Case Orient Occident

Business development presents new challenges to IT – ERP and CRM in key position

Orient Occident, an importer of high quality interior textiles and floor coverings, has used the Digia Enterprise ERP system since 2007. As the business developed, Enterprise was updated in 2015 into a new version that enables the development of new services desired by the customers. At the same time, Orient Occident also decided to centralise the CRM with a familiar partner that had already been proven reliable. Dealing with one single partner brings agility and cost-effectiveness to the everyday business.

We introduced Digia Enterprise in 2007, and we have been happy that Digia has invested in the system and developed it over the years. Moving CRM over to Digia in 2015 was a natural continuation of the partnership. When we cooperate in several issues, it makes the day-to-day operation easier, and we are better able to develop new solutions together in the long run. It requires trust that needs to be earned, and the people at Digia have indeed earned our trust.

Mikko Puputti, CEO, Orient Occident


The customers' wishes guide the development of IT solutions that make it possible to offer new services flexibly

Orient Occident seeks to centralise IT responsibilities in the hands of a few carefully selected partners. Digia handles the company’s ERP and CRM. Trust is founded on Digia’s visionary approach and good knowledge of the customer’s business operations. Everything revolves around providing better service to Orient Occident’s customers.

Orient Occident is a service-oriented importer of interior textiles, floor coverings and rugs; the company was established in 1919. The hand of the Finnish family company can be seen in the Finnish Parliament, on the ships of Viking Line and Tallink, and in many of the most famous Finnish hotels and restaurants from Kalastajatorppa to Graniittilinna.

Orient Occident’s business is operated in the Digia Enterprise ERP system: Logistics, sales and purchase orders, stock, and financial administration. The system was commissioned in 2007. CEO Mikko Puputti worked as the development manager of the family business at the time, and he was involved in choosing the new ERP system as a project manager.

“We went through different systems pretty thoroughly at the time. We wanted a Finnish partner with product development in Finland,” says Puputti, CEO.

“In the end, Digia Enterprise ERP was the best package. We found a system that suits us, and Digia was flexible with regard to the parts where changes were needed. So we were offered a good ‘off-the-shelf package’, and the partner could adapt it to our processes,” says Mikko Puputti.

Careful background work and selection process went far. Digia Enterprise served Orient Occident’s needs for many years nearly as is, with only minor development work required. However, the situation changed in the past few years.

“Our customers started to need different kinds of new services,” Mikko Puputti explains.

“Because we want to operate in a very customer-oriented way, we decided to develop our services actively. This has resulted in IT playing a larger role in the last few years as a part of our strategy, and change requirements also arose for ERP,” says Mikko Puputti.

 So that ERP could meet the challenges of the changing business better, the decision was made to update Digia Enterprise to a newer version.

Flexible systems guarantee better service for customers

As an example of new services, Mikko Puputti mentions the webshop implemented by Orient Occident during 2016.

“Changing the Digia Enterprise version made it possible to deploy a new Product Data Management. This means that the webshop has detailed product information on materials and other features, for example, as well as up-to-date information on the stock balances and delivery times,” Mikko Puputti says.

In connection with the version change, the Unifaun transport management system was also connected to Digia Enterprise. “When the deliveries are managed electronically from start to finish, fewer errors occur in the delivery and the traceability of the deliveries improves,” Mikko Puputti says.

The third large reform involved giving up the company’s own data centres and transitioning into a hosting service.

“We believe that the solution will bring us more flexibility and agility in the long run. We do not need to maintain unnecessary server space just in case. If we need more capacity for the servers or if we want to introduce new applications, it is easy to come to an agreement, and the time from making the decision to implementation is short,” Puputti describes.

Reliability in everyday business is also a factor.

“If the servers should suddenly have a problem, I’m highly confident that the experts know how to fix the situation – compared to us starting to troubleshoot issues on our own servers,” Puputti sums up.

The reforms aim at achieving a flexible system package that supports developing the operations and enables the easy deployment of new services and applications.

All this has one single objective: better service for designers, architects and retailers – the customers of Orient Occident.

A local partner helps with making the most of CRM

In late 2015, Orient Occident’s account management system Microsoft Dynamics CRM was transferred to Digia, when the maintenance ended with the old provider.

Puputti describes CRM as a critical data bank for the company.

“CRM has all of the information about our customers. Before, our customer information was in many different places. One clear system makes operation faster and smoother. The information is up to date and available for everyone. This is important when you need to substitute for someone else – and in everyday work in general,” Mikko Puputti says.

CRM plays an essential role in not only the sales and marketing management, but also in monitoring projects. There may be hundreds of projects in progress at the same time. Up-to-date information on them can be found in ERP and in the CRM system.

“Digia taking over CRM went quickly and well, without any friction. Now we will continue to develop the use of CRM together,” says Mikko Puputti.

Orient Occident uses the Dynamics CRM as a cloud service, which adds a certain dynamism to the system, according to Puputti.

“We try to avoid customisation, but the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system has so many features that it makes it pretty easy. There are updates a few times a year, and they often bring new and interesting features,” Puputti says and mentions the Social Engagement function as an example.

“We had recently opened social media accounts for our company. We happened to mention this to Digia’s contact person, who asked if we knew that CRM has a Social Engagement tool for taking advantage of social media. Well, that was news to us. Then we started to brainstorm together how we could use the tool,” Mikko Puputti says.

“For us, Digia is a local partner that makes a large business system available to us on one hand, and helps with adapting it to suit us on the other hand. The people at Digia are familiar with us after years of cooperation, and they know how we can get the exact best benefit from the system,” Puputti states.

Centralising IT responsibilities deepens understanding – and requires trust

Orient Occident aims to centralise the IT responsibilities increasingly clearly to a few select partners.

“We do not have our own information management. This means that we need IT partners to ensure that our information systems operate reliably. However, the partner network cannot be too large. A manageable network guarantees cost-efficiency and agility,” Puputti says.

This was one reason why Digia, which had become familiar as the Enterprise provider, was a natural choice when looking for a CRM system provider; daily work is easier when you only need to deal with one single partner. In addition to Digia Enterprise, Orient Occident also uses Digia’s Ote applications on the hand-held terminals at the warehouse.

Mikko Puputti believes that the better the partners know each other, the better solutions they can develop together.

“When you centralise more things with the same party, you learn to know each other and the understanding between partners becomes deeper. Naturally, this requires trust. That needs to be earned, and yes, the people at Digia have earned our trust. For example, I appreciate that we can speak pretty frankly with each other,” Mikko Puputti considers.

He thinks that it is human to encounter challenges in IT projects at times.

“The essential thing is how the challenges are solved, and how the operation is maintained and developed in one big picture. One little problem in a project can’t destroy that,” Puputti sums up.

In the partnership between Digia and Orient Occident, he also praises Digia’s commitment to developing the Enterprise system.

“We have been happy that Digia has invested in the system and developed it over the years. Digia Enterprise has been attracting new users continuously, and it has remained robust. It doesn’t sprawl, but instead the common issues are developed on a long-term basis,” Mikko Puputti thinks.

“And there’s another thing: the people. People clearly like working at Digia. This also creates a long-term approach: Digia has learned to know us, and we get a visionary partnership from you. It crystallises into a mutual trust,” Mikko Puputti notes.

You may also be interested in: