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Efficiency in Evolution:
Marketing Architects' Strategic Shift to Microsoft Business Central

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About the Client


Marketing Architects is an All-Inclusive TV advertising agency that rebuilt the traditional agency model to help brands drive profitable growth. Founded in Minneapolis, Marketing Architects has spent over 25 years building homegrown technology to solve TV's pricing, measurement, and scale challenges. Previously on Pivotal, Marketing Architects received notice their software would no longer be supported. The team knew they needed to start looking for new software that could meet their needs and give them confidence of longevity.

Challenges

  1. Navigating Change: A Search for a new system
    Marketing Architects faced a significant challenge when they learned that Pivotal, their previous accounting system provider, would no longer support their software due to an acquisition. This sudden change forced them into a critical situation as all the company's financial data was stored on Pivotal. They swiftly responded by exploring various alternatives and attending multiple demonstrations. Ultimately, Marketing Architects selected Microsoft Business Central for its user-friendly interface and cost-effective pricing.

  2. Cumbersome Customizations
    Marketing Architects' previous system, Pivotal, was originally a CRM solution that had been heavily customized to serve as an ERP platform, which included their accounting system. The company, which deals with thousands of vendors and processes numerous invoices monthly, found that using Pivotal still required manual entry. Reviewing invoices to extract critical details such as amount, due date, and invoice number for payment processing, and saving each new PDF invoice on a SharePoint site. These manual tasks consumed an unnecessary 4-5 hours each week and resulted in significant inefficiencies for the team.

  3. Meeting Tight Deadlines
    Marketing Architects faced the challenge of implementing Business Central within a narrow timeline and budget, due to the Pivotal acquisition. They needed a partner who could ensure a quick, cost-effective implementation and provide comprehensive training for their team. Beth Quarberg, Controller at Marketing Architects, highlighted the importance of a partner who could empower their team to operate independently, thereby reducing reliance on external support. "We wanted a partner that could teach us to swim," Quarberg stated. "We want to learn from our partner so we could leave a meeting and know how to do things for ourselves, so we don’t have to rely on a partner for everything."

Solution


The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, facilitated by JourneyTEAM, provided a comprehensive solution to Marketing Architect’s challenges. By building custom integrations and automating data flows, Business Central allowed all data to be tracked in one location and pushed correctly formatted information for seamless operation. Integrations with third party banks they worked with, and the use of 3rdparty application extensions for expense management simplified financial processes by enabling banking functions and credit card transaction management directly within Business Central.

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Impact

  1. Cost Effective, Reliable Solution
    Marketing Architects selected Microsoft Business Central due to the promise of a strong technology partner, and the cost-effective solutions for small to mid-size companies. They appreciated that Microsoft was invested in the SMB market and continuing to evolve their products to make processes and tasks easier, like the introduction of Co-Pilot. JourneyTEAM collaborated with Marketing Architects to build out an efficient system, while running tandem on Pivotal for two months to ensure no business impact. Once configured, they completely transitioned to Business Central, significantly reducing their licensing costs by 22% per user.

  2. Cost Effective, Reliable Solution
    The transition to Business Central has brought several improvements for Marketing Architects, particularly in enhancing process accuracy. Unlike their old system which required manual saving and immediate posting of records, Business Central offers a review stage before final submission, reducing errors from multiple users and increasing precision. Additionally, document management has improved; instead of manually saving PDFs to SharePoint, documents can be emailed, registered, and posted directly having significant time saving for their accounting team. Marketing Architects collaborated with JourneyTEAM to develop a custom check file format for their bank, JP Morgan Chase, facilitating electronic payments and eliminating the need for manual check processing. The custom file was crucial because it enabled electronic payments, thus eliminating the need for manual check processing, which was not feasible without a physical office. Additionally, while some of their vendors accepted modern payment methods like credit cards and ACH transfers, many preferred traditional checks, necessitating a system that accommodated this requirement. This new process has reduced the time spent on this activity by 80%. The setup was also part of a broader effort to automate and streamline financial transactions within the business using Business Central, including custom developments to speed up customer payments. The system also supports more insightful reporting and customizable views, allowing team members to tailor data displays to better suit their roles.

  3. Tailored training and implementation path
    Marketing Architects achieved success with JourneyTEAM's adaptable training and implementation approach. Facing an approaching deadline, they prioritized essential functionalities that enhanced task efficiency and effectiveness. Over three months, Marketing Architects received personalized training from JourneyTEAM, which allowed for a deeper understanding of their processes. This insight helped in focusing on crucial training areas, streamlining processes, and reducing risks associated with going live. Thanks to this tailored approach, the project was completed on time and well within budget. Beth Quarberg, Controller at Marketing Architects, appreciated JourneyTEAM's commitment to their success. "JourneyTEAM has this sense that they wanted us to succeed as much as we wanted to succeed," she noted.

JourneyTEAM wanted to understand our business and our project so they could prioritize the right things and mitigate any surprises. Every time we got on a call we made progress, we never felt like we were going in circles. Having the kind of partner that is willing to give you the right direction and then teach you how to be a doer was really important to us.

Ready to Transform Your Business?

Our dedicated team will work with you to understand your unique goals and create a customized platform that works for your business. We provide direction and guidance on finding and implementing the right solution- every step of the way.

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