Citroën Chile is the subsidiary automobile manufacturer Citroën. Its main mission is to exclusively market and distribute new vehicles and original spare parts of the French brand. To optimize its services both in sales and after sales, as well as in technical service, the multinational has welcomed new technological tools specially designed for the sector.
The need for a transformative tool
One of the main needs of Citroën Chile was to implement a robust business management system, which would fully support the company in planning its resources and in raising its business processes. Rodrigo Hernando, General Manager of Citroën Chile, explains: “We had an outdated ERP system that offered little support. We were looking for a tool with a good base to be able to build on it, which also had new capabilities to incorporate into our management”.
The company Congroup, a Microsoft partner and specialized in the implementation of ERP, CRM, and BI solutions for the automotive sector, was in charge of coordinating the digitization of Citroën Chile in implementing Dynamics 365 and Annata 365, a technological tool that integrates with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and reinforces the standard modules with specific functionalities for the automotive industry.
Carlos Caballero, Regional Director at Annata Latin America, extends: “Annata 365 was born with the particular goal of meeting the ERP needs of this industry. We have been accompanying Dynamics 365 for 20 years, and the integration is transparent. The end user doesn’t realize when Dynamics ends and Annata starts.” Hernán Ledezma, IT manager at Citroën Chile, comments on the decision to select the aforementioned partners for the implementation: “We were mainly looking for allies who knew the industry, and a solution that would cover at least 90% of what we needed. We found that with Microsoft and Annata ”.
The references that Citroën Chile had showed that the combined solutions – Annata 365 and Dynamics 365 – would help the organization to face the challenges of the sector in the best possible way. “Another important factor was implementing a visionary product that always carried us forward and did not quickly become obsolete,” adds Ledezma. Annata 365 is deeply integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem, providing special functionalities that support dealers, distributors, and fleet operators to create and take advantage of new market opportunities.
The initial process was fundamental. Prior to the identification of requirements and the diagnostic phase, Citroën Chile proposed to its partners, Annata and Congroup, to hold a series of workshops on strategic management to educate and train their employees in the use of the new ERP, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (with Annata 365 integration). During the workshops, all the functionalities of the tools were shown in detail, with sessions organized according to the management area within Citroën. José García, project manager for Congroup, comments: “Carrying out an initial alignment helped a lot to know the expectations of the solution, in addition to effectively identifying the needs of the moment”.
On the other hand, the use of Microsoft’s Sure Step methodology and the agile methodology (particularly DevOps) was essential during the execution of the project. Sure Step favored the correct implementation of Dynamics 365; Under this technique, the design phase was merged with the development phase, which allowed generating interactions that helped to release the product quickly. For its part, Azure DevOps made it possible to manage the project in a more organized way based on the prioritization of needs, thereby reducing errors during the deployment of the solution. The General Manager of Citroën Chile affirms: “It has been a fairly complex but orderly implementation. The methodologies were used with great discipline, in addition to the commitment and integration of the teams. ”
Annata 365 and Dynamics 365, benefits in practice
The integration between Annata 365 and Dynamics 365 allowed Citroën Chile to have a broader vision of its business. From Annata 365 two specific modules were implemented within Dynamic 365: ‘Supply Chain’ for technical service and vehicle management, and ‘Dealer Portal’ for the purchase of vehicles. Both allow Citroën Chile to integrate dealerships and after-sales workshops. In addition, Annata 365 participates in the entire resource planning system of the company, intervening in the definition and creation of the articles. The modules include, within the ERP, a chain of attributes and value (model, version, accessories, color, etc.) and logistics flows specific to the automotive industry (purchase, storage, preparation, and sale).
In the sales chain, the ‘Dealer Portal’ module opens a window of options towards dealers, allowing them to buy or reserve spare parts and vehicles. Based on the relationship that is established, orders are entered into logistics and then dispatched. On the other hand, the after-sales chain includes key attributes for the relationship with the customer, adapted to the needs of the industry. Some attributes are: schedule reservation, inspection, labor, spare, and billing. In this way, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and Annata 365 accompany the sales force from the first conversation with the customer to the final delivery of the vehicle.
Previously, a large part of the buying, selling and customer service procedures were carried out manually, generating a large list of physical folders of paper documentation. At the end of the process, the sales order was placed and invoiced. With Dynamics 365, today all internal processes are carried out digitally, with the necessary documents, data, and all the history stored online and in the cloud. “With the new system – especially with ‘Dealer Portal’ – we have better control and decision over our business“, completes the General Manager of Citroën Chile.
Dynamics 365 makes it easy to create a Microsoft-based ecosystem
Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations has made the integration of other Microsoft tools more practical. One of them is Power BI, with which access to information for decision-making has now been facilitated. The solution enables real-time reporting and has given IT the ability to access data directly and independently. In addition, with Power BI, specific dashboards have been created for the strategic areas of the business. These include Sales, which is divided into the sale of spare parts and vehicles; Accounting, which presents status and results; After-sales, which includes campaigns and deliveries; and guarantees.
Additionally, Power BI has allowed Citroën Chile to create various personalized control panels, which in turn are supplied from the same model. “The way the data is stored is more orderly; with Power BI we can execute more sophisticated developments”, affirms Rodrigo Hernando, general manager of Citroën Chile.
Vision towards the future
Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, in conjunction with Annata 365, inspires Citroën Chile to consolidate its path towards digitization, and to prepare itself technologically to face changes in the industry. “Something that strikes us is that Annata 365 and Dynamics 365 always evolve together and connect with other solutions like legos. There is a synergy between both solutions”, says the subsidiary’s IT Manager.
For the future, the company plans to continue to strengthen its digital transformation. The short-term plan is to generate more intelligence with the use of the data provided by Dynamics 365, through integration with tools that facilitate marketing management. The General Manager of Citroën Chile concludes: “The evolution is continuous, and we have emerged strengthened thanks to teamwork. Together with Microsoft, Congroup and Annata, our digital implementations are key, and they define the transformation of our business”.
It has been a fairly complex but neat implementation. The methodologies were used with great discipline, in addition to the commitment and integration of the teams.
Rodrigo Hernando: General Manager, Citroën Chile
This blog post is taken from the Microsoft Customer Stories web page and translated from Spanish to English. Click here for the original Spanish page.
With over 20 years of experience as a Global independent solution provider (GISV) for the Automotive, Equipment and Medical Device industries, Annata provides solutions built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 business application platform. Annata 365 is a next-generation unified technology solution that helps manufacturers, distributors, dealers, rental companies and fleet operators overcoming the industry disruption and challenges. It helps to transform existing operations and processes to adapt to and embrace new opportunities through technologies like IoT, ML (Machine Learning), AI (Artificial Intelligence), and cloud-based services. By collaborating with the teams at Microsoft, Annata maintains a strong expertise on the Microsoft platform and continues to provide innovative solutions, strong services, and unparalleled value to our customers.
For additional information:
Visit the annata website and Linkedin Page.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org