CradlePoint is a privately held cloud-based network provider headquartered in Boise, Idaho, with a substantial national and international presence. Founded in 2006, they deliver 4G LTE network solutions for businesses, service providers, and government organizations. They also do some light hardware manufacturing that supports their network capabilities, maintaining a robust presence in branch, mobile, and IoT networks. 

 

In 2015, CradlePoint began looking for a cloud-based scalable infrastructure to align with their subscription-based growth trajectory, a new concept at the time that required more nuanced integration than their existing software could offer.  

 

SSNW was hired, having pitched the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 platform as the ideal candidate for CradlePoint’s needs. Employing Microsoft’s Sure Step implementation methodology, we followed a standard gated approach with iterative CRPs to build and customize the AX platform, including select third-party integrations. 

 

The tooling of AX software formed the bulk of the project. We also moved CradlePoint’s servers onto the cloud, since AX is not a cloud-based system like its successor, Dynamics 365. Through this, SSNW was able to realize significant shifts toward automated processes and ease of communication within the company’s divisions. Following this project, SSNW later came back to implement Microsoft’s D365 platform in 2019, further reducing client’s costs while providing evergreen support.  

 

Challenges 

 

  • Fully integrate the interface and workflows of retail, logistics, and wholesale divisions under one ERP platform 

  • Provide a flexible, scalable infrastructure for growing segments with limited need yet high capacity for supplemental systems and customizations 

  • Perform transformation while maintaining current operations 

 

Solutions 

 

  • Implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 as ERP platform with customizable third-party integrations and add-ons 

  • Move client’s in-house servers to the cloud (this expense was mitigated with the subsequent implementation of D365) 

  • Replacement of legacy custom green screen software 

  • In-person training for managers and staff via iterative CRP modules 

 

Results 

 

  • Realized significant shifts toward automated workflows 

  • Freed up manpower to focus on gestalt processes  

  • Through training, provided a competitive structural advantage for all employees 

 

History 

 

Around 2015, CradlePoint was dealing with the implementation of Rule 606 (ASC 606). This rule ensured that subscriptions had to be accounted over their time period, instead of being charged upfront and providing services over time. This created the common monthly subscription models many industries use today. 

 

CradlePoint’s custom software, however, were unable to handle this new model. There were issues with other software as well: BarTender, a custom integration for warehousing, required far too much manual input. There were also integration issues with SalesForce, slowing down the flow of business. All these factors led them to consider rebuilding their software from the ground up. 

 

Software Plan 

 

Primary 

 

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 

 

  • Provides a strong financial foundation and supply chain management capabilities  

  • Provides a robust platform for future enhancements 

  • Runs locally as an application instead of a browser 

 

Specific customizations: 

  • Integration with ACM and SalesForce, allowing renewal quotes to be generated, distributed more efficiently 

  • Optimized for web commerce 

  • Single system for product and services revenue, financial reporting 

  • Live inventory system automatically updated via custom EDI solution with online and in-transit inventory, clearer audit trail 

  • Cloud capability with Microsoft Azure 

 

Third party integrations 

 

SSNW streamlined over twenty integrations to the AX platform. The most significant of these were Sana e-commerce and Thomson Reuters’ OneSource tax solution. 

 

Sana e-commerce 

 

  • Scalable B2B commerce portal with simplified inventory, data management 

  • Real-time integration with Dynamics AX and the Azure cloud 

 

Thomson Reuters OneSource 

 

  • Flexible, simple interface that monitors transactions in real time 

  • Seamless integration with existing sales and purchasing processes 

  • Integrated with Dynamics AX 

 

2019 D365 Update: F&O Add-ons 

 

Azure Message Bus 

 

  • Fully managed enterprise integration message broker between CradlePoint and third party 

  • Offers a reliable and secure platform for asynchronous transfer of data and state 

  • Maintains updated information in real time 

 

Game Plan 

 

For the implementation of Dynamics AX, SSNW’s team was kept small and organized around a standard gated methodology along the Microsoft SureStep system. This allowed for a clear, staggered timeline gated along well-defined stages. Within these stages, the Conference Room Pilot (CRP) methodology was used, involving users and Business Systems Analysts in the tooling process. The following chart provides a simplified view of SSNW’s timeline for the project. 

 

The project was completed in one phase, since a large part of the work was customizing AX to handle processes that had earlier been handled by custom green screen software. The project was completed successfully, with CradlePoint’s ERP Application Manager describing SSNW as “an extension of our internal team.” In 2019, SSNW updated CradlePoint’s AX platform to Microsoft D365, tooling the Azure Message Bus for smoother communication between clients and providers. To date, SSNW continues to support CradlePoint’s D365 deployment, upgrades, development and integration needs. 

Cradlepoint streamlines financial and operational processes by implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX with Advanced Contract Management for services revenue recognition

© 2020 by Strategic Solutions NW

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