See also: Aston Martin CIO profile

Aston Martin is on the road to better accounting and improved customer relationship management with a new Microsoft system.

The luxury car maker has deployed a Microsoft Dynamics AX system with the help of Microsoft partner eBECS. Microsoft Dynamics AX is being flexibly used across all accounting ledgers, including general, purchase, fixed assets and sales.

Aston Martin said the single integrated system has made its operations and information "flow more easily and efficiently than before".

Bradley Yorke-Biggs, strategy and IT director at Aston Martin, said: “We have been able to get financial data generated quickly, our cash-flow management processes and aged debtors reports are rapidly processed, and the system gives us much greater efficiency in reporting.”

Aston Martin also recognised the essential need to understand the profile of its customers and clearly distinguish them from people making more generalised inquiries, leading it to expand its use of Microsoft Dynamics.

The company has now decided to extend its use of the financials module and incorporate Microsoft Dynamics AX to replace a series of spreadsheets and unconnected databases. It says this has resulted in a comprehensive and fully integrated database of contacts that can be segmented into categories of interest and ownership to "ensure that the nature of the relationship can be tailored precisely to the customer".

Aston Martin is now currently looking at options for moving some of its systems to the cloud, including evaluating the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 desktop productivity suite. A wider implementation of Dynamics AX in 2013 is also on the cards.

“With the full implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, we will have a far more accurate and resilient product structure and engineering change management environment,” said Yorke-Biggs.

Currently this is a manual process, he said, but a wider rollout will deliver an electronic change management capability. "It will improve the integrity of the system we use and affect changes to manufacturing faster but still respect our unique engineering and manufacturing concept,” he said.

Last year Aston Martin moved to streamline its global processes from design to development with Siemens product life management (PLM) software and services.

The Siemens NX software delivers integrated computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering analysis, and the Teamcenter software manages product and process knowledge.