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					                                              Microsoft Office System
                                              Partner Solution Case Study




                                              Invoicing Solution Provider Grows Business
                                              Through Office Business Applications




Overview                                      ―We integrated ‗ready to use‘ Office system pieces as core
Country or Region: Italy, Europe
Industry: Software— Accounting and
                                              application components, and focused our development
invoice management software                   effort on the features and functionality of our application.
Partner Profile
                                              We saved 40 percent in development cost and got a
Diamante, based in Verona, Italy, provides    better product to market 30 to 40 percent faster.‖
full-featured accounting software to large
                                              Enzo Dalla Pria, CEO, Diamante Spa
and small businesses. The company has
marketed Office Business Applications
since 2003.
                                              Diamante, a successful provider of standalone accounting software
                                              Enzo Dalla Pria, CEO, Diamante

Business Situation                            based in Verona, Italy, began providing an innovative Office
Diamante, a provider of innovative
                                              Enzo Dalla Pria, Diamante CEO (OBA) solution that streamlines common
                                              Business Application
accounting software solutions, sought to
market a solution to the large, but           billing processes for small businesses. With its solution, Diamante
technology averse small business market.
                                              offers small businesses an inexpensive and user-friendly way to
Solution                                      invoice customers and coordinate with their accountants. The
Instead of trying to convince small
                                              solution was built using 2007 Microsoft® Office system
businesses to adapt their accounting
processes to a new solution, Diamante         components, including Microsoft® Office Word 2007, and uses
created an Office Business Application that
                                              Microsoft Online Services to provide data transfer, collaboration,
works the way small businesses work.
                                              and unified communications between small businesses and the
Benefits
                                              accounting firms that serve them. By adopting an OBA product
 Enhanced sales
 Grow addressable market                     development strategy, Diamante was able to minimize its product
 Cut product development cost
                                              development effort and tap into a lucrative new business that is
 Lower time and cost-to-market
 Early adoption of an Office system based    expected to grow by 30 to 40 percent over the next year.
  software-plus-services business model
Situation                                        Solution
For small businesses and self-employed           Instead of trying to force small businesses to
professionals, effective day-to-day              adapt their accounting processes, Diamante
accounting and book-keeping are                  recognized an opportunity to create a solution
essential. When cash-flow is king, invoice       that works the way small businesses work.
tracking and prompt payment are critical.        Diamante created a set of Office Business
Traditional relationships between small          Application (OBA) solutions that integrate with
businesses and their accountants,                Microsoft Office Word 2007 and other
however, are rarely a model of business          Microsoft technologies. With the company‘s
efficiency: meetings between small               solution set, Diamante Invoice Management
business and accountants are time-               Solutions, a small business can use the
consuming, and small businesses rely on          familiar 2007 Office system environment to
manual processes to keep clear and               quickly create, track, and store customer
synchronized invoice records.                    invoices. Using an automated online system,
                                                 the small business can transfer the invoice to
Management at Diamante witnessed the lack        a third-party accountant for processing, track
of concern with accounting efficiency among      the status of the invoice, and quickly
small businesses first-hand. For years,          communicate with the accountant should any
Diamante had marketed full-featured              issues arise. Invoice information—customer
accounting software that included the latest     account information, payment terms, order
government accounting standards and best         quantities, and other information—is
practices. However, like many other              automatically stored by the solution so that
accounting software providers, Diamante had      the small business can quickly reuse the data
difficulty marketing its full-featured package   in future invoices.
to small businesses, which often balked at
the cost and complexity of a comprehensive       Diamante Invoice Management Solutions
accounting software package.                     consist of three components:

Instead, these small businesses typically        • Fatturiamo.it – A client application
preferred manually billing customers using         integrated into Microsoft Office Word®
Microsoft® Word documents or even hand             2007 that allows small businesses to
written invoices. These firms relied on third-     prepare, send, and track customer invoices
party accounting service providers to handle       in a single environment.
most accounting tasks, such as tracking
                                                 • Network24 – An automated system that
expenditures and preparing tax statements.
                                                   routes invoices to third-party accountants
Manual customer invoicing and manual
                                                   for processing in real time.
communication with third party accountants
is error prone, laborious, and costly. Manual    • Diamante Service Centre – A secure web
invoicing and accounting processes all too         portal for document transfer and unified
often consume time and resources which             communication between small businesses
could be better spent on building business.        and their accountants.
Diamante saw a market need for a simple,
                                                 The Diamante OBA solution was built using
inexpensive software solution to allow small
                                                 both 2007 Office system technologies and
businesses to bill their customers and
                                                 the Business Productivity Online Suite from
coordinate with their accountants.
                                                 Microsoft.
                             The new billing process begins when a small       development (R&D) effort to reduce its own
                             business worker creates an invoice in Word        product development costs.
                             2007 by selecting customer and product data
                             from the Fatturiamo.it task pane within Word      Expanding Business Opportunities
                             2007 and automatically inserting the data         With its OBA solution, Diamante has been
                             into a new invoice with a few mouse clicks.       able to tap into a niche software market
                             Once the invoice has been prepared, a single      made up in Italy of over three million small
                             click within Word 2007 saves the invoice          businesses. Diamante was impressed with
                             data locally and also stores it in a Microsoft    the sales of its OBA accounting solution, and
                             SharePoint® Online repository shared with         expects an annual growth rate for its OBA
                             the accountant. The accountant is notified        product of between
                             through Microsoft Exchange Online when a          30 and 40 percent
                             client invoice is available for processing.       over the next three
                             After the accountant receives the notification    years. With a simple
                             email, the accountant is guided through the       customer value
                             invoice controlling process by an automated       proposition and a
                             workflow built into SharePoint Online, which      solution that works
                             ensures that the invoice is properly              the way small businesses work, the company
                             processed and notifies the small business         has quickly gained market share and
                             when processing is complete. The workflow         positioned itself for continued growth and
                             automatically adds the data to the                plans to offer its solution abroad.
                             accountant‘s tax application without any
                             additional data entry.                            The unique model of the Diamante OBA
                                                                               solution has expanded cross-selling
                             If any problems arise during the workflow, the    opportunities for the company and driven
                             accountant can contact the small business         sales growth. For example, when Diamante
                             using one of many unified communication           sells Fatturiamo.it to small business
                             channels within Microsoft Office                  customers to handle their invoicing needs,
                             Communications Online. The communication          the accounting firms that service those
                             channels range from simple emailing and text      businesses are compelled to purchase
                             messages to video chat and Microsoft Live         Network24 to improve the efficiency of
                             Meeting Web conferences.                          invoice processing. Likewise, when an
                             By incorporating OBA components and               accounting firm begins to use Network24, it
                             Microsoft Online Services, Diamante is able       is in their best interest to promote
                             to offer a full featured accounting solution to   Fatturiamo.it to their small business clients
                             its small business customers at a very            and maximize the efficiency of their client
                             competitive price.                                relationships. Enzo Dalla Pria, CEO of
                                                                               Diamante, tracks the relationship between
                             Benefits                                          Fatturiamo.it and Network24 sales very
                             By adopting an Office Business Application        closely. ―Each Network24 license sold to an
                             (OBA) development strategy, Diamante was          accountant produces on average 20 to 30
                             able to expand its business opportunities by      new Fatturiamo.it licenses from small
Diamante Solution Workflow   better meeting the unique needs of its small      business customers,‖ he says.
                             business customers. The company increased
                             its return on investment (ROI) by entering a      Diamante has also shifted the revenue model
                             new market and increasing sales, and by           for accounting software in Italy and has
                             leveraging the Microsoft research and             captured market share as a result.
                                                                               Customarily, providers of accounting software
                                 solutions in Italy have depended on               To meet operational efficiency requirements,
                                 maintenance fees from their customers.            the Diamante OBA solution streamlines data
                                 Unlike its competition, Diamante does not         transfer and communication between small
                                 charge its customers maintenance fees.            businesses and their accountants. Small
                                 ―Each OBA component falls under a Microsoft       businesses are able to create and send
                                 SLA. We don‘t double charge our customers         invoices to accountants faster and with fewer
                                 for maintenance,‖ says Dalla Pria. Instead,       errors, shortening the overall time it takes to
                                 the company uses a less expensive                 receive payment from customers and
                                 subscription based using Microsoft Online         lowering overall operational costs.
                                 Services. With this model, small businesses       Accountants are able to quickly process
                                 and accounting firms alike can tailor their       invoices with automated workflow. When
                                 software contracts to what works best for the     accounting issues arise, accountants can
                                 business. As a result, Diamante is seeing a       quickly meet with their clients online through
                                 number of small businesses and accounting         instant messaging and video chats to rapidly
                                 firms switch to the Diamante OBA solution         resolve the issue. With the Diamante

―It is not unusual for a         from competing solutions.                         solution, accountants can better serve their
                                                                                   clients‘ needs while reducing their own costs.
business to get up and           Diamante is also growing revenue from its

running operationally            new software-plus-services model. Last year,
                                 the company received a quarter of its
                                                                                   The Diamante OBA solution also better fits
                                                                                   into the IT budgets of small businesses. Small
with Fatturiamo.it within        revenue from the Diamante Service Centre,         businesses are usually attracted to Diamante

fifteen minutes of               which provides secure document transfer and
                                 dynamic communications between small
                                                                                   because of cheaper per user license costs,
                                                                                   but quickly realize other IT cost savings as
installation. That saves         businesses and accountants.                       well. For instance, costs associated with

a lot in deployment and          Management at Diamante sees further
                                                                                   deploying new software and training users to
                                                                                   use that software disappear altogether,
training costs.‖                 opportunities for expansion beyond Italy. The     because the Diamante solution leverages the
                                 company is localizing its software into           familiar 2007 Office system and the Online
Enzo Dalla Pria, CEO, Diamante
                                 English, German, and Spanish, and is forging      Services from Microsoft. ―It is not unusual for
                                 partnerships with companies in England,           a business to get up and running
                                 Austria, and Spain to bring its OBA solution to   operationally with Fatturiamo.it within fifteen
                                 the rest of Europe and to South America.          minutes of installation,‖ says Dalla Pria. ―That
                                                                                   saves a lot in deployment and training costs.‖
                                 Better Meeting Customer Requirements
                                 Prior to creating their OBA, Diamante studied     The costs to migrate data from legacy
                                 how small businesses invoice their customers      systems are also mitigated. For many small
                                 and interact with their accountants. With this    businesses, the costs of transferring every
                                 market research, the                              piece of customer and sales information into
                                 company was able to                               a database before being able to use a new IT
                                 tailor its OBA solution                           solution is a show stopper. Instead of
                                 to the accounting                                 requiring all data to be entered into a
                                 needs of the small                                database at once, the OBA solution from
                                 business market. Fatturiamo.it, Network24,        Diamante incrementally adds data as new
                                 and the Diamante Service Centre work              invoices are created. According to Dalla Pria,
                                 together to better meet the technical and         ―We capture a business‘ data automatically,
                                 business requirements of Diamante                 every time a worker creates an invoice with
                                 customers.                                        Word.‖ Eventually, all of a small business‘
                                                                                   accounting data will be captured by the
                                 system for quick and easy reuse in new             Task Pane so that users will have all of the
                                 invoices, without any additional costs for data    invoicing data they need at their fingertips.‖
                                 migration.

                                 Leveraging the Microsoft R&D Effort                Leveraging the Microsoft Partner Program
                                 By leveraging the extensive Microsoft              Diamante leverages the Microsoft Partner
                                 investment in the 2007 Office system and           Program to stay abreast of the software
                                 Microsoft Online Services, Diamante was able       development trends at Microsoft. According
                                 to reduce product development costs and            to Dalla Pria, ―When
                                                      speed up time to market.      the Microsoft Business
                                                      ―With Fatturiamo.it 1.5, we   Productivity Online
                                                      integrated ‗ready to use‘     Services (BPOS)
                                                      Office system pieces as       became available
                                                      core application              during the beta
                                                      components, and focused       program, we immediately incorporated them
                                 our development effort on the features and         into our application. BPOS was a natural
                                 functionality of our product,‖ says Dalla Pria.    complement to Fatturiamo.it.‖
                                 ―As a result, we saved 40 percent in
                                 development cost and got a better product to       Diamante also participates in the Microsoft
                                 market 40 percent faster.‖                         Technology Adoption Program (TAP), a
                                                                                    program only offered to Microsoft partners
                                 The company‘s solution uses a number of            and provides partners with a means to test
                                 technology components of the 2007 Office           new solutions with select customer groups.
                                 system. One such component, the Ecma               ―For TAP, we undertook an actual user case
                                 Open XML file format, allows Fatturiamo.it to      to better understand the daily business
                                 extract, store, and reuse data placed into         benefits that our suite and BPOS provides,‖
                                 Word 2007 documents. The Open XML                  says Dalla Pria. ―The study is still ongoing, but
                                 format was one of the primary reasons              the response from our test group has been
                                 Diamante decided to pursue an OBA strategy,        very good.‖
―The easiest part of our         rather than relying on another product
development was                  development strategy—the Microsoft product
                                 development roadmap looked the most
building out our Word            secure. ―We considered other approaches to
2007 Task Pane items.            developing Fatturiamo.it, but Microsoft was
                                 supporting Open XML, a standard for file
We bring all of our              formats,‖ says Dalla Pria. ―We knew any
system data within the           solution we developed using Open XML would
                                 work on every new release of the Office
Word 2007 Task Pane              system.‖
so that users have all of
                                 Diamante found the 2007 Office system
the invoicing data they          client applications to be readily adaptable.
need at their fingertips.‖       ―The easiest part of our development was
                                 building our Word 2007 Task Pane items,‖
Enzo Dalla Pria, CEO, Diamante   says Dalla Pria, referring to the side bar in
                                 Word 2007 that displays helpful information
                                 like a dictionary and thesaurus. ―We bring all
                                 of our system data within the Word 2007
For More Information                                            Microsoft Office System
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Microsoft subsidiary. To access information
using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Diamante
products and services, call +39 (045)
8100899 or visit the Web site at:
www.diamante.it




                                                                 Software and Services                        − Microsoft Office Professional 2007
                                                                    Products                                 − Office Business Applications



This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT
MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS
SUMMARY.

Document published April 2009

				
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