Close to 55,000 African-American churches and millions of households take advantage of magazines, books, teaching curricula, digital media, and other content from UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). The company is the largest creator and publisher of resources and content for African-American churches and individual consumers. In addition, 15 denominational groups rely on UMI as their partner for custom publishing and media solutions.
Neither UMI’s legacy Exact Macola enterprise resource planning (ERP) system nor NetSuite had the flexibility to easily meet the company’s requirements. Company leadership found it difficult to extract timely, meaningful information from the systems. For example, Wright and his colleagues were not able to efficiently perform period-to-period comparisons of sales data and order volumes to use in business planning. Connecting churches, all of the individuals involved with a church, and their orders with as many as 40 different products also proved to be a challenging task, as was the management of subscriptions. Thousands of UMI customers receive publications at quarterly intervals, requiring the capability to generate correct orders with the proper inclusion of identical and different order detail.
When UMI researched software products and vendors, it found that almost all of the capabilities it looked for are standard in Microsoft Dynamics. Deploying Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM would give the company a solid infrastructure to manage the business and its complex customer relationships effectively. “We were a tough audience, examining technologies and vendors very thoroughly,” says Wright. “Microsoft Dynamics solutions offered the most powerful tools, by far, to help us address our concerns.”