“For us, a good partner and understanding is what makes or breaks a project.”
Nikon Instruments, a division of Nikon Healthcare, leads the way in microscope-based technology for biosciences. The company has a European branch which is one of three main offices alongside Asia and the Americas. As Nikon Instruments Europe spans both Europe and Africa with many different sales teams, a centralized and uniform process is essential. This unification was achieved by combining Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) solution with the experience and knowledge of Xperity.
The complexity of their customer journey
Nikon Instruments’ European Customer Relationship Manager, Chay Keogh, is quick to help break down the truly complex process behind each uniquely specified microscope:
“From the point a scientist realizes they need a microscope through the consultation process, it could take up to two years. The process includes identifying the customer’s needs, conducting proof of concept demonstrations, and analyzing the results. The prospect then potentially needs to source funding as well as complete a tender process as a microscope system can vastly range in price depending on its capabilities. Once funded and any subsequent tender completed, the purchase order is placed. Upon delivery, the system needs installing, commissioning and then maintaining for at least the next 5-10 years through warranty and contracts. Throughout this entire process, the relationship with the customer must be maintained with consistency throughout our organization.”
Nikon Instruments Europe has many different departments, including Marketing, Sales, Service, and Administration, that all play important parts in the process behind each microscope. Before centralizing their processes, these teams often operated in silo groups or through independent communication strategies. In a marketplace that is constantly growing and changing, Nikon knew they needed to form a cohesive identity across their European marketplace.
Growing with Dynamics 365
The journey with Dynamics started over nine years ago when Nikon UK, a subsidiary of Nikon Instruments Europe, began to pursue a more efficient and accurate way to manage their data. The team explored various CRMs, and they were blown away with the opportunities and insights available using Microsoft’s cloud-based CRM system, Dynamics 365. Initially thinking their processes were too unique for a CRM solution to streamline, Nikon UK quickly realized they had created that uniqueness themselves and it was not working efficiently.
“Microsoft understood how a complex business could be broken down into different segments but linked together. They understood the end-to-end process in our customer journey, even before the customer journey was really understood by us.”
After Nikon UK’s successful implementation of cloud-based Dynamics 365, it set a template that was possible to utilize at a European level. Almost two years ago, this platform aligned with the vision of Nikon’s new president who was keen the business focused on the customer experience journey, increasing business efficiencies, and upscaling market data accuracy. It was the ideal combination for Nikon to further centralize their processes and implement the CRM on a pan-European level.
When dealing with an implementation project of this magnitude, it can be normal to choose a multi-faceted international company; however, Nikon Instruments Europe chose Xperity for the unique model they use when approaching projects.
The project was broken down into several phases. Though Nikon had already been through the CRM implementation on the UK side, it was a completely different challenge at a pan-European level. Working with their teams around Europe who had all previously used their own processes, Xperity and Nikon used gap analysis to map out the current internal processes. To create cohesion, Xperity employed a step-by-step process consisting of discovery meetings, design workshops, testing, training, and ultimately roll out.
Throughout the project, Nikon and Xperity did not always see eye-to-eye. There were many brainstorming sessions, particularly during the discovery phase, where ideas were exchanged and they would not necessarily agree with one another. However, Nikon trusted Xperity’s experience largely because of their clear and concise approach.
“It’s about communication- maybe we didn’t like being told no regarding a request, but it eventually made sense once explained and we continue to trust their [Xperity] judgement. That’s part of a successful project. Ultimately you realize a unified collaborative platform through debate, consensus, and in some part compromise.”
Additionally, Nikon has an ERP (SAP) to manage their financials. SAP integration can be extremely complex, and it was a mandatory that Nikon’s CRM and ERP connect. Utilizing Xperity’s own XConnect framework which seamlessly sends information between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SAP, the integration requirement was fulfilled.
The pan-European project was not without its obstacles- it required understanding of how Nikon’s teams in different countries and cultures work together, many virtual meetings and training sessions, and it had to be completed under a tight deadline and budget. However, using trust and communication as well as Xperity’s knowledge and experience, the Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation for Nikon Europe was accomplished successfully.
Following the implementation, Nikon Instruments now has users around Europe that understand and stand by the platform. Additionally, new users see the CRM as an impressive platform that does everything they expect from a company like Nikon.
At the moment, Nikon is using Dynamics 365 for Sales for opportunity management and marketing purposes. They also use Dynamics 365 for Customer Service to manage the maintenance and servicing of their instruments. According to Nikon’s Application Support Officer who was a crucial internal piece of the implementation project, Sander Migo, the next step is giving full attention to the service integration to create a cohesive process to map into Dynamics 365.
Meanwhile, Nikon has Xperity as their trusted Microsoft partner. Moving from project implementation into maintenance and support, the transition was seamless.
Speaking with Sander, the quick and efficient support that Xperity provides aligns well with the way Nikon operates:
“At Nikon, we have very short lines. We solve problems quickly. That is how we like to work, and we found that is also how Xperity works. We have our own team within Xperity who knows the ins and outs of our system. It does not matter how I pass on a question, comment, or issue, it’s always handled quickly and adequately. For us, a good partner and understanding is what makes or breaks a project.”
Nikon will return to the second phase of the project in April, and they feel comfortable and confident knowing they have the extensive support and open communication of Xperity.