The automation technology company GMT Europe sees the complete integration of the entire application landscape and deliberately lean internal IT as the basis for sustainable and dynamic growth. With Business Central Cloud, Dynamics 365 for Sales and Office 365, SaaS solutions from Microsoft form the core of the IT strategy.
"We want to move forward with our core business and not concentrate on system environments, installations and updates" - this is how Thorben Windeler, Managing Director of GMT Europe GmbH, sums up the IT requirements. As an independent subsidiary of a Taiwanese company, GMT Europe distributes and supplies high-quality solutions in the field of linear guides and drive technology in Europe.
In the founding phase, there was an ad hoc need for commercial software in all areas such as merchandise management, invoicing and CRM. This demand was initially met at short notice with smaller standard software packages. With the successful growth, these solutions increasingly reached their limits and hindered the further expansion of the company. GMT Europe was thus faced with a fundamental renewal of the entire business application landscape.
It can't be our goal to build a large IT team. We therefore rely entirely on modern cloud solutions and corresponding SaaS rental models.
In the SaaS model, short for Software-as-a-Service, the software is operated by the manufacturer on a centrally used environment in the cloud and offered to customers in the form of a monthly service. The SaaS model is particularly interesting for companies that need a fast solution without their own IT infrastructure, rely on proven best practices in standard processes and want to avoid high initial investments in licenses and customization.
GMT Europe evaluated various ERP vendors and industry solutions as well as the operational options offered by various system houses. One of the key decision criteria was the clear goal of a fully integrated solution landscape - especially for ERP and CRM. In addition, the scalable product platform will accompany the growth of the company for decades.
As two Microsoft SaaS solutions, Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, have already been used intensively, it was obvious to use Microsoft products in the rental model for ERP as well. In view of the requirements, Business Central Cloud as software and TSO-DATA as service provider quickly emerged as favourites. In a one-day workshop, TSO-DATA convincingly presented the implementation of the previously defined requirements with Business Central Cloud.
At the end of 2018 and with the official publication of Business Central Cloud in Germany, the project started with the installation of the system and the transfer of historical and current data from the existing SAGE solution. At the beginning of January 2019, GMT Europe was already able to handle merchandise management, purchasing, sales and warehouse management via Business Central Cloud. Initial processes in financial accounting were also fully operational. The standard functional scope of Business Central Cloud was more than sufficient. Only minor adjustments, such as the adaptation of pricing for orders in Taiwanese dollars and the use of barcodes, were implemented by TSO-DATA.
The deployment of Microsoft Business Central in the Microsoft Cloud was another strategic advantage for GMT Europe.
GMT Europe can thus access a broad spectrum of established integration and interface scenarios.
The GMT Europe team is excited about how Microsoft Business Central Cloud links all data and serves as a central platform for all commercial or product-related data. This is particularly evident in the integration with the web shop. All data in the web shop is always drawn from the ERP. This includes, for example, all product descriptions, images, data sheets or instructions for more than 4,000 products. This completely eliminates the need for an independent product data management system, as this functionality is also provided by Microsoft Business Central Cloud.
Customers not only automatically see all relevant product data in the web shop, but also availability, customer-specific prices and completed and open orders. Customer data can also be maintained independently in the system. Webshop and ERP are integrated via a ready-made extension from Microsoft AppSource. Via the webshop, important marketplaces such as Wer-liefert-was or Google are always supplied with current data.
For small and medium-sized businesses, SaaS solutions such as Microsoft Business Central Cloud represent an interesting option for IT that is both lean and scalable. Like no other approach, the SaaS model offers fast access to a comprehensive range of functions without having to set up complex structures in-house or at an IT service partner.
The various applications from Microsoft Business Central to Microsoft Office allow secure access to the required information and processes at any time and from anywhere via apps or web clients. If desired, GMT Europe employees can use the advantages of working in a home office.
The scalability of Business Central Cloud optimally supports our dynamic growth. We can adapt to our fluctuating demand for licenses on a monthly basis and control all IT issues via a central administration. Our IT is super slim: apart from a small Windows server for user administration, we do not operate any IT infrastructure components of our own. All central systems are operated securely and well protected in the Microsoft cloud - with an efficiency and up-to-dateness that we could never present internally.
"TSO-DATA was the only IT partner we evaluated who understood our desire for a truly lean yet scalable IT and who advised us openly and very concretely to wait for the market launch of Business Central Cloud instead of using Dynamics NAV as a local or hosted installation," says Windeler, praising the smooth cooperation. "It is very pleasant for us that we have a contact person at TSO-DATA for all our questions who has worked his way deep into our requirements and special features. At the same time, the team behind it is so broadly positioned that we can always fall back on sound expert knowledge".
In addition, medium-sized customers such as GMT Europe benefit from the know-how that TSO-DATA has built up over many years in IT projects. From this, TSO-DATA adaptiv has developed a specific methodology for cloud projects that guarantees rapid project implementation and execution.
Faced with a new task, the experts from TSO-DATA also look to the left and right for a simple solution and recommend, for example, an existing extension from the Microsoft AppSource instead of developing their own cost-intensive special solutions.
With the introduction of Business Central Cloud as a central ERP, GMT Europe can optimally support all core processes and implement maximum efficiency and transparency. At the same time, this has created a solid basis for further digitization of the company: In the future, for example, the entire accounting department will be supplied with data from Business Central Cloud via a standardized DATEV interface. This makes particular sense, as the majority of bookings in the retail business are generated from merchandise management. To better support the marketing processes, Dynamics 365 for Marketing was introduced and the connection of marketplaces and GoogleAds was optimized with the Channable extension.
Today we have an integrated system with which we can perfectly support the entire process chain from the customer's first Google search to after-sales service. This makes us both efficient and agile for change. We have thus implemented our idea of Sales 4.0 and are well prepared for our further growth.
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