Guest post by Ben Rohling, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft Dynamics ERP

Kati Hvidtfeldt has moved on to lead application program management for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. With the discontinuation of Kati Unplugged, we will continue to give partners perspectives on the benefits and challenges of offering cloud-based solutions to their customers.

In this week’s post, Microsoft’s Ben Rohling gives some examples of small businesses that have made big strides in their business growth and development with Microsoft Dynamics ERP in the cloud—examples partners can use to demonstrate value to customers.

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Ben Rohling 2013For forward-thinking customers, being the best at what they do means making the most of the resources available. Smart businesses know that a single long-term investment—if it’s the right investment—can become the catalyst that sets business transformation in motion.

Partners can help their customers by giving them examples of how businesses of all kinds are breaking out from the competitive pack by implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. By investing in their processes and systems, companies are tackling their challenges, moving to a new way of doing business, and driving growth.

One of the best benefits of my job is connecting and learning from customers. Here are two real accounts from real businesses that have made real change in their businesses with Microsoft Dynamics ERP in the cloud.

Amax Incorporated distributes office products to more than 800 retailers in the US under the Stanley Bostitch brand. The company needed an out-of-the-box ERP solution that would be easy to implement, keep operations lean, and support continued growth. And with fluctuating margins they needed insights to help them make the right pricing decisions, a challenge that others in their business space struggle with.

After evaluating three competing ERP products, Amax deployed Microsoft Dynamics GP in the cloud, enabling the company to be up and running quickly and get easy access from anywhere. The new implementation has brought big benefits:

1. Business insights: Now employees across the company have visibility that enables them to manage inventory, optimize sales performance, and process large volumes of work efficiently.

2. Sales support: Sales people have access to real-time, accurate margin analysis that supports sales promotions and product mix suggestions to help customers take advantage of pricing opportunities.

With improved visibility into their ever-changing inventory costs, Amax has not only leveled out its margins, but increased them, improving cash flow in the process. Competitors that lack access to accurate margin data don’t stand a chance in tight negotiations.

Faribault Woolen Mills is the oldest family-run business in the US. They closed their doors in 2009, after the economic downturn. When they were able to regroup and reopen, they were basically a startup, and they wanted to do it the right way.

To minimize the costs of acquisition and ongoing maintenance, the company chose Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud. Faribault has gotten considerable value around getting up and running quickly and easily, and understanding their business like they never could before. Faribault’s leaders have told us about three other benefits to their new system:

1. Ease of use and access: Employees across the company can get free access to the information they need, and it’s easy to produce reports in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.

2. Accurate accounting: In their words, “Accurate accounting is not to be taken for granted.”

3. Business insights: Fairbault now has effective tools for cost, production, inventory, and financials to give them insights into productivity and help them plan for the future.

Faribault is now able to deliver a quality product at the best possible price. Sales growth has allowed the company to add new jobs to the local economy, growing from 38 to 50 employees in 2011, and now more than 100 in 2012.

We have scores of examples like these for partners to use. For more details on these three stories, including demos, view the full, on-demand webcast “Brilliant Ideas to Outsmart the Competition with Microsoft Dynamics ERP,” or download the white paper, “25 Brilliant Ideas to Outsmart Your Competition with Microsoft Dynamics ERP.”

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Join the US Microsoft Dynamics US Partner Team for a recognition and networking event with Microsoft Dynamics leaders, SPLA Cloud Services Providers and Marketing Service Bureau vendors. Tuesday, March 19, 6:00-8:00PM, at The Foundry, New Orleans. Open bar and food provided. Space is limited. Register today!

To learn more about how to incorporate cloud-based solutions into your business plans visit the Microsoft Dynamics Countdown to the Cloud page on PartnerSource. Go to www.microsoft.com/dynamics/growyourbusiness for resources that demonstrate to customers how Microsoft Dynamics ERP cloud, hybrid and on-premise solutions can benefit their businesses.