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How Fast Can Revlon Install Microsoft Dynamics AX?

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    One of the most charismatic and enthusiastic customers to be spotlighted at Convergence 2013 was David Giambruno, Senior VP and CIO of Revlon. As David repeatedly said about the Revlon business model, “We make lipstick”.

    RevlonBut it is a tad more complicated than that. Revlon is a worldwide cosmetics, hair color, beauty tools, fragrances, skincare, anti-perspirants/deodorants and beauty care products company. This $1.4 billion dollar US company develops products and retail strategies that cater to local markets in more than 100 countries. Any they use Microsoft Dynamics AX.

    At the core Revlon is a service business. David feels strongly that he must use technology for the company’s advantage. As he says on his Linked In profile, “I make systems work for people, rather than the people work for systems. Wield technology for competitive advantage.” He does not talk to the CFO about systems, the CFO tells him what he needs and as the CIO, David makes it happen.

    His current assignment is a big one.

    Revlon is currently collapsing 21 separate ERP systems into just one - Microsoft Dynamics AX. With no customizations.

    There are 50 different business entities within Revlon and each one was running their own ERP system. As David joked, “We used to be an equal opportunity ERP aquirerer.”

    But their goal now is unification - to unite customers, unite business and IT, unite their people and act as one unified organization. David stated that there is a “no customization rule” within Revlon. So Microsoft Dynamics AX must work out of the box.

    The goal is simplification.

    This change will dramatically impact how Revlon operates. They are shutting off 72% of the applications currently running in the company. And they will be running their new systems in what David called “one of the most advanced “internal clouds” (data centers) in the world.” To give you an idea of the scope, they average 14,000 transactions a second.

    The challenges of this type of global ERP implementation are many.

    After all, Revlon is trying to accomplish tasks like collapsing 50 General Ledger formats into one. So in the beginning Revlon had to build one set of processes for the whole company. But there are so many different ways of doing the same thing, especially in a global company. Instead of asking each team to document their requirements in advance, David went a different route by showing them Microsoft Dynamics AX up front.

    He made a valid point that if you ask someone their requirements, they can only tell you based on their past experience of what they know. He needed to show them Dynamics AX so they could see it and touch it. Then he could find out how they needed to use it. And it helped that Dynamics AX is, as he says, “pretty.” For a company used to green screens it was a huge improvement already.

    So how fast did Revlon implement Microsoft Dynamics AX?

    David told us that it took 377 days to bring the first country online with Microsoft Dynamics AX. Because there was so much planning and processes that had to take place.

    But the second country was running in 14 days.

    The third country was up and running in only 6 hours.

    David said they had 800 issues the first month, but only 8 issues the second month.

    Revlon has decreased the time to deliver a project by 70%.

    And one of the most amazing facts, they have kept the budget flat while doing it.

    It is no wonder to me that David Giambruno 2013 Customer Excellence Award Winner for Business Visionary. He has certainly helped his organization realize its vision or transform the organization in a significant way through the use of new technology.

    Revlon will be a tough customer act to follow at Convergence 2014.

    Read more about Microsoft Dynamics and Revlon and Video case study: Revlon Consolidates ERP to Turn Data into Information and Information into Action

    By Anya Ciecierski, ERP Software Blog Editor,

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