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5 Reasons Santa Modernized his ERP system with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations

Santa was happy with his current version of ERP until he realized that his workshop was increasingly producing the wrong gifts and quantities for the good little boys and girls.

In recent years, he has found that there are fewer letters and more electronic mail coming in with Christmas wishes and it is time to embrace change so that the magic of Christmas can continue to thrive.

There are a growing number of apps that follow Santa’s global operations and the digital age is catching up. Managing a multi-site operation through shared master data and business processes is a large undertaking for Mr. Claus.

Since Santa has already been able to track those that have been naughty and nice through Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, he is opting for Dynamics D365 for Finance and Operations (D365 F&O), the cloud-based solution where workspaces are driving productivity, improved workflow and improved reporting capabilities.

Reason #1: Better Integration – Ho Ho Ho

Last Christmas, the warehouse had to stock up on Paw Patrol and Lego gifts, at the very last minute. Santa did not have the insights into his inventory and wish lists as fast as he needed. Santa knew there was a need for better alignment between supply chain and demand. Time is of essence in his world and with D365 F&O Santa finds better integrations and improved visibility into important wish list data.

He can take advantage of many new capabilities, including a common data model with Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement (CRM) and Office 365. In addition, the use of Microsoft Flow for easily creating workflows and notifications, and the ability to leverage advanced analytics scenarios via Cortana Intelligence Suite.

Santa now has the flexibility to build PowerApps to supplement D365 F&O with information retrieved from another system. For a non-technical user like Santa the integration with PowerApps, allows him to build custom business apps for mobile devices, tablets and the Web without writing code. Santa is able to add a PowerApp as his complexities evolve and he can then embed it to extend the product’s functionality for his business.

Reason #2: Mobile – Santa’s Candy Cane

The mobile capability of D365 is a game changer for Santa. The web interface supports most modern browsers, and he is able to access the entire D365 F&O product by browsing to the URL on his tablet or phone while he is on the go, or his computer when he is back in his office. This was a big factor for him as D365 can run on Android, Apple and Microsoft devices that are running with Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox. Santa does not have any limitations of access to his ERP and the Elves do not have to travel with printed spreadsheets and Excel files. As a matter of fact, he can view and interact with reports and dashboards using the Power BI Mobile app for his mobile devices. The reports are accessible on iOS, Android, and Windows 10.

The basic functionality does not change when you log into the Web application. Santa is now able to change the company or legal entity that he is in when he goes over to Asia from North America. He can also access the list of his toy stores from his favorites list, and look at all the different vendor accounts as well. In case Santa needs to reach out to a toy store, he can also see the account, name, hold information, phone numbers, etc. To make Santa’s life even easier, he can search for a specific page using the options at the top of the screen, perform an action search, and use the filter options just like we would on a computer.

The mobile capability for Santa is a delight, as he can easily refresh his mobile device app to make the mobile app update its data or metadata. All from the comfort of his Sleigh.

Workspaces that have been published to Microsoft D365 F&O are visible to all his elves, and if they don’t have access to a specific workspace they will be hidden.

Reason #3: Productivity – The Advent Calendar

Santa is learning all about the digital experience and other neat, groovy things.

An improved interface has allowed his younger, Millennial-generation Elves, to be more productive.

Below are some of the few factors that are contributing to productivity.

Work Space Functionality

With this functionality, the Elves are able to manage the work specifically assigned to them.  A workspace can help drive productivity, as it provides a 360-degree view of an activity eliminating the need to navigate through multiple lists.

The workspaces have been added to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations to give users one location to perform common tasks and to drill into relevant information for their day-to-day tasks.

Workspaces allow you to navigate by data and select what you want to act on so the Elves are able to answer specific questions for Santa, such as, whether or not there any urgent lists that he needs to look at right away.

As an example, in the production control module and production floor management workspace, the Elves are able to see exactly how many jobs they have left to complete. This significantly reduced the time spent filtering to find records for the Santa Operation.

Search Functionality

Santa or the Elves can also use the filter search box to easily find orders or records.

Team Claus, can search across multiple record types all at the same time. The results of the search are shown in groups and sorted by entity type.

Task Recorder Functionality

Santa’s operations run year round, but he knows the Elves are quick learners. He is able to reduce training time for the Elves significantly with the task recorder functionality. Since it is pre-installed and they are able to begin recording business processes immediately. The task recorder also allows them to create documentation and videos for his business processes and scenarios.

Alerts

The joy of brightening a child’s heart creates the magic of Christmas. Santa makes sure changes such as when a little boy goes from the Naughty List to the Nice List, it doesn’t get missed thanks to alerts and notifications. So, when little boys and girls move to the Nice List, a record is created, or if there is an address change, Santa and the Elves are notified.

Alerts have been re- released and contain the same functionality as the 2012 version of Santa’s ERP.

Reason #4: Real Time Business Intelligence – Believe In the Magic

With Dynamics 365 Santa is able to get a real-time, in-memory BI solution that provides the latest information on the performance of the business with new tools (Power BI) for visualizing his data and creating dashboards.

Santa is able to completely customize the Dashboards, with the ability to move tiles around and resize based on what is important to him. Since the visualizations are intended for those at the top of an organization, to help them assess the health of a business, this is exactly what Santa needs. He has access to the CFO dashboard and since he is also the CEO of his organization, he also has access to the CEO Dashboard. There are also several other tools that serve the requirement of a complex operation of delivering millions of toys around the world in one night.

The Power BI integration allows Santa to author and share reports that can be accessed almost anywhere. He can then publish reports and data sets to the Power BI Service portal to create and share dashboards with Mrs. Claus and better prepare for next Christmas. Santa shares a lot of his data with the media and toy companies, where he finds this tool an added benefit.

The dependency on Excel was fairly large in the Santa Operation and it is how he ran his processes before he even had an ERP, so now that this integration is included in Dynamics 365, Santa is a very happy business user. The Excel integration allows him to manage and analyze data, as he used to.  In fact when Santa makes changes to his Excel when he is offline and then hits refresh when he is back online it automatically updates in his ERP system.

Reason #5: Product Evaluation – The Magic of Christmas Never Ends

Santa has been delivering presents to homes in the same city as the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington for years. Established in 1975 Microsoft is a global ERP Vendor and as recognized by Gartner, a visionary in the magic quadrant, due to its board operational ERP functionality, native integration with the Azure platform and technology stack. In addition it received one of the highest overall scores from reference customers for overall midsize operational ERP and discrete manufacturing capabilities.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O supports many countries and languages, which is perfect for him.

Looking ahead and in addition to the core capabilities of Dynamics 365 F&O, what could be next for Santa?

Maybe the Santa Sleigh can get better? He is curious to see how the other integrated capabilities such as IoT, AI, mixed reality and many other capabilities built on Azure will come into play for him in the future.

 

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  Want to know how Hitachi Solutions can help your organization take advantage of the capabilities of Dynamics 365? Contact us today!

 

Reference:   Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product Centric Midsize Enterprises – Published: October 31 2018  ID:G0352582