Abacus ERP & Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE - Stronger together for our customers!

Abacus ERP & Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE - Stronger together for our customers!

A blog post by Marcel Fürst and Christian Schipp, Ambit Group

November 2023

Abacus ERP & Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE - Stronger together for our customers!

Abacus is a leading Swiss ERP software. Originally developed as software for trustees focussing on financial processes, the solution has evolved into a comprehensive ERP solution with many innovations. Today, Abacus business software is used in far more areas than it once was, with over 65,000 companies in the construction, service and property sectors as well as public administrations relying on the solution. As is typical for ERP systems, the solutions focus on the internal processes of a company/organisation such as order processing, production, logistics, HRM processes and the entire financial accounting. Through many innovations, solutions have been developed specifically to meet the needs of selected industries. Abacus itself and various partner companies offer a comprehensive portfolio of consulting, training and implementation services.

ERP systems: rudimentary weakness alongside many strengths

As popular as this type of ERP system is with many users, they have one major weakness. They only offer very rudimentary CRM functionalities. There are also entities such as lead, opportunity, activities, campaigns, etc. - However, it cannot be compared with modern CRM / CX solutions. The DNA of an ERP system is inward-facing - a CRM system is outward-facing. It is therefore not advisable to try to convert an ERP into a CRM system.

You can find out more about two other ERP systems in our videos below.

The advantage of Abacus is that it is not a closed, monolithic system - on the contrary. With AbaConnect, Abacus itself offers a modern integration platform. AbaConnect enables users of Abacus Business Software to seamlessly exchange data between Abacus and other systems such as web shops, external CRM systems, industry solutions or customised applications.


Ambit Group Webinar: Microsoft Dynamics365 CRM with abas ERP – absolute customer focus (video only available in German)

Ambit Group Webinar: Microsoft Dynamics365 CRM with proALPHA ERP – absolute customer focus (video only available in German)

Microsoft Dynamcis 365 CE - the ideal CRM addition

Many companies using Abacus have already covered the missing CRM functionalities with the CRM applications of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE (marketing, sales, customer service and field service, etc.), thus combining the best of both worlds.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE is a cloud-based SaaS solution as part of the overall Microsoft platform for business applications. The applications are operated in the Swiss data centres (Zurich/Geneva) and meet the highest data protection and security requirements. Many companies have already started using Microsoft 365 (Exchange, Outlook, Teams, Sharepoint, etc.) or Azure as a cloud platform and use many of these services on a daily basis. The native integration between Dynamics 365 CE and Microsoft 365 is therefore an enormous added value on a technological level. Another factor is the Microsoft Power Platform. With Power Apps, Power Automate and Power BI in the back end as well as Power Pages and Power Virtual Agents (bot framework), it forms the centrepiece of the leading no-/low-code application landscape and therefore also of the Dynamics 365 CRM applications.

Customer experience (CX) as the key to successful CRM

CRM is neither a software nor a tool for sales. CRM is about all customer relationship processes across the entire value chain of a Lead2Cash company. In the past, CRM was often understood as software for the sales force to enter sales interests and opportunities. This has only partially to do with future-orientated CX / CRM concepts. Today, the customer experience is placed at the centre and processes are thought of from the outside in. The aim is to design all the places where a potential or existing customer comes into contact with the company in such a way that the customer experience corresponds to a defined image. These so-called touchpoints (e.g. websites, email, trade fairs, apps, web shop, bots, portals, field service, etc.) are designed in such a way that the customer has a good experience and expresses interest in the products or services (conversion). Sales (field service) is just one of many contact points. Furthermore, the entire processes that a customer experiences throughout the various phases are worked out and the tasks are distributed across the various departments without creating silos.

Data-based comprehensive view of leads and customers

The use of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE creates data-based 360° views of all interactions. Harmonised and standardised processes enable efficient and, in some cases, highly automated work. The applications, which all have the same database, then map the specific process worlds. In very clear terms, marketing has all the possibilities of a modern marketing automation solution, while sales can utilise the entire lead and opportunity management processes as well as the entire activity management and planning and evaluation solutions. In customer service, all processes are mapped that are necessary for processing all incoming tickets (cases) and ideal communication with the customer across all channels and existing knowledge can be used to automate the processes. If a technician or expert needs to be deployed on site, all processes involved in processing work orders in the field can be mapped in the Field Service area. In this way, the customer can be served and made happy across all levels! Companies that invest in CRM processes are demonstrably much more successful in all respects (efficiency, growth, risks), create high-quality relationships with their customers and achieve maximum possible loyalty.

However, the Microsoft platform can also be used to digitalise many other areas. Be it the use of IoT, the use of augmented reality (AR) in field service, the use of portal solutions, the development of a customer data platform and the analytical use of data and artificial intelligence. The platform enables a genuine digital transformation at a technological level and, derived from this, the creation of new business models and the development of new value chains.


Technology as a means to an end

The technological possibilities are unlimited. Whereas 10 years ago, the inhibiting factors were the functions available in the software area, today they are the partial lack of strategy, processes and the lack of willingness to change. CRM projects are of a top-strategic nature. They are derived directly from the corporate strategy and place the customer and their experience at the centre.
The transformation therefore does not start with technology (software). Technology is a means to an end. However, many companies have the idea that the challenge will be solved thanks to the possibilities and functions of the software. The consequence of this is that the wrong questions are often asked of providers in so-called tenders (can the CRM automatically convert a lead into a sales opportunity, etc.) and the core of the challenge is barely addressed, if at all.

Ambit Group's CX/CRM consulting brings your organisation to its goal

The Ambit Group has been supporting companies in the field of CRM for over 24 years. With over 200 implemented projects and methods that have been continuously improved over the years, we bring companies and organisations safely to their goal across the entire spectrum of CX/CRM strategies.

Our service is based on the fact that we work as a so-called "digital business enabler" to ensure that the client organisation can implement the projects in a structured and secure manner. To do this, we first need to know and understand the company and its strategy and goals. Based on this, a roadmap is developed at a strategic level to determine which topics are to be tackled in which phases (scope). In the subsequent consult phase, we work with the organisation to develop the future target processes at a high level, independently of technology. This is an extremely important phase and the greatest challenge in moving from the current situation to the future target picture. With a great deal of experience, a methodical approach and good practice, we support organisations in dealing intensively with their initial situation and the development of future-oriented processes and in designing these. In doing so, we clarify the "WHAT" of the project, still at an abstract level. With the result, which is also presented to the steering committee and approved, we then enter the so-called design phase. With an understanding of the future processes, the Solution Blue Print of the future solution is developed at a technical level. This also includes the future IT architecture, data models, interfaces, migrations, security, user and role models and much more... Once the design phase is complete, the project is prepared and all key issueve been clarified.

With this basis, an agile implementation can now begin and all details can be worked out and implemented. User stories and their acceptance criteria form the basis for this. During the sprints, it is continuously prioritised which user stories are to be included in the sprint and what complexity is associated with them. Ambit's consultants advise the organisation on processes and technology and thus form the basis for testing the future solution. Once the project team has reached the required maturity level after the planned number of sprints, the preparations for the go-live (integration tests, data migration, training, etc.) are started with the so-called empower phase. The first phase is completed with the go-live and accepted by the customer. Building on this, further phases can be tackled using the same procedure. Our recommendation is to start as small as possible and continue to develop the solution through further phases. This also allows the change to be better adapted and the development to take account of the maturity of the organisation.

Our experts ensure the success of your project

The Ambit Group has set up specialised business units (BU) for its CX/CRM projects that cover the entire spectrum of customer relationship management.

Business Unit Marketing & Sales Excellence

The Marketing & Sales Excellence business unit specialises in marketing and sales processes.

Expertise in marketing automation and customer data platform: Our experts in consulting and implementation are experienced in all types of customer acquisition processes, such as the development and implementation of marketing automation (including event management involving all touchpoints) and the development of a customer data platform (CDP).

Comprehensive marketing and sales approach: Our team provides consulting and implementation expertise for specific sales processes in various sales models (sales force, key account management, working with sales partners, etc.).

The work and processes in sales are advised so that the sales organization can perform its work as efficiently as possible.

With the availability of important information and the automation of work steps (sequences) in close connection with Outlook, Teams and the mobile sales app, an unprecedented level of sales productivity and quality can be achieved with the support of AI (Sales Copilot).

Applications that the Business Unit Marketing and Sales typically works with:





Business Unit Customer Service Experience

The Customer Service Experience business unit specialises in customer service and field service processes.

Omni-channel approach
: customer enquiries and complaints are centralised. All enquiries are handled as tickets (cases) and processed depending on the service organisation (existing, multi-level, newly defined). Thanks to artificial intelligence and existing knowledge databases, cases can be forwarded to the right contact person or, if possible, processed directly by the customer using self-service concepts.

Communication: The customer uses the preferred communication channel during the process. The CSX project is often accompanied by projects to set up customer portals and/or bots in order to achieve a higher degree of automation and enable 24/7 service. The platform gives customer service employees a 360° view of all aspects of an enquiry (customer, cases, queues, success rates, etc.). Senior service staff can use dispatch functions to monitor all processes and coordinate them optimally if necessary.

Field Service: If technicians/experts are deployed on site, the next step can be the digitalisation of work at the customer's premises. Cases from customer service are transformed into work orders in Field Service and can be planned for deployment, taking all resources into account. In addition to employees, resources also include vehicles, tools and skills, for example. The overarching goal is to solve as many cases as possible, ideally on the first assignment (first solve rate). The processing of checklists, time recording, material reports, documentation and on-site inspections are all aspects of Field Service.

Overview & augmented reality: Field service employees maintain an overview and communicate automatically with customers and customer service. This allows them to intervene if necessary. In situations where the technician needs to communicate with experts, augmented reality solutions such as Microsoft's Remote Assist can be used in conjunction with Microsoft HoloLens or mobile devices (smartphones/tablets). Work instructions can be transmitted to the technician during an installation, for example, with additional information such as manuals or checklists.

Power Platform & Artificial Intelligence: New service solutions can be developed through the use of AI and Power Platform. Bots that provide answers from operating manuals within seconds are already in use. Thanks to our solution, all activities in customer service and field service can also be viewed by sales and marketing. Everyone has the same view of customer activities. This enables measures such as customer satisfaction surveys or up- and cross-selling in marketing and sales.

Applications that Customer Service Experience typically works with:

Let's talk about this!

As you can see, there are unlimited possibilities for the holistic digitalisation of CRM processes.

Don't worry, these solutions are not just for large enterprise companies, but are already being used by many medium-sized companies. At the Ambit Group, we specialise in companies with between 100 and 2,000 employees and help them to use the platform's possibilities in a customised and digestible way.

Find out more about our approach or the technological level.

Please contact Marcel Fürst directly.



Our offer: Microsoft Dynamics 365 workshops

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Field Service 4h-Experience Workshop

If you are interested in finding out more about the Ambit Group, the Microsoft platform for Field Service / CX, we recommend our half-day workshop. This will give you all the relevant information you need to decide for you and your company what the implementation of such a project means.

Workshop details

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights - Journeys 4h-Experience Workshop

If you are interested in finding out more about the Ambit Group, the Microsoft platform for marketing / CX, we recommend our half-day workshop. This will give you all the relevant information you need to decide for you and your company what the implementation of such a project means.

Workshop details

Ambit Group - Your partner for your CX project with the Microsoft platform

Our promise is: we make your ambition work. As a leading Microsoft partner for business applications, we have specialized in the process areas of CX projects with our Marketing & Sales business unit. We advise and implement from the initial idea through to the realised project and support customers during ongoing operations.

Our drive is to powerfully support your company in becoming the best possible version of itself.

Find out more about us


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