Microsoft Dynamics Integrations the Scribe Way

Recently Vice President of Sales, Lou Antonucci discussed how the Scribe organization works and how their products work to integrate Microsoft Dynamics products both in the cloud and on-premise. 

Carlos:  Lou, how about you tell us about your role in the organization?

Lou:  I’m Vice President of Sales. I have responsibility for all of Scribe sales worldwide.  That encompasses sales that we do through resellers, which we have over a thousand resellers worldwide.  We have over 12,000 customers worldwide.  Because we sell the majority of our business through resellers like yourselves our sales organization is small.  We only have twelve people in the sales organization worldwide at Scribe.

Carlos:  You’re mostly managing sales people that manage partners that I see.

Lou:  I have it split off where I have field based regional sales managers who manage all of the business in a particular region.  There are two major regions, U.S.  and North America and then there is Europe.

And then the U.S.  region is split into two, East and West. So, we’ve got three regional sales managers and they focus on managing the partners, but also help if we get involved with selling anything direct.  By direct I mean for example if Microsoft has a big deal and they’re not using a partner, they’re doing a deal themselves with one of their large enterprise customers they come to us and say we need you for integration. 

So, the regional sales managers will work on those deals direct with the vendors, but the majority of their time is spent working with the managing partners to resell.  In each region we have an Account Executive that sits in. And that’s just primarily how we’re set up.

Carlos:  What is that you enjoy about your position there Lou?

Lou:  You know what I enjoy about it is I get to interact most often with various partners from all over the world and vendors and I think that’s one thing I like the most because again having thousands of partners at any time there are numbers of deals going on. I may get asked to help out various areas whether it’s on the selling side or just at the events we attend. The interaction with our resellers probably is the thing I enjoy most.

I also enjoy learning about organization’s businesses and how they are using Scribe to increase their services businesses and how they’re being successful.

Scribe – The Story

Carlos:  Share with us a little bit about Scribe in general, how long have you guys been around, where you’re located, etc. A lot of people are might looking at integration tools and might not be familiar with you. What would you give them for a background to Scribe?

Lou:  We’ve been in the data integration space for over 15 years, we were founded in 1996. We’re located in Manchester, New Hampshire that’s our corporate office.

We also have offices in The Netherlands.  So, we’re global on that level.  As I mentioned we have over a thousand partners.  Our products are both on-premise software products as well as online with our new Scribe Online platform.

The multiple platform allows us to service customers whether they be integrating on-premise or on-premise in the cloud or cloud-to-cloud or hosted applications.  In our product scale, both in performance and price, we can help the two person pizza shop down the street all the way up to companies that have thousands of CRM users.

Carlos:  I know the cloud offering is something that you released early last year and that’s really opened up Scribe to many of the more small business customers.

Lou:  Our business right now is probably split 70% small business, 30% enterprise.

Carlos: About your organization and your culture, is there anything that you would say is unique about your culture at Scribe or the way you do business? The way you serve the customers or your partners?

Lou:  Well, I think the one thing that is truly unique about our business if you compare us to other software vendors out there in the integration space we are a partner centric organization.  Like you know, even if we sell software direct, first thing we ask them is are you currently working with a Dynamics partner. If they say no, we’d say well okay, but to implement the software you really need a partner to do it, because we don’t do consulting.  We don’t implement our own software.  We’ll actually then leverage and bring in a partner to those customers even if we didn’t sell software direct.  So we’re very partner-centric.

As we’ve developed our online platform a lot of people can talk about all these applications becoming SaaS applications and it’s dis-intermediating the partner. The thing is when you do an integration unless you’re some very, very highly technically skilled IT person at an end user account and you know a lot of SMB businesses they’re you still need a partner.

Our online platform, we actually built it for partners, so partners can go on and manage their different customers and the different integrations. They can also be invited as consultants and they can invite the end user customer, other consultants or IT guys into the collaborative environment. Our online products are developed as a platform for partners to deliver solutions, because we’re so partner-centric.

Carlos:  Have you won any award in the past?

Lou:  Last year we shared a Microsoft Customer Excellence Award for a company called Magma that was done along with Hitachi. I would think that’s the most recent award.

Carlos:  We like your solutions because they integrate so well with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  That’s why we so often recommend your solution. How would you characterize your relationship with Microsoft and what things do you have in place to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics solutions?

Lou:  We have purpose-built adapters for the Microsoft suite of products for Dynamics CRM, AX, NAV and GP.  What we’ve done is in building these purpose-built application adapters. They work with the APIs of those applications and that’s what makes it so powerful when a partner is using our product to do an integration. We’re not just moving data. Because of the way we built these, we move the business logic and the business rules and the relationships that go with the data, where other integration vendors just move data.

This is what makes us very strong in the Microsoft Dynamics space and makes it very easy for Microsoft Dynamics partners to use our products.  In addition to the application adapters, the fact that you don’t need to do custom quoting with our products is  big benefit.  We’ve made them so they’re just point and click and configurable.

Carlos:  That’s a good point. I just ran across a new customer of ours where they had data that had to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. They had tried to integrate the sytsems themselves wth custom scripting. The integration ended up getting very complicated and in the end they came to us asking us to integrate the two systems and we suggested using Scribe. 

Lou:  When you ask how do we align with the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem, you know we designed these application adapters because of the ease of configurability. They make it then very easy for a partner to build and implement these integrations. It allows the partners in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem to successful a lot sooner in their Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployments because they’re able to easily integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s with other applications in the customers’ domain.

Carlos:  So just to take a little step back. We’ve been talking to a lot about integration. Let’s take a bit of an overview of some of the different features of the Scribe solution.

Scribe in the Data Integration Industry

Lou:  Well, the biggest market, where we pride ourselves in being the leader is in CRM data integration.  The biggest thing is our Scribe Insight product. Our Scribe Insight product is our on-premise product that could be used for on-premise, hybrid or hosted integration deployments.

That product is used primarily for ERP to CRM integration.  When customers have the need to integrate data between their financial systems and their CRM systems – Scribe is the vendor of choice.

Carlos:  Is there any specific industry or needs that you serve?

Lou:  Our product is really the enabler for integration. Our product really becomes the enabler for Microsoft Dynamics partners to work specifically in different industries and verticals.  There is nothing about our product that makes it industry or vertical specific.

If you look at all of the major verticals though, we’re huge in the public sector.  We have a number of federal government agencies such as the Department of Defense, state agencies like the Pennsylvania Attorney Generals office and a lot of public sector entities that are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM are using Scribe.

In manufacturing we’re huge because as you know, there all kinds of manufacturers that are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Tempur-Pedic, the organization that makes mattresses, there a customer.

There are so many customers I could name, Pepsi-Cola is a customer.  Nikon, the camera company, is a customer.  Minolta, BMW, they’re all manufacturers that use Scribe.

Another vertical industry might be the the sports and entertainment industry. We have a number of sports teams that use our product to integrate ticket data.  Greenway Packers, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, the Boston Red Sox, the NHL office, the Carolina Panthers, the list goes on and on. 

In the end we are an enabler for the Microsoft Dynamics partner to implement their Microsoft Dynamics CRM or their Microsoft Dynamics XRM solution.

Carlos:  One of the things I find amazing about Scribe is how it not only works for situations where you want to integrate for example an ERP to CRM, but it really become a spoke for the organization that can pull and push information from multiple systems.

Lou:  As a matter of fact, 90% of our customers within six months of deploying Scribe will use it for some other integration activity.

So, I mean we’ve kind of made our play in the market many years ago as integrating Microsoft Dynamics GP to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These customers initially bought us for Microsoft Dynamics GP to Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration. Now they’re integrating other systems and they didn’t have to buy any new software.  They’re integrating manufacturing application into CRM, integrating their marketing campaigns in their websites etc.

Carlos:  It really is a foundation for future integration. Do you have a story for us on how a customer benefited? Can you take one of your customers and explain to us how they implement the solutions and benefits?

Lou:  We’ve got a number of case studies. But a good example is the company called the Apple Gold Group. They’re based in North Carolina and they run a series of Applebee restaurants. 

This company is a $250 million company. You know what’s interesting is so they as a result of using Scribe Insight to integrate Microsoft Dynamics GP to other applications within their environment, they save over $100,000 a year.

It used to cost them $1.67 per paycheck processing and now because of them being able to integrate from Microsoft Dynamics GP into their paycheck processing software they purchased, they saved $10,000 a month over doing it outsourced.  They now do-it in-house.

Same thing with W2’s processing fees, they saved $10,000 a year because they’re able to do it in-house because they’ve integrated Microsoft Dynamics GP with another system to do that.

That’s the type ROI that people are getting out of using our Scribe integration products.

The Scribe Roadmap

Carlos:  Do you have any goals or roadmaps for the product moving forward?

Lou:  Well, our Scribe Insight product will continue you know for the foreseeable future as being our core enterprise. As well we will continue to focus on the SMB on-premise hybrid and hosted integration platforms.  For our Scribe Online platform, we’re really focusing on eventually getting that product to where there is that feature parity with our Insight product.

We’re not really looking at the Scribe Online platform as taking over for Insight, because it’s focusing some different areas.  It’s really that partner collaborative platform where we really want to see partners and ISVs building solution. I’ll give you an example of that.  There is a company called Xactly.

They have a sales compensation package which integrates into and they are one of Salesforce’s largest ISVs.  They integrate right into and the app will share with sales rep how they’re performing against their compensation as they’re closing opportunities.

So their solution really aids in user adoption. Someone will use the CRM system because they can see right on their screen how well they’re doing. 

Now this organization wants to integrate into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  While they made their integration to Salesforce they do not have a method to do an integration to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. They’re using our Scribe Online service because their service is cloud-based. They’re using Scribe Online to integrate their app with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

So, what we’re able to do for Xactly is open up this whole new market.

In the roadmap we want to continue down the path of increasing the value in the Scribe Online service and continue to be more partner-centric and be more of a collaborative platform for partners. On the Insight side, since it’s our core enterprise product, our roadmap really is based on adding more performance features to get more enterprise performance out of products.

Scribe Product Updates

Carlos:  Can you comment on what you do to keep the product up to date? A lot of people looking out there when they’re purchasing software, if they’re really considering a provider, they want to know that the software is going to be updated and what is coming down the road. Could you share with how you keep the software up to date?

Lou: Well it’s very interesting, because we’re so partner-centric okay. We have a partner portal for these thousands of consultants that are out working with our product.

We have a partner portal that we call OpenMind and through that partner portal both our reseller consultants and customers can provide input to the product and they can actually vote on new features of the product.

As a matter of fact, we have an update release of Insight that will be coming out in June and I believe two or three of the features that will be in that release are based on requests of OpenMind. That’s how we stay right on top of what the market is requiring. Again you can do this when you know you have this partner channel that’s distributed geographically throughout the world. So we get input from Europe, we get input from South America, from Canada, from the U.S.

In OpenMind, our partners and customers can actually can vote on features.  If Joe in Alabama who is a consultant works for one of our partners puts in a feature request and nobody votes on it, you know that it isn’t that compelling. If a feature is put in and 500 consultants all vote on it and say yes, this is a feature people want and we know it’s compelling. We see this all the time.

Scribe and Microsoft Dynamics

Carlos:  I would like to get your feedback on the whole Microsoft Dynamics space. We’re a Microsoft Dynamics partner and we’re excited about where Microsoft Dynamics is going. You do a lot of work in the Microsoft Dynamics space and you see a lot from the perspective of integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics GP. What is something that from what you’ve seen in the Microsoft Dynamics space that stands out to you as benefit about the Microsoft Dynamics line of products.

Lou:  I think it’s all about what Microsoft Dynamics offers.  In that sense, it’s all about the desktop and the user experience.

The fact is, the Microsoft Dynamics team is really focusing on providing their customers that single view, the single Outlook view in their suite of products. Again it goes back to user adoption and ease of use and that’s what the products stand for. I think that’s the one thing that stands out the most.

Carlos:  Where do you see the market going with Microsoft Dynamics?

Lou: You know where our focus has been in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM space, primarily.  You know of course that we’re integrating into different Microsoft Dynamics ERP applications but our focus has primarily around the Microsoft Dynamics CRM space. I see the Microsoft Dynamics team really catching fire and really making a play for the market of online CRM right now. Currently they are somewhat relatively new at it.

But they have a lot more to offer, because of their Microsoft Dynamics suite of products and the ability to have the same look and feel. And of course by using Scribe they have the ability to integrate all of that.

Even though Microsoft is starting to provider their own integration pieces, those are basic and everybody quickly realizes during the integration process it becomes complex, so that is why people use Scribe.  So, I would say from a CRM standpoint they will definitely be a dominant player.

Carlos:  Just before you move let’s focus on the point you on brought out there. There is basic out of the box integration Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Explain to use what the difference is and why partners like ourselves as you indicated often recommend Scribe over the out of the box integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Lou:  Well, it’s really for a combination of the things I mentioned earlier, the integration, the basic integration is what Microsoft has provided for Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Microsoft Dynamics GP, to Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and to Microsoft Dynamics AX.  They integrate the base level of entities of contacts, accounts, opportunities etc.  If you want to expand on that then it involves quite honestly a lot of custom coding type of work to do that.

We provide preconfigured templates that already do all the mapping and even the complex mapping. If you’re looking to integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Microsoft Dynamics GP there is no custom coding required and that’s the big event.  As the Microsoft Dynamics has come out with these — with their integration pieces, number one, it’s made their customers more aware of the need for integration, so it’s actually helped our sales.

Number two, for small customers where they only need to integrate a couple of the basic integration works its fine, but as soon as they want to expand or get into custom entities, that’s when we see them. That’s where we see them moving to Scribe.

Microsoft Dynamics and the ISV Community

Carlos:  You know that Microsoft Dynamics has all kinds of ISV partners like yourself and we see as one of the big advantages of Microsoft Dynamics is its ISV community. If there is something that you feel is needed in the Microsoft Dynamics solution, there is a good chance there is an ISV partner out there already has that functionality. In your case, you integrate Microsoft Dynamics products.  If you were to recommend another Microsoft Dynamics ISV solution, what other Microsoft Dynamics ISV solutions would you recommend?

Lou:  You know I’ll tell you about one of the ISVs that we’ve we’ve worked with quite a bit and have seen them in our customers quite a bit. They’re called Experlogix and have a great product.

Carlos:  We work with them quite extensively as well.

Lou: They handle portals and configurators for configuring quote and orders. If someone is looking for those type of capabilities they are a great Microsoft Dynamics ISV for that.

Carlos: We have to kind of wrap up here. If we were demonstrating the software or you’re demonstrating the software, what kind of efficiency, their functionality do you like to highlight in Scribe? What kind of things would you bring out to them in the demonstration?

Lou:  It’s really couple of things.  It’s the point and click interface, the ease of use and you know the ability to reuse mapping that to create.  So, you have this template and you know as a partner you work in a construction industry and you’re using Scribe to integrate GP and CRM and a third-party application that deals with construction whatever that might be, right.  When you create those mappings, you can use them for customer A, you can then use those mappings again for customer B and C and D.  So, the ability to be repeated, and have templates that are repeatable.

Carlos:  Thank you for exciting laying out the value proposition of Scribe – especially in the integration space and how it makes a lot of our lives and a lot of our customers’ lives much simpler and much easier.  Is there anything you want to highlight before we wrap up or?

Lou:  No, I think we kind of covered quite a bit there. Appreciate you highlighting our solution.

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