This post first appeared on Microsoft's Dynamics 365 blog. Read the original post here. Image: Frette.

One might think that the world’s oldest brands are least resistant to change—as if innovation and heritage are opposing ideas in business. Instead, we can learn a lot about endurance in modern business from brands that have adapted to change for decades or, in the case of luxury linen maker Frette, for more than 155 years.

Since 1860, Frette has crafted luxury linens found in the world’s most prestigious hotels, private homes, royal palaces—even the Titanic and Orient Express. Now the company is taking a big step to bridge it’s past, built on a tradition of quality and customer service, and its future, as an omnichannel business built on Dynamics 365.

Frette initially set out to update its point-of-sale system in its boutiques across the U.S. and Europe. Behind the scenes, however, the company was struggling to present customers with an omnichannel retail experience. The business operated on over a dozen legacy, outdated systems, so there was a need to unite lines of business across European and North American operations.

As Paolo Fabiocchi, CFO of Frette explains, “We started just by looking for a solution for our stores, but once we learned about Dynamics 365, our vision became having true omnichannel capabilities to better serve our customers. That the solution (Dynamics 365) has global, Tier 1 capabilities but is still so much less complex and costly to maintain was what really put it over the top for us.”

Frette met with Sunrise Technologies, an award-winning Dynamics 365 partner, to help modernize the business. Sunrise focused on solving several key challenges, connecting Frette’s business ecosystem, improving visibility across the organization, and automating manual, error-prone processes.

Unifying operations on a modern cloud platform

For many companies, legacy modernization is a daunting initiative, and Frette’s challenge was no exception. The company has multiple divisions to handle hospitality, wholesale, consultancy, and retail businesses—with divisions segmented across Europe, North America, and Asia. With disjointed systems and databases, customer service agents had limited access to inventory and orders, and customers experienced increased order processing times and wait times to check order statuses.

On Dynamics 365, Frette is unifying international systems and business processes. By dismantling data silos, they now have a single platform to run operations—from production to back office to POS. Best of all, Frette can unlock company data for a holistic, 360-degree view of the business, customers, and employees. For example, they can now follow an order from production in Italy to a boutique in New York, with real-time order and inventory status available to frontline workers. Frette also expects to explore IoT, machine learning, and other emerging technologies that will provide pervasive intelligence to reveal insights and trends across the organization.

Automation, everywhere

With company data like orders and inventory scattered across silos, Frette struggled with highly manual processes and a lack of visibility at every level of the organization, from the call center to the C-Suite. Overstocking was common to ensure popular items were on hand. The B2B hospitality business had increased staff by 30 percent in three years to keep up with manual order entries. Ecommerce orders had to be manually duplicated between the POS system and distribution systems. And returning an ecommerce order in store caused hassles on the back end.

Sunrise Technologies focused on streamlining and automating the business, including implementation of its custom supply chain solution that seamlessly integrates with Dynamics 365. Now Frette has a single platform that eliminates time-consuming, error-prone processes while seeing everything from inventory levels, orders, and allocation scenarios in one place.

The takeaway

Frette’s story shows us what’s possible when ingenuity and foresight are baked into a company’s values and culture. By modernizing its entire operation on future-proof business solutions, the company has ensured its 155-year tradition of first-class customer experiences is preserved for generations to come.