19 Mar 2012 9:00 AM I'm Bill Schlageter, Vice President and CIO of DENTSPLY International. As a CIO, I understand the pressure companies experience when replacing an outdated IT landscape quickly and cost-effectively. I want to share with you how our company improved global business performance and reduced IT operational costs by implementing the Microsoft suite of solutions --- from Active Directory, to Microsoft Exchange, to Microsoft SharePoint, to Microsoft Dynamics AX, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. For background, DENTSPLY International is a leading manufacturer and distributor of professional dental consumable and other healthcare products. We distribute dental products in over 120 countries under some of the most well-established brand names in the industry. DENTSPLY is committed to the development of innovative, high quality, cost-effective new products for the dental market. As our business grew, we relied on local IT solutions to meet the needs in each country. While this strategy initially proved effective, it ultimately led to a collection fragmented and progressively outdated set of technologies. This situation generated high cost of ownership and support, made management of global information difficult, and introduced risk. Moreover, this fragmented IT landscape became a barrier to our ability to work synergistically across locations. We knew that we needed a more coordinated approach to our IT strategy, one that let us manage the global aspects of our business centrally while allowing us to remain flexible and agile in the markets we serve. We considered a number of different options. We explored the ERP solutions from most of the major players. We investigated the communication and collaboration platforms from a number of competitors. We assessed the infrastructure strategies of the larger technology service providers. More importantly, we assessed the needs of our business, how and where we were growing, and how our associates work together. Ultimately, we selected the Microsoft suite of solutions to support our business. First we implemented global instances of Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft SharePoint to link our locations together and to improve collaboration. Then we layered Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online into this technology ecosystem. We currently run a single global instance of Microsoft Dynamics AX across three continents. This gives us a comprehensive view of the central elements of our business. The built-in, country-specific localizations allow us to respond to local market demands and regulatory requirements. We have seen two important cost benefits from embracing the full Microsoft suite. Our cost of ownership has dropped significantly because we have centralized, global solutions versus dozens of local tools. Our cost of implementation and integration is low because the Microsoft tools natively integrate and rely on each other. We now have a platform that allows us to focus on growing our business and serving our customers.