Azure Digital Transformation To Stay Ahead Of The Game


VNB Consulting assisted a leading manufacturer of fitness equipment attain higher productivity and reduce its time-to-market by 85% by leveraging Microsoft Azure for digital transformation

Customer Profile

A global leader specialized in designs, production and marketing of award-winning fitness equipment’s interested in an Azure digital transformation.

Customer Situation

azure digital transformation vnb consulting

The IT infrastructure of the Customer was quite elaborate but lacked the sophistication to meet their ever-growing business needs. The legacy IT setup of the Customer consisted of the following key components: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 on-prem solution which was dated and thereby lacked the feature enhancements of a modern CRM platform. Also, one of the companies acquired by the Customer was using a 3rd party CRM, Maximizer, Exchange 2013 SP3 as their email client, which lagged on compliance, security and speed needed for a productive workforce. A Point-of-Sales (POS) Retail App used by retailers which was a remote desktop app that was built on on-prem machines, causing issues like loss of sessions, interrupted service and longer connection time. Apart from the applications and tools that were not as sophisticated, Customer also lacked a backend application integration or middleware platform to connect the tools to streamline the business processes and operations. These tools worked in silos and the information from these standalone applications could not be brought to use to its potential. A SAP ERP module, which was not integrated with the Dynamics CRM system and as such, the data from ERP and CRM had to be pulled out individually, then collated manually to derive some usable insights. However, the real value power of their existing data remained untapped due to lack of data integration and a comprehendible dashboard.

Our Solution Offering

azure digital transformation

For a business of Customer’s magnitude and complexities attributed to diverse systems and applications, VNB Consulting proposed ‘Azure Digital Transformation’ as a strategy to keep pace with the market needs and scale up to sustain their market share and leadership position. The idea was to transform the overall infrastructure with the power of modern technology and tools, and upgrades while retaining some of the legacy components, to attain faster time-to-market, lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), smoother customer transactions for overall competitive gain. After a detailed assessment of the current IT setup of Customer, the digital transformation solution package proposed and implemented by VNB Consulting is as under: The legacy Dynamics 2013 CRM solution of Customer was outdated in the current age of digitization; it is imperative to have a 360-degree view of customer data in seconds and have ability to build custom workflows for the sales organizations to function in an optimal manner. Our team was instrumental in setting up the new Microsoft Dynamics 2016 CRM solution including application, database and report server, and configured it to the existing Active Directory (AD) of Customer. VNB Consulting also managed the data migration flow from the previous version to the upgraded CRM application, set up user roles and privileges, and built custom dashboards. The new CRM application allowed Customer’s sales teams to have a CRM that is also available on mobile devices, so they could work on-the-go and have tailored dashboards based on their unique metrics. It was also quintessential that Customer had uniform technology platforms for all its acquisitions, so they could function like an integrated business unit. VNB Consulting enabled the migration of Star Fitness’ CRM platform from Maximizer to Dynamics 2016, thereby building a consolidated customer relationship management suite for the conglomerate. After the implementation of Dynamics 2016, the next step for VNB Consulting was to build a centralized data warehouse on Microsoft Azure to extract, store and consolidate the data from the CRM and SAP ERP solutions. This Integrated Dashboard Solution connected the two data applications (Microsoft CRM and SAP ERP) via Azure Data Factory and powered by Microsoft Power BI to build a consolidated dashboard with self-service capability for actionable business insights. This enabled Customer to tap into the true potential of their data from diverse data sources/applications. For email client, VNB Consulting implemented Exchange 2016 Enterprise with Office 365 Business (Exchange online), attributed to its innate superior features including document collaboration, scalable architecture, Outlook on the web which is also responsive on mobile devices, along with security and compliance. Customer’s 800 mail-enables users were hybrid configuration-enabled, which meant they could send and receive emails from both on-premise Exchange and Exchange online as they moved their mailboxes. Also, this helped the customer synchronize its users, distribution groups and ‘rooms and equipment’ objects on Active directory and enabled single sign-on with Active Directory Federation Service (ADFS). The business users had self-service password reset tool enabled, using the Azure AD Premium to reset the password by the users while not connected to the on-premises AD. In addition, VNB Consulting considered the inefficiency of the POS retail app on on-prem servers and built a Remote Desktop Solution (RDS) to host the app. The RDS on Microsoft Azure is highly scalable and as such, reduced session downtime and load balancing issues to a large extent. This enhanced the experience for both retailers as well as end customers. Last but not the least, these diverse apps from multiple vendors that were disparately located, had to be integrated together to build a connected business workflow for Customer. The most feasible solution was Microsoft BizTalk and Azure Logic Apps, this middleware platform was installed to connect the components of Customer’s IT infrastructure like SAP ERP, Dynamics CRM and their shipping vendor UPS, along with that of the e-commerce platforms and their in-built applications like Taxware for tax calculation, JP Morgan Chase’s platform for financial transactions. As a result, the customer transactions became seamless and smoother, enhancing the user experience and satisfaction.

Customer Benefits

  • A host of applications like the RDS for POS Retail App or Integrated Dashboard Solution were built on Microsoft Azure, which doesn’t not require any investment in infrastructure and is based on pay-as-you-go pricing model. As such, Customer now pays only for what it uses, reducing the total TCO by a significant percentage.
  • Further building on the benefits of the cloud, Customer is now an extremely agile organization which is equally efficient in times of high demand as Microsoft Azure allows easy scaling-up (and down) of infrastructure depending on the customers’ needs.
  • With a common reusable platform for e-commerce websites, Customer can now add a new e-commerce website to its network with minimal latency and resources, accelerating the process by 85%.
  • Customer achieved superior employee productivity with both Exchange 2016 and Dynamics CRM 2016 that enabled employees manage tasks from anywhere, in real-time. Employees were enabled to handle their mails and calendars as well as their CRM application on their devices, bringing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept to life, which has tremendously accelerated the productivity of its employees.

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