customer satisfaction by automating procedures and improving connections between all company departments, from sales and customer service through production and delivery to accounting—the entire “order to cash” process.

Eliminating Silos of Data for One System of Truth

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is designed to improve and automate your business operations. Within medium to large enterprise companies, these processes - such as quality, production, inventory, reporting, order entry, accounting, purchasing, etc... - are traditionally managed by several disparate, or even manual, systems.

Companies that operate with disparate or manual systems often experience many unnecessary costs and delays. Examples include duplicate data entry, data corruption, more training, greater IT support and software incompatibilities. However, the largest impact of disparate systems is the inability to access information timely to enable good decision making.

As a result, there is a growing trend toward the use of a single ERP system to manage the entire business.

Through this single software system approach, companies can control the details of their businesses by linking all departments together. This maximizes productivity, reduces costs, and increases profitability. With a centralized ERP system, companies can erase information boundaries and deliver the critical information needed for rapid, effective decision-making.

Here are the top ten business benefits of eliminating silos of data and utilizing a single ERP software system. By understanding these benefits, companies can understand how to simplify their operational processes.

  1. Reduce Costs: Challenged to do more with less, many IT departments are finding that the cost of maintaining multiple business systems is simply too high. With a single software system in place, companies can eliminate many of the costs associated with IT, including high implementation, integration, training, and support costs. Additionally, many companies experience reduction in overall license costs when moving to a single business system approach.
  2. Single Point of Control: Another major benefit of a single ERP system is the “single point of control.” A single software system will be the trusted source of information for an organization. By integrating all business processes into a single system, companies are able to simplify business workflow and increase productivity and efficiency.
  3. Eliminate Redundant Data Entry. Eliminating redundant data entry improves productivity. Companies can also gain organization-wide insight across the applications through one easy-to-use and familiar interface. For example, inventory, formulation, production, and lot and batch control updates are processed once with real-time transactional posting.
  4. Improve Data Integrity: As the sole system for all company data, enterprise wide ERP is perfectly suited for organizations that require high levels of data integrity and control. With a sin-gle software solution, business information will be entered in one central location and will always be the same across company departments and locations.
  5. Better Business Insight: Access to business critical data - no matter where it's located - is needed for rapid, effective decision making. By integrating all departments into one business system, companies have accurate, up-to-the minute information about product costs, sales trends, profit margins, and more.
  6. Respond to Changing Business Conditions: Responding quickly to business needs can be the key to gaining and keeping a competitive edge. But disparate IT systems can get in the way. A single enterprise wide software system that is flexible and easy to use can play a critical role in helping your business achieve the agility it requires to respond and adapt to changing business conditions.
  7. Speed and Simplify Training: When utilizing a single software system, user training and adoption is easier and faster. Since employees only have one system to learn and use, as opposed to several different software interfaces, companies save time and effort during the training process.
  8. Manage Support: One software system means one software vendor, which prevents multiple vendors from passing software issues off to other software vendors. Also, instead of calling multiple support help desks, there is one support team responsible for addressing all of a company’s software questions or issues.
  9. Minimal Maintenance: Overall, since software maintenance is lower, support issues are fewer with a single system. Rather than juggling support issues for numerous systems, a company’s IT department can handle the regular updates and backups for one software system. Single systems also keep network issues to a minimum.
  10. Easier Upgrade Process: In addition to minimal maintenance, enterprise wide systems are easier to up-grade, too. Multiple software systems can conflict when one system is updated and no longer works correctly with another system. These differences are eliminated with single system upgrades.

Overall, the benefits of a single software system fulfill the original intentions of ERP as it allows companies to manage their business as simply and efficiently as possible.