Paul Demery , Chief Technology Editor
Independent office supplier predicts improved operations, Web commerce, and data analysis and reports, and a return on investment in less than half the targeted time.
REDMOND, Wash. - March 28, 2007 - Allen Impact Services LLC, one of the nation’s largest independent office product suppliers, has switched its Web commerce and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to Microsoft Dynamics™ AX and the MBS Dev Office Product Vertical Extensions for Dynamics AX.
The Beltsville, Md., company is transitioning from its present Systems House ERP system to a combination of Microsoft Dynamics and industry-specific applications developed by MBS Dev Inc., a Microsoft Certified Partner that customizes Microsoft Dynamics AX to meet the computing needs of office suppliers and other vertical industries.
MBS Dev designed the specialized Microsoft Dynamics system to help independent office suppliers such as Allen Impact not only compete with nationwide office supply mega-chain stores, but also extend the customer service and convenience benefits of those suppliers to their online commerce and other IT systems.
“Two things drive the online office supply industry: a great front-end experience for customers when placing orders, and flexible, customized reports,” said Bill Ratcliffe, president of Allen Impact. “Microsoft Dynamics AX provides the advanced technology and sophisticated user experience that will allow us to compete with any office supplier, even the massive nationwide chains.”
Ratcliffe predicts the Microsoft Dynamics AX system’s combination of advanced features and customization will shorten Allen Impact’s recovery of its technology investment to less than 18 months - roughly half the time the company initially targeted. Specific product features and benefits on which the company bases its prediction include the following:
• Go-with-the-flow Web ordering. The simplicity of the MBS Dev online business-to-business order entry and its underlying Microsoft® technology is already paying dividends for Allen Impact. The company gave a pilot group of customers a 20-minute training session on how to place orders on its new Web commerce site. Of those 50 customers, only one has called Allen Impact with questions or concerns. “The flow of the processes, the flow of the information, the cleanness and crispness - they all make it very easy,” Ratcliffe said. • Quick analysis and reports. The Microsoft SQL Server™ data analysis tools built into Microsoft Dynamics AX reduce the time needed to create customized reports for customers, and they perform large database queries of sales and profit trends. A typical query that took six hours with Allen Impact’s old ERP system now takes 15 seconds. This will enable employees to look for hidden data trends by performing dozens of queries in a fraction of the time it used to take them to perform a single query. • Easy transition. As with many companies, staff members at Allen Impact feared that the transition to a new ERP system would hamper business. So far it hasn’t, and Ratcliffe said he expects it won’t because of the highly intuitive and familiar Microsoft Office interfaces, controls and workflows available throughout Microsoft Dynamics AX. “With Microsoft Dynamics AX, being smaller than those mega-chain supply stores is no longer a competitive disadvantage within vertical industries such as office supplies,” said Michael Park, corporate vice president for U.S. Microsoft Dynamics business at Microsoft Corp. “Businesses such as Allen Impact can go toe-to-toe with any competitor, offering customers the convenience of online ordering and customized reports and benefiting themselves from Microsoft Dynamics AX’s data analysis and other advanced resource planning tools.” About MBS Dev MBS Dev, Inc. is a Colorado corporation founded to assist Microsoft Dynamics AX customers with distribution industry vertical solutions, development requirements and support services. MBS Dev, Inc. is a certified Value Added Reseller (VAR) and Independent Software Vendor (ISV) partner for Microsoft Dynamics AX. About Allen Impact Allen Impact Services, LLC was formed in December of 2003, when George W. Allen Company, Inc. and Impact Office Products, Inc. decided to share common services. Located in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, this partnership brought together two of the largest independent office product companies and their national customer base. The companies’ customer base was expanded to include GWA’s large Government presence and Impact’s extensive National commercial accounts. The individual partnerships with Councell Computer Products and Deskmate remains intact, and offers organizations minority, SBA 8(a), alternatives for their office product needs. About Microsoft Dynamics Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business. About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since 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/presspass/contactpr.mspx.