The key to business success today usually presents itself in a square shape – namely in the form of the digital devices and applications that employees use on a daily basis. If it’s remotely accessing a sensitive document, working on the data of the latest customer inquiry or on the purchase order from last week, these are examples of workflows, data and business processes that need to be managed digitally by every company nowadays. It is crucial that this can be handled smoothly, intuitively and addresses today’s employees’ need for remote work and collaboration. At the same time, companies need to ensure the highest level of security. Managing customer relations and resource planning also requires solutions that fit the company’s IT environment and support them in achieving their business goals. Addressing this, Konica Minolta is cooperating with Microsoft to offer strong tools for a wide range of modern office solutions, as well as CRM and ERP related applications, that are implemented and adjusted on the basis of the customer’s needs. Konica Minolta is therefore providing tailor-made solutions that can at the same time be integrated seamlessly with existing systems. The combination of Konica Minolta’s expertise and deep customer understanding with the excellent applications from Microsoft is creating a substantial benefit – especially for SMEs.
Business process solutions that fit and connect seamlessly
CRM and ERP solutions have key roles in digitally supporting the in- and outbound processes of the front and back-office. Digitalising these processes opens the door to boosting a company’s efficiency and helps to seize new business opportunities. It enables fact-based, intelligent decision-making and action: a powerful CRM can be a driver for sales, market development and customer service, as it holds the key to understanding a customer with his specific requirements. A strong ERP is essential for effectively managing a company’s resources, financing and operations. Consequently, CRM and ERP solutions were ranked highest priority for investments by senior IT managers in 2018. However, between different departments and industries, but also company structures, the required specifications for these solutions can vary significantly. At the same time, they necessarily need to be capable of being integrated into and connected with existing systems.
To provide its customers with the best possible solution in this field, Konica Minolta joins forces with Microsoft to enlarge its portfolio with a wide range of business process solutions. Besides its excellent office software, Microsoft has recently been named a leader for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms by Gartner, including its cloud-platform Azure and the business intelligence Power BI, both of which are also deployed by Konica Minolta.
To find the best solution for every customer, Konica Minolta’s implementation process begins with an in-depth business and technical analysis of the customers’ existing systems and with the related requirements and needs. Based on this analysis, an ideal approach is defined: through the collaboration with Microsoft, a choice from a variety of approaches and solutions is possible. In particular, three main ways of implementing various applications may be applied – expand the current solution, build a new one or connect several solutions.
Expand: if existing solutions can be used, Konica Minolta implements and configures the CRM or ERP applications from Microsoft. This can be a ‘horizontal’ solution – such as Dynamics 365 for example – that can be used for a wide range of industries or requirements. Furthermore, the Intelligence Suite of Business Applications comes with a broad range of different CRM- and ERP-related functionalities. It can also be a ‘vertical’ one, already optimised for the needs of specific industries and departments, such as Automotive CRM, for.CARE for social and governmental customers or one for.RealEstate purposes. The Human Capital Management application also offers a variety of HR-related functionalities. The main benefit is the quick implementation – the experts at Konica Minolta are able to expand an IT system within a few weeks.
Build: for a very specific solution, Konica Minolta can also utilise Microsoft’s Power Platform to build a required software-package ‘from scratch’. While the implementation phase is usually a bit longer, it brings together two important factors: tailor-made to the customer’s specific needs, while still being in standard formats that ensure compatibility with other systems. The so-called Rapid Application Development can take about three months, delivering a fully customised software solution. The biggest benefit of this platform is that it uses the same data source and data structure as other Dynamics 365 applications, which decreases the costs of implementation as no data integration is needed.
Connect: in this case, Konica Minolta uses existing custom solutions and integrates required data through Common Data Storage to craft a new application, founded on fully custom-developed technologies. Since the data remains compatible, the new solution fits seamlessly into the current IT environment to match the customer’s needs. Relying on the common ground of the software saves time because of the compatibility of the used data while still supplying a unique product.
These different options ensure that every customer can be served with the optimal solution, making their business future-ready. Jaromir Sponar emphasises the benefits for SMEs: “By cooperating with Microsoft and utilising their applications, we are able to offer our customers from small and medium-sized businesses systems and functionalities previously only available to larger enterprises.”
Powerful duo for state-of-the-art office solutions
Most users know Microsoft for its office software. Konica Minolta and Microsoft cooperate here as well – in providing Modern Workplace Microsoft 365, a cloud-based solution that improves secured digital working. This offers their customers not only the office tool set-up they need, but also powerful office systems that help them to future-proof the way their employees work.
Microsoft Teams is one example of those office solutions: this platform reduces complexity by enabling employees to work on and share documents simultaneously. Accessing the cloud-based application from outside the organisation is possible, while the smart security systems adapt to the changing environment and require two-factor-authentication or conditional access. Microsoft’s office solutions ensure a high level of security as well, as they protect every file individually.
Based on a thorough analysis by Konica Minolta, the solution is implemented to match the exact requirements of the customer. The key is the understanding of the customer’s IT environment to implement a tailor-made solution from Microsoft’s software, including Microsoft Office 365 and Teams.
Konica Minolta partners with Microsoft to widen the office and business solutions it offers
As an IT specialist, Konica Minolta has grown constantly, both through organic growth as well as strategic acquisitions. This rising importance is also reflected in the provider’s inclusion in Gartner’s global top 100 IT vendors ranking. In fact, expanding its business with Microsoft solutions was a central goal in Konica Minolta’s M&A activities. Microsoft is one of the big players for software solutions, well-known for its innovative IT software. The IT giant is able to cover every region in the world with its broad range of products.
Those outstanding software solutions combined with Konica Minolta’s customer understanding has led to a mutually beneficial partnership. Both can look back on a long, successful collaboration: in the course of its market entry with enterprise managed content services, Konica Minolta collaborated with Microsoft on their SharePoint products. 2014 Konica Minolta became a certified Microsoft Service Provider, with customers in more than 20 countries in Europe alone.
“The partnership with Microsoft enables us to combine our core competencies and trusted customer relationships with the best-secured, scalable and sustainable technology in order to flexibly build solutions for businesses,” explains Jaromir Sponar about the partnership. Today, the jointly offered products cover a wide range of functions in the field of managing content and processes digitally: the cloud solution Modern Workplace Microsoft 365 as well as numerous applications for almost every business in the field of CRM and ERP.
A real impact through Konica Minolta and Microsoft – regardless of the industry or department
For applications as adaptive as those from Microsoft, provided by Konica Minolta, no limitations to departments or industries remain. In the Czech Republic, for example, Konica Minolta realised impactful projects with Microsoft solutions. The chemical enterprise Spolchemie needed a new ERP system since the old one was running out of support, which raised concerns about compliance and security. The solution the company first applied after that caused problems during implementation and usage, so Spolchemie had to change its system once again. After Konica Minolta IT Solutions Czech analysed Spolchemie’s requirements, Microsoft Dynamics 365 (prior AX) was adapted according to the results and implemented without any problems – while production was running without any negative impacts on the processes. On the other hand, Microsoft Dynamics 365 provided valuable insights, with which Spolchemie was able to improve its production: optimise inventory levels and margins as well as perform smart calculations for prices for production material, creating a powerful benefit. Another example is the innovative Czech energy supplier Amper Market. As the company grew, so did its software requirements: the old system with separated applications was eventually unable to cope with Amper Market’s increasing demands. The experts at Konica Minolta IT Solutions Czech specifically crafted a tailored solution for Amper Market based on Microsoft Dynamics 365. The holistic solution covers all of the requirements - from product and process management to price list structuring and multi-level pricing.
Deep customer understanding meets excellent solutions
“Having a strong partner – like Microsoft – enables us to provide our customers with a broad range of well-known and adjustable applications for almost any needs,” concludes Jaromir Sponar.
Fitting with Konica Minolta’s approach to cooperating with the best, Microsoft is an ideal partner in terms of its solutions for CRM, ERP and digital workflows as well as its overall standing as an enterprise. The expertise in information management and business processes at Konica Minolta and its deep understanding of customers’ needs, combined with Microsoft’s well known-solutions, leads to a beneficial situation for both companies and – most importantly – for their customers.
 Where senior IT managers plan to spend their budget; ComputerWeekly.com; 2018; https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252434184/IT-Priorities-2018-Where-senior-IT-managers-plan-to-spend-their-budget
 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms; Microsoft; 2019; https://info.microsoft.com/ww-landing-gartner-mq-bi-analytics-2019.html?ls=Website
 Gartner, Market Insight: Gartner Global Top 100 IT Vendors in 2018, John-David Lovelock, 17 May 2019