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Based in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, CMC Motors Group has a nationwide network of branches. The group offers vehicles, service, and spares from manufacturers including Maruti, Suzuki, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Mazda and Ford cars, Nissan Diesel & Iveco Trucks, New Holland and Nardi Agricultural Equipment, and Bobcat.

Managing this wide range of inventory, as well as the financials and other business information, across a nationwide network of dealerships is a demanding task. It is highly dependent on an effective business management solution.

Clement Njonjo, IT Manager, CMC Motors Group, explains the necessity for an effective system: “In Nairobi, we have six selling points and another seven branches countrywide. Managing sales, purchasing, accounting, and payroll can only be achieved with efficient business software systems. Technology is critical and we couldn’t run this business without it.”

An existing UNIX-based solution, in place for some 10 years, was rapidly reaching its limitations. The company felt it was necessary to improve performance by narrowing the technology gap that now existed. It was only due to the extraordinary efforts of CMC Motors Group IT employees, with constant development of new functions as required by the business, that the system had managed to stay in service.

The solution was extensively customised over the years. Users experienced serious difficulties in maintaining and expanding

the system, and serious flaws persisted.

Njonjo says: “The old system was character-based (instead of a graphical user interface) and while sales employees could access the information contained in the system, management could not. Every time managers needed a report, the intervention of the IT department was necessary, taking a great deal of time and limiting the ability of managers to accurately track the business performance.”

He adds that the age of the system was also a factor. Technology has progressed significantly, and CMC Motors Group wanted to take advantage of new developments and functionality. “Even with a lot of modifications, the system was difficult to use and we felt we could not amend it any further.”

Njonjo says it was most important that the new system would deliver appropriate management reporting. It had to be easy to run and manage for IT staff, while from a business point of view, it had to be easy for users to understand. A cost-efficient solution was also critical.

CMC Motors Group was expanding rapidly, so the solution needed to be able to grow and respond flexibly to changing circumstances. In addition, solution performance needed to sustain a dramatic increase in transactions volume.

Andreas Pedersen, Microsoft® Business Solutions Channel Manager for West, East, and Central Africa, says that the challenge was to address all CMC Motors Group business needs with minimum

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