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Accenture implemented the company's first-ever Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution.
Based on Clarify technology, the program provided enhanced CRM features, as well as data warehouse capabilities. At the same time, the project team revamped Ivoclar Vivadent's website and consolidated content and images into a single site with a consistent voice.
A company with an exceptional reputation, Ivoclar Vivadent needed a change to improve its performance and continue to grow the business. Its global operations across 16 countries were decentralized, thus creating ever-increasing obstacles in keeping pace with customer expectations, operating efficiently and competing globally.
The lack of a consistent, global brand image and effective customer relationship management tools hindered the company's ability to fully serve its customers. In addition, too much time was being spent sorting data inconsistencies from different IT systems, many of which were legacy systems no longer supported by the original software provider. The company also needed more sophisticated system capabilities to meet various new reporting needs.
To pave the way for future growth and expansion, Ivoclar Vivadent knew it had to transform the company to move to a higher level of performance. It started with an overarching business strategy, a key component of which was a new global IT plan. "We realized we needed to implement a number of major initiatives, including the standardization of our major business processes and an overhaul of our information infrastructure across all of our companies around the world," said Georg Abderhalden, head of IT for Ivoclar Vivadent headquarters.
But Ivoclar Vivadent had only a small IT personnel base and no experience in implementing such projects on a global scale. This was to be the largest IT undertaking in the company's history. To make its ideas a reality, Ivoclar Vivadent turned to Accenture because of our proven experience to manage complex IT infrastructure projects on a global level, its expertise in the relevant technologies, its execution of value-driven processes and focus on results-based business outcomes. Accenture's network of alliances, particularly with SAP and Microsoft, were additional key deciding factors in Ivoclar Vivadent selecting Accenture as a key partner.
A multidisciplinary Accenture team began collaborating with Ivoclar Vivadent on structuring a master plan to achieve the company's strategic objectives. The result was a series of projects set up under a single, companywide program.
Accenture was asked to manage the program and work with Ivoclar Vivadent on each of the projects, including:
Focusing First on the CustomerAccenture helped deliver the program in phases, the first of which was to improve Ivoclar Vivadent's focus on its customers. The Accenture team implemented the company's first ever Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. Based on Clarify technology, the program provided enhanced CRM features, as well as data warehouse capabilities. At the same time, the project team revamped Ivoclar Vivadent's website and consolidated content and image into a single site with a consistent voice.
Laying the IT FoundationThe next major phase of work was to lay the foundation for Ivoclar Vivadent's global IT infrastructure and enterprise solutions by standardizing common global processes. This task is often a challenge in global organizations, and proved to be the case for Ivoclar Vivadent. The effort meant the various Ivoclar Vivadent companies around the world had to change established ways and agree on single processes for managing financial resources, order to cash, production, supply sourcing and inter-company demand fulfillment. Accenture, however, helped by setting up a separate master data consolidation project and controlling the results with rigorous program management.
Establishing a common, global process model significantly impacted efficiency within the company early in the program in terms of reporting and information sharing. "Globally uniform financial and controlling processes will allow us to better assess the quality of management reports and to prepare for companywide management decisions," said Walter Heidelberger, Ivoclar Vivadent CFO.
Another key component to laying the infrastructure foundation was to build a new virtual private network to connect the company's e-mail and data traffic among its locations. The new virtual private network was Ivoclar Vivadent's first time for connecting all company locations.
Both of these major initiatives were necessary in order to implement the technologies outlined in the strategic IT plan, which was based on Microsoft technologies. Ivoclar Vivadent selected Microsoft Windows 2000 as its strategic global platform for operating systems, database management systems and office applications. It viewed Microsoft as a provider of future innovative solutions. Using a single supplier also would keep IT and training costs down. Having one common platform makes the complete office environment more stable and provides a foundation to exchange data and documentation among the many sites involved in the project.
Accenture also helped to establish Ivoclar Vivadent's new IT organization to operate as a virtual team of people from different countries. The company benefits by concentrating skills to operate a small number of products including Microsoft and SAP, thus further leveraging knowledge and reducing IT costs.
Implementing the New TechnologiesThe implementation of the core SAP enterprise solutions constitutes the biggest phase of the program, in terms of resources, scope and change. A cost analysis determined that the SAP solution suite on Microsoft servers would be more cost-effective than any other option for the size of the business. To speed system development, Accenture leveraged our global SAP technical and functional architecture skills, detailed methodology and extensive implementation track record.
An integrated Ivoclar Vivadent, Accenture, and subcontractor team implemented SAP 4.6C that included six modules: material management, sales and distribution, production planning, warehouse management and financial accounting/controlling. SAP Business Connector 4.6 was used for middleware for electronic data exchange with subsidiaries, customers and some subsystems. The SAP presentation servers use Windows 2000 Professional; the application servers run Windows 2000 Advanced Server; and the database servers work with Windows 2000 Cluster Server and SQL Server 2000.
During the span of three years, Ivoclar Vivadent's new core SAP solution is being rolled out to key countries, including Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany, France and the United States. Each location will receive the core system, along with country-specific customization. To provide ongoing application support, Ivoclar Vivadent uses Accenture's SAP Run Center in Kronberg, Germany, for external third-level support. Microsoft support is now organized on a global level rather than by local subsidiaries.
While still under way, Ivoclar Vivadent's program is already having a positive impact on the way Ivoclar Vivadent conducts business. The company now has common standards and processes, greater connection between people among its different sites and better knowledge about its customers.
Greater optimization and growth are more of a reality as Ivoclar Vivadent moves closer to finalizing the implementation of its new IT infrastructure. When completed, the company will possess one global standard for IT, a common database and data structure, global access to business data with its data warehouse, and a higher level of IT security in terms of data center backup and disaster recovery.
"The program is the foundation on which we are improving our customer service and operational effectiveness. It is also expected to improve performance by reducing stock levels and shortening delivery lead times," said Christoph Appert, Ivoclar Vivadent program manager. "The entire program is laying the path for further optimization and business growth, an essential step for us in order to gain market share in the increasingly competitive medical products industry."
Through these new capabilities and an improved infrastructure, Ivoclar Vivadent is able to turn its focus from improving operations to achieving higher levels of performance and competitive superiority.
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