Hitachi Data Systems Taps New iBaan for CRM Solution

Looks to enhance forecasting, quote building and proposal generation capabilities

Tempe, AZ  January 21, 2002  Computer storage company Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is set to upgrade its customer relationship management (CRM) systems to a new solution being rolled out by software provider Baan.

HDS, a $2 billion subsidiary of Japan's Hitachi Limited, has committed to migrate to a 900-seat implementation of Baan's iBaan SalesPlus 4.2 solution. The solution provider says that its software will enable HDS to streamline its existing sales processes, help it increase sales potential through better campaign and opportunity management, and help drive up closure rates through efficient CRM.

Egan Christensen, director of IT sales operations for HDS, said that the company was looking to build an integrated suite using the three applications they currently run, which include Oracle financials and logistics applications, Clarify's service and support software and Baan's sales automation solution.

HDS' requirements for the new system included the ability to configure the company's complex storage systems, remote access for its 700 salespeople worldwide (out of a total workforce about 2,600 in 170 countries), and the ability to facilitate upgrades for customers looking to increase their systems' storage capacity.

Goals in moving to system included centralizing the company's customer data, understanding more about its customers through the software's analytics capabilities and provide better services and products to its customers. In addition, HDS was looking for a means to provide standard systems to support its different business units around the world, each of which might have certain unique processes, while also giving executives in HDS' corporate headquarters a uniform view of the company's sales picture.

The iBaan for CRM implementation will provide HDS with integrated configuration quote-building; repeatable proposal generations; integrated pricing that supports specific pricing rules (territory, customer, special promotions, volume) and hierarchical discount approvals; and improvements in forecast reporting.

Christensen said that his company, which has been using Baan solutions since 1998, also considered solutions from Siebel, Oracle and Firepond before settling on Baan's applications as the best overall solution for HDS' requirements. "With iBaan for CRM we can migrate to the latest 4.2 version with minimal disturbance of the business and without losing functionality, which is an important consideration in today's market," Christensen explained.

HDS will be looking for soft and hard return on investment from the implementation, according to Christensen. "We're going to be improving our quoting capabilities and proposal generation," he said. "We imagine that we're going to see an hour to two-hour improvement in each. So if the average sales rep in doing ten quotes a week, that's ten to 20 hours in saved time." In addition, HDS will exploit the new software's analytical capabilities to get a better picture of the total cost and benefit of each customer.

The HDS announcement coincided with the rollout last week of iBaan for CRM, the centerpiece of Baan's enterprise CRM strategy, which the software company says is aimed at helping company's make better use of their customer data as a way of enhancing service while maximizing profitability. iBaan for CRM combines systems, software and applied business intelligence that the solution provider says can help organizations allocate their resources to preferentially serve the business's most loyal and profitable accounts.

The HDS announcement coincided with Baan's launch of its new iBaan E-Configuration Enterprise solution, designed to help organizations in mass customization environments to streamline their sales processes by providing customers, business partners, field salespeople or call center operatives with an interactive, real-time guided configuration model.