An Example of Creative Employees Using Microsoft Dynamics AX in a Way the CIO Never Expected

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ERP software systems for billion dollar companies are rarely described as “friendly and familiar”. And employees rarely have the freedom to easily customize the system when they see a way to make their business unit more productive. But that is exactly what happened for DENTSPLY, a $2.2 billion dollar global manufacturer of dental products for professionals, that is using Microsoft Dynamics AX.

At Convergence 2012 I had the chance to interview Bill Schlageter, the Vice President and CIO of DENTSPLY. Bill gave insight into why his company had chosen Dynamics AX over some of the large tier one ERP competitors and the benefits of having a single instance of Dynamics AX running globally which gives them global control with local flexibility. The system has been able to scale to their size and help them meet all their regulatory requirements. These are the benefits a CIO would expect and demand.  But Bill also mentioned a unique benefit that came from Dynamics AX – the flexibility of the system allows his employees to be creative and find uses for the software far beyond traditional ERP functions.

What did Dynamics AX do for you that you did not expect?

“I had implemented some of the other big solutions before and people are intimidated by the big stuff. The learning curve for using a system like SAP means that people are a little afraid of it. The user interface is not as friendly, the processes are not so obvious, and it is not intuitive. So people don’t do a lot; they only use the tip of the iceberg.  With Dynamics AX we almost have the opposite problem; because it is so friendly and so familiar, people seem to kind of drift and use it in ways we did not anticipate. Which is good. They are flexing the system and taking the tool we implemented and using it in ways we did not fully realize they could,” says Bill Schlageter.

Can you give an example of how your team used Dynamics AX in a way you did not anticipate?

Schlageter replies, “There is not too much I can share, as it would be specific to our business processes. But one good example is how one of our business groups tracks advertising campaign success rates through Dynamics AX. When we do a magazine campaign we put a campaign ID in the advertisement. When we take the order on the telephone, if they say they are buying off of an advertisement, we ask for the campaign ID and we can see the effectiveness of the campaign. We do that through Dynamics AX (instead of another system) because the order came in through Dynamics AX. We did not even know there was a need for this. And they figured it out themselves. They saw a field they could use as a campaign ID and thought we could maybe tie special pricing to it and then we could measure the effectiveness of the print ad.”

Choosing an ERP Software that can handle the debits and credits is important; but getting a system that allows your employees to be innovative, that is priceless.

Read More about Microsoft Dynamics AX

By Anya Ciecierski, Editor, ERP Software Blog

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