Microsoft Business Solutions
Customer Solution Case Study
/ / Data Processing Air Takes Control with Field Service Management
Country or Region:United States
Industry:Other Professional Services
Customer Profile
Data Processing Air Corporation provides design, installation, and service of data center environmental control systems in private sector businesses.
Business Situation
Data Processing Air implemented Microsoft® Business Solutions–Great Plains® for their financial management needs in 1999. They later added more functionality, including Supply Chain Management.
In 2001, the company implemented the Field Service Management module to manage the activity of their more than 50 Field Service Technicians.
Elimination of five FTEs
Increased efficiencies
More localized control
Informed decision-making / "There's never been a time when Microsoft Great Plains has not been responsive to trying to figure out a solution to a problem. You keep coming up with better ways to do things..."
Jennifer Harler, Corporate Controller, Data Processing Air Corporation
When Data Processing Air Corporation needed a Y2K-compliant system in 1999, they turned to Microsoft Business Solutions–Great Plains for their financial management solution.
When they later realized the need for a more efficient method for managing the operations of over 50 Field Service Technicians, they turned to the Microsoft Great Plains Field Service Management module.
Not only was the company able to save five FTEs in their regional Call Centers and 10-15 hours per week in billing, they also improved the efficiency of their field operations force, provided more effective management reporting tools, and were able to provide better, quicker information for customers.


Data Processing Air Corporation provides design, installation, and service of critical systems such as UPS, environmental control, power distribution, and fire protection systems for data centers. The company serves such industries as aerospace, banking, telecommunications, high technology companies, institutional, health care, and other private sector businesses.

Data Processing Air's experience with data center HVAC and construction systems provides a niche for their business. Since HVAC in high technology environments is their business focus, they know how to provide turnkey solutions expertly and efficiently; their staff and consultants design up to 150 such systems per year.

Data Processing Air also provides preventive maintenance and 24-hour emergency services for its customers, for whom keeping their data centers up and running continuously is of paramount importance.

The company has 76 employees in six locations: Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles—all large cities in the southwestern United States.

At its peak, the company's annual revenue was $24 million. With the economic downturn and fewer data centers being built, the revenue has tapered to about $16 million for 2003. Their planned maintenance contracts have sustained the business during the economic downturn.

In the wintertime, Data Processing Air responds to approximately 50 service calls per day across their locations in addition to their routine maintenance calls. During the peak air conditioning season in the summer, that number increases to approximately 250 per day.

In October of 1999, Data Processing Air realized that they needed a Y2K-compliant financial management solution. In addition, they were breaking away from a sister company relationship and needed a financial system independent from that company.

They looked at several software packages and selected Microsoft® Business Solutions–Great Plains®, implementing the general ledger, accounts receivable, and project accounting functionality.

In March of 2000, Jennifer Harler assumed the position of Corporate Controller. Harler liked what Microsoft Great Plains was doing for the company. She became a Microsoft Great Plains champion, adding functionality and expanding its use.

Because their business revolves around servicing customers at their locations, Data Processing Air's field service operations are the core of their business. About 80 percent of their employees are Field Service Technicians who travel to customer sites, performing planned maintenance on the systems and responding to service calls. The company realized that the lack of automation in their field service operations was causing them a good deal of pain.

It would take each Service Manager an entire day to schedule the planned maintenance for their Field Service Technicians. Because technicians would have to wait until 7:00 a.m. to find out their schedule for the day, they were unable to plan their days in advance. They had to call the service center for addresses for each customer site. Because of the lack of organization, a technician often put on many miles traveling to distant sites.

Simply responding to customer calls was cumbersome. Harler says, "We felt we were losing ground with our customers, not being on top of what their problems were. Every time we wanted to learn something about a customer, we had to physically pull their file and call them back."

Determining what service calls had been completed and which had not was a cumbersome project of manually searching through orders. Harler also reports that they were spending enormous amounts of time billing for their planned maintenance and service calls, a manually intensive process that slowed them down; invoices were not getting to customers as quickly as they wanted.


Considering the company's satisfaction with their Microsoft Great Plains solution, Harler wondered if there was an integrated product that could help with their service call management. The question Harler asked was, "What does Microsoft Great Plains have that we can fit in with our accounting system that will make life easier?"

The Microsoft Great Plains Field Service Management module filled that requirement. They beta tested the module in July of 2001. The Field Service Management module has streamlined scheduling of planned maintenance. Service Managers can assign an account to a Field Service Technician. They no longer have to spend hours developing a detailed schedule for each technician.

Each week, the technician receives an automated report identifying approximately 35 accounts for which they need to do planned maintenance that week. The technician can schedule their week geographically in the most efficient manner for them.

The call center works more efficiently as well. When a customer calls in a service request, the representatives no longer have to get off the phone and search for answers, nor do they have to bounce the customer around. All the information is easily retrievable from the Field Service Management module.

Harler no longer has to search through orders trying to determine which service calls have been completed. She can call up an open service call report that runs in 30 seconds. Harler says, "Field Service Management was a good solution for us."

Harler enjoys the relationship with reselling partner, Focal Solutions. She appreciates the support she receives from them and from the tools such as TechKnowledge that allow her to find answers for herself. Data Processing Air's employees like their Microsoft Great Plains solution. "Our group loves it," Harler says. "We love the improvements that are made in almost every version. I don't have anybody who doesn't like Microsoft Great Plains."


Reduction in Labor Costs

With the implementation of the Field Service Management module, five locations were able to eliminate one employee in their call center, for a savings of approximately $200,000 per year.

Streamlined Scheduling

The ease of scheduling saves time for both the Service Managers and the Field Service Technicians. Accounts with monthly maintenance contracts are entered into the system. When an account is due for maintenance, it appears on a report that is provided to the Field Service Technician, providing all the information the technician needs and allowing the technician more control over weekly scheduling.

Because of increased control over scheduling, technicians can plan their weeks more efficiently and can even plan to end the day near home if needed.

Because the accounts are assigned to a specific technician in a planned manner, the technician is not typically assigned maintenance in areas outside of their geographic area, which saves time and costs of vehicle maintenance and fuel.

Availability of Better Information More Quickly

Both managers and Call Center Representatives have access to more up-to-date and more complete information at their fingertips. Reports provide quick access to information such as the status of open service calls.

Invoicing Quicker and Less Costly

The company has saved 10-15 hours a week in billing time. Now the billing process is simply "point and click."

Reduction in Labor Costs

With the implementation of the Field Service Management module, five locations were able to eliminate one employee in their call centers, for a savings of approximately $200,000 per year.

Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions offer integrated business applications and services that allow small and midsize organizations and divisions of large enterprises to connect employees, customers, and suppliers for improved efficiency. The financial management, customer relationship management, supply chain management, and analytics applications work with other Microsoft software, including the Microsoft Office System and the Windows operating system, to streamline processes across an entire organization. This gives businesses insight to respond rapidly, plan strategically, and execute quickly. Microsoft Business Solutions are delivered through a worldwide network of channel partners that provide specialized services and local support tailored to a company’s needs.

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