Walgreens, a leading pharmacy chain, has revolutionized its prescription processing across its extensive network of nearly 9,000 stores by harnessing the power of Azure resources. Annually, the company handles hundreds of millions of prescription dispenses, each accompanied by numerous data points. By leveraging Microsoft Azure Databricks, Azure Synapse Analytics, and additional Azure services, Walgreens has developed an intelligent data platform capable of swiftly analyzing prescription data to generate actionable insights in minutes. This innovation benefits not only pharmacists at the customer interface but also the operational and analytics teams company-wide, offering immediate access to detailed transactional data and insights.
Streamlining Prescription Processing with Azure
Sashi Venkatesan, Director of Product Engineering for Pharmacy and Healthcare Data Product Line at Walgreens, highlights the transformative impact of Azure resources on data processing and insight generation. The advanced data engineering pipelines facilitate real-time data analysis, enabling pharmacists and technicians to access critical insights rapidly.
Navigating the Prescription Dispense Ecosystem
The complexity behind each prescription transaction involves numerous stakeholders, including doctors, pharmacists, insurers, and patients. Walgreens' scale, with about 818 million prescriptions filled during the 2020 fiscal year, underscores the need for a robust infrastructure to manage this intricate process efficiently.
Towards a Future-Proof Infrastructure
Walgreens' commitment to enhancing customer service and operational reliability led to a collaboration with Microsoft. The goal was to future-proof its infrastructure with a cloud-first strategy and modern AI capabilities, thus ensuring scalability and agility in processing meaningful data points and translating them into actionable insights.
Empowering Pharmacists with Intelligent Data
The move towards a unified, intelligent data platform aimed to simplify innovation and adaptability in response to changing customer behaviors. Luigi Guadagno, Vice President of Pharmacy and Healthcare Platform Technology at Walgreens, emphasizes the platform's role in supporting pharmacists with critical patient information, thereby enhancing healthcare outcomes.
An Intelligent, Connected Data Platform
The Information, Data, and Insights (IDI) platform, developed in partnership with Microsoft Consulting Services and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), adopts an event-based microservices architecture. It efficiently processes key prescription and pharmacy inventory data, delivering real-time insights to pharmacists through user-friendly dashboards and data visualizations in Power BI.
Achieving Operational Excellence with Azure
The platform's capability to handle around 40,000 transactions per second during peak times, thanks to Azure Databricks' scalability, marks a significant improvement over the previous system. The integration of Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure SQL Database, and Azure Cosmos DB ensures that data from prescription dispenses is rapidly available to Walgreens' data warehouse, enhancing response times.
Enhancing Patient Care and Engagement
The advanced data engineering pipelines powered by Azure have fundamentally improved how pharmacists serve patients, offering clear and concise insights that enable better patient care. This technological advancement has also positively impacted customer experiences, highlighting the value of an agile technology platform in today’s evolving retail and healthcare landscape.
Conclusion: A Model for Future Growth
Walgreens' successful deployment of an Azure-powered data platform sets a precedent for leveraging ERP and Azure resources in the healthcare industry. It demonstrates the potential for technology to not only streamline operational processes but also significantly improve patient engagement and care outcomes. This collaboration between Walgreens, Microsoft, and TCS exemplifies the power of digital transformation in facilitating growth and enhancing service delivery in the healthcare sector.
Celebrating Earth Month with Innovative UpdatesAs Earth Month unfolds, in light of the latest recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to accelerate the journey towards net-zero emissions, we're excited to unveil the latest enhancements to the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. These updates bring forward superior analytics, including Scope 3 waste data, elevated data access, and management capabilities, enriched reporting, and personalized adjustments. These tools are designed to assist entities in achieving their ecological objectives more swiftly and efficiently, paving the way for enhanced ERP data management practices within the realm of sustainability.
Enrich Analytics with Customizable DimensionsOrganizations are now empowered to introduce personalized dimensions to data model entities within Microsoft Sustainability Manager, enhancing the precision of calculations and analyses. This allows for the correlation of activity or emissions data with additional contextual information, such as emissions per employee count, offering a refined perspective on ERP data management within environmental sustainability efforts.
Following the ingestion, mapping, and computation of data with these custom dimensions, it becomes possible to generate detailed insights into manufacturing intensities across various domains. A visualization example includes a dashboard displaying laptop manufacturing emissions data, categorized by assembly line, model, and SKU, illustrating the integration of ERP data management with sustainability analytics.
Propel Forward with Data Approval ManagementParticularly beneficial for well-established organizations that maintain rigorous data management workflows, the newly introduced data approval management feature facilitates the staging of data in a pending status. This allows for the storage of data without affecting the ongoing calculations, analyses, and reporting processes. Upon receiving approval from authorized personnel, this data is then seamlessly integrated into all relevant operations, marking a significant step forward in ERP data management and sustainability tracking.
Access Microsoft 365 Emissions Data with EaseOrganizations can now effortlessly access emissions data related to their Microsoft 365 service usage, encompassing a range of applications including Exchange Online, Outlook, SharePoint, and more, via the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability API. This API employs a third-party validated emissions calculation methodology, encompassing all three emissions scopes as outlined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, thereby enhancing ERP data management capabilities with respect to sustainability metrics.
Streamline Disclosure Preparations with Reporting EnhancementsIn anticipation of emerging disclosure regulations, the Sustainability Manager now features customizable reporting capabilities. Organizations can craft reports incorporating various types of sustainability data, such as emissions alongside Scope 1, 2, and 3 activity data, significantly reducing the complexity and volume of reports needed for disclosure preparations.
Custom Views for Emissions AnalysisThe allocations dashboard introduces a flexible method for organizations to monitor their emissions generation, allowing for assessments based on headcount, area, production type, or any defined method. This empowers entities to understand the impact of different internal metrics on their overall emissions, integrating ERP data management with sustainability efforts.
Advanced Scope 2 Emissions TrackingImprovements in accounting for Scope 2 emissions are now available, thanks to an additional calculation methodology and enhanced insights and reporting features. These advancements facilitate comprehensive tracking and reporting of both market- and location-based Scope 2 emissions data, reinforcing the role of ERP data management in environmental sustainability.
Simplify Scope 2 Energy Data IngestionThe Data Capture feature leverages AI Builder to streamline the ingestion process for purchased energy invoices. By training a custom optical character recognition model, organizations can efficiently process invoices as Scope 2 activity data, further blending ERP data management with sustainability initiatives.
Import Data from Various Sources with Guided ExperienceEnhanced data processing capabilities allow for quicker and more efficient importation of data from multiple sources. With the introduction of Excel templates, a Power Query guided flow, and partner solutions, users have the flexibility to choose the most suitable method for their data ingestion needs, optimizing ERP data management processes for sustainability tracking.
Enhancing Environmental Credit ProcessesThe Environmental Credit Service introduces new features to clarify and expedite the validation of environmental claims, promoting transparency and scalability in environmental market ecosystems. This service is a testament to the integration of ERP data management with sustainable market practices.
Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability's Waste Data ModelThe newly developed waste data model offers a comprehensive view of waste management data, aiding organizations in their pursuit of waste reduction and the promotion of a circular economy. This innovation marks a significant advancement in combining ERP data management with sustainability efforts.
As we continue to enhance our offerings, the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is poised to empower organizations in their journey towards a more sustainable future, integrating ERP data management with comprehensive environmental sustainability efforts.
The retail sector in 2023 has been on a dynamic journey, navigating through economic uncertainties and evolving customer expectations. Despite these challenges, the industry has exhibited remarkable adaptability and innovation. A prime example of this is the adoption of next-generation AI. This advanced technology, along with other digital tools, has revolutionized retail operations, introducing a new era of efficiency and customer-focused strategies.
Understanding Next-Gen AI in Retail
Our focus is on harnessing next-generation AI to enhance the capabilities of frontline workers.
Read our detailed blog
The synergy between innovative technology and our skilled retail workforce is reshaping our industry's core. We're embracing AI and advanced tools, uncovering new realms of productivity, efficiency, and customer focus. This approach, integrating elements of manufacturing resource planning, has optimized task management and automated workflows, allowing frontline teams to concentrate on exceptional customer service.
Streamlining Frontline Operations with AI and Digital Tools
Retail employees play a vital role in customer engagement and smooth store functioning. However, challenges like understaffed shifts and outdated systems can hinder their efficiency.
Digital Transformation of Routine Store Processes
Retailers are now using Store Operations Assist within Microsoft Teams, a move that exemplifies the integration of manufacturing resource planning into everyday retail operations. This tool helps store associates excel in customer service by providing access to sophisticated retail workflows and insights.
Store managers can also leverage the new Shifts plug-in for Microsoft 365 Copilot, enhancing schedule management and operational insights. This integration brings manufacturing resource planning principles to the forefront, streamlining shift management and operational data access.
Retail Evolution: Resilience Meets Innovation
Retail stores are reimagining their operations with AI and digital tools, leading to more efficient and customer-centric environments. Brands like L’Oréal exemplify this digital transformation, enhancing frontline workers' roles through these tools.
Revolutionizing Retail Communication with Modern Solutions
Effective communication within the retail chain is vital. Microsoft Teams unifies this communication, fostering better collaboration and information flow. This evolution represents a shift from isolated store operations to a connected retail ecosystem, embracing elements of manufacturing resource planning.
Central Planning, Regional Management, Local Execution
Viva Connections within Teams enables targeted communications and notifications for store associates, streamlining operational messages and updates.
Tailoring the Retail Home Experience in Teams
To cater to the diverse needs of frontline employees in retail, Microsoft has introduced the ability to create multiple home experiences within Teams, reflecting each brand's unique identity. This feature aligns with the principles of manufacturing resource planning, offering a customized, brand-specific dashboard for frontline teams.
Instant Communication with Retail Frontline Teams
Communication is key, especially for larger and more dispersed frontline teams. Integrations with industry-standard devices enhance the ability to communicate effectively, crucial for manufacturing resource planning.
Enhancing Frontline Engagement through Streamlined Communication
AI capabilities are instrumental in task management and producing localized brand and marketing communications. Copilot in Microsoft Viva Engage offers personalized messaging suggestions, enhancing engagement and aligning with manufacturing resource planning strategies.
Simplifying Trusted Frontline Experiences
Simplifying processes is essential for retail organizations. By integrating technologies that automate routine tasks, retail companies can enable their frontline to focus on higher-value tasks, a principle central to manufacturing resource planning.
Securing Customer Data with Microsoft 365 on Shared Devices
Managing in-store devices is simplified with Microsoft Intune and Entra ID, ensuring secure and efficient sign-in experiences for frontline workers, an approach that complements manufacturing resource planning.
Microsoft's Solutions for the Frontline Retail Industry
The retail industry continues to demonstrate resilience and innovation. Microsoft is at the forefront, providing solutions that balance operational efficiency with exceptional customer and employee experiences. This holistic approach, integrating manufacturing resource planning principles, is setting a sustainable course for the industry's future."
Improved Decision-Making Through Data Accuracy
The adoption of the ERP solution significantly enhanced data visibility and accuracy, key elements for making informed decisions in the fast-paced facilities management industry. Enhanced reporting and dashboard capabilities led to greater confidence in decision-making, fostering trust and compliance during audits. The system also highlighted training needs within the team, facilitating targeted and effective skill development.
Elevating Customer Experience to New Heights
At the heart of Emrill's digital transformation was the goal of delivering a world-class customer experience. The streamlined processes, automation, and innovative approaches brought about by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance played a crucial role in achieving this goal. The enhanced efficiency and service quality significantly boosted customer satisfaction and set new standards in the industry.
Continuous Improvement and Future Endeavors
Emrill's journey with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance is not just about present gains but also about future possibilities. The company is continuously exploring new avenues, like integrating the Walkie Talkie app in Microsoft Teams, to further streamline communication and operational efficiency. This ongoing commitment to improvement and innovation ensures that Emrill Services remains at the forefront of its industry, continuously delivering exemplary service.
Partnering for Success
The successful implementation and ongoing optimization of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance at Emrill Services is a testament to the power of strategic partnerships and the impact of embracing digital transformation. With the support and expertise of the Microsoft FastTrack team and Microsoft Lifecycle Services, Emrill has not only transformed its internal operations but has also set a benchmark for others in the industry to follow.
Spark Telecommunications Soars into Agility with Epic Microsoft Dynamics 365 Transformation
Spark's transformation with Microsoft Dynamics ERP stands as a stellar example in the realm of ERP system examples, showcasing a large-scale back-office metamorphosis. As New Zealand's premier telecommunications and digital services provider, Spark's journey over two years involved 11 process leads and a broad team of tech experts from four companies, redefining the essence of Agile in a corporate setting.
In the bustling environment of Spark, with over 5,000 staff and numerous partners and contractors, activities range from designing sophisticated business telephony solutions to managing supply chains for retail stores, not to mention spearheading the rollout of 5G technology. The company's commitment to an Agile approach required a robust and adaptive back-end system, leading to the selection of Microsoft Dynamics 365, a prime example in modern ERP system examples.
Agility or Bust: How Spark's Legacy System Held Them Back
The previous ERP system, rooted in the late 90s, was cumbersome and inadequate for Spark's dynamic operations. Lisa Chapman, the enterprise automation lead at Spark, emphasized the necessity for an intuitive system. The old SAP system's inability to track dynamic team operations was a significant hindrance, rendering it obsolete in an era demanding agility and flexibility.
Choosing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management was a strategic move. This system is frequently cited in ERP examples for its adaptability and ready-to-use functionality, requiring minimal customization, making it a perfect fit for Spark's diverse and complex needs.
The implementation strategy at Spark was unique, being business-driven rather than technology-led. This strategy required deep integration across multiple business areas, including finance, HR, inventory management, and supply chain, involving over 70 interfaces, a testament to the flexibility and capability of Microsoft Dynamics ERP.
FastTrack to Success: Spark and Microsoft Forge a Collaborative Path to Modernization
The project, managed via Microsoft Teams, was a beacon of collaboration and innovation during the challenging times of COVID lockdowns. The Microsoft FastTrack team's involvement was pivotal, providing essential support in designing and implementing the process. Their recommendation for an asynchronous rollout, coupled with real-world "dress rehearsals," was crucial in mitigating risks and ensuring a seamless transition.
Despite the ambitious nature of the "Big Bang" approach, the transition was smoother than anticipated. The shift to Dynamics 365 was a leap forward in operational efficiency, significantly reducing the time for the first month-end financial process.
Employee onboarding also transformed, becoming more streamlined and efficient. Dynamics 365's user-friendly nature led to quick adoption within Spark, simplifying tasks and empowering employees with self-service capabilities.
The Cornerstone of Agility: How Spark Leverages ERP to Stay Ahead of the Curve
This transformation journey is a significant benchmark in ERP system examples, illustrating how Microsoft Dynamics ERP can revolutionize a traditional telecom company into a digital services leader. The successful integration showcases the system's adaptability and growth potential, perfectly aligning with Spark's future goals.
As Spark continues to evolve, the role of Dynamics 365 remains pivotal. The company is now poised to leverage ERP data through intelligent analytics, enhancing business processes for more accurate reporting and forecasting. This ongoing journey into ERP exemplifies how a comprehensive system like Microsoft Dynamics can be a cornerstone for modern, agile businesses.
Furthermore, the transition has set a precedent in the industry, demonstrating how a large-scale ERP overhaul can be accomplished without disrupting ongoing operations. This successful implementation has not only streamlined Spark's internal processes but also improved its interactions with customers and partners.
The "Big Bang" implementation, although risky, proved to be a strategic triumph. It allowed Spark to avoid the pitfalls of gradually transitioning systems and instead leapfrog into a state-of-the-art ERP environment. This approach also eliminated the need for maintaining parallel systems, thereby reducing complexity and cost.
A Beacon of Hope: Spark's ERP Story Inspires Organizations Embracing Digital Transformation
The transformation extended beyond mere technological upgrade. It was a cultural shift, embedding a new way of working within Spark. Employees now enjoy a more collaborative and integrated work environment, facilitated by the unified platform of Dynamics 365. This shift has fostered a more data-driven culture, where decisions are made based on real-time insights, enhancing overall business agility.
The success story of Spark's transformation with Microsoft Dynamics ERP is a beacon for other organizations contemplating a similar journey. It underscores the importance of aligning business objectives with technological capabilities and the value of choosing an ERP system that can grow and evolve with the business.
In conclusion, Spark's journey is a testament to the transformative power of a well-executed ERP system implementation. It stands as a shining example of how businesses can leverage technology like Microsoft Dynamics ERP to not only meet current operational needs but also lay a foundation for future growth and innovation. This story is a guiding light for companies worldwide, showcasing the potential of ERP systems to redefine business processes and drive organizational success in the digital age.
Export Development Canada: Pioneering a Sustainable and Prosperous Future
Export Development Canada (EDC), a leading Crown corporation, is spearheading the advancement of Canadian businesses into a future that is both sustainable and prosperous, thanks to cloud-based solutions.
EDC's Mission to Support Canadian Enterprises
EDC, committed to aiding Canadian enterprises of varying sizes in tackling global business challenges, is driving innovation and global competitiveness amongst these businesses. This is achieved through a focus on robust sustainability practices. Central to its corporate strategy is the integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, underpinned by its investment in cutting-edge digital infrastructure through Microsoft Azure.
The Role of ESG Practices in Business Resilience
The organization's support for Canadian businesses in enhancing their ESG practices not only boosts their resilience and global investment appeal but also fuels Canada's export trade growth. Victor Diamond, Vice President of Technology Operations and Services at EDC, highlights the importance of this approach.
EDC’s Impact on Canadian Companies
As the national export credit agency, EDC plays a pivotal role in empowering Canadian companies to make significant impacts both domestically and internationally, particularly in the context of the challenging realities of climate change. It provides the financial tools and expertise needed for these companies to confidently venture into new markets, minimizing financial risks and fostering growth from local to global stages.
Sustainable Business as EDC’s Core Mission
At the heart of EDC's mission is a deep-seated commitment to sustainable and responsible business. The corporation adopts a holistic ESG perspective in all its business operations. According to Victor Diamond, EDC regards strong ESG practices as essential not only for risk mitigation but also as key drivers of competitive advantage in the international market.
Strategies for Global Export Growth
Despite a decline in Canada's share of global exports over the past decade, EDC sees an opportunity to reverse this trend through strategic leadership in climate change and sustainability. As expressed in its 2050 net-zero commitment, EDC actively supports Canada’s trade-based economy by assisting its customers in understanding and addressing ESG risks, seizing opportunities, and innovating to reduce emissions and environmental impacts.
Digital Transformation: A Pillar of EDC’s Strategy
A key element of EDC’s strategy is its investment in IT infrastructure to support its ESG objectives and aid Canadian businesses. The organization aims to significantly reduce its operational carbon footprint, and a major step in this direction is its digital transformation, anchored on Microsoft Azure Cloud Services. According to Diamond, Azure is essential for EDC’s sustainability strategy, offering new digital capabilities and supporting the organization’s transformation journey.
Azure Cloud Services at the Heart of EDC’s Transformation
EDC's transformation also includes transitioning most of its internal data center capacity to the Azure cloud platform, a move expected to have a substantial impact on reducing its power consumption. The company aims to track its carbon impact goals using tools like Microsoft Emissions Impact Dashboard.
Advancing Sustainable Business Practices
EDC is also exploring ways to leverage Microsoft technology to assist its customers, potentially using Azure Databricks to track ESG metrics and support more sustainable business decisions. A key focus for EDC is supporting Canada’s clean technology sector, using Azure-driven insights to develop strategies that accelerate support for this sector and encourage decarbonization among Canadian companies.
EDC: A Leader in the Low-Carbon Economy Transition
In its role as a financial Crown corporation, EDC is dedicated to promoting the transition to a low-carbon economy. This commitment includes reducing its own carbon footprint and helping Canadian businesses become more competitive through strong ESG practices. Diamond believes that Azure is a crucial component of EDC’s digital toolbox, integral to the organization’s ongoing digital transformation.