UK renter Hewden has signed a "multi-million pound" contract with IT supplier Maxima for a Microsoft business management and CRM (customer relationship management) system.

The system will be based on Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 software, as well as rental-specific applications from Maxima's Microsoft-based construction software, including equipment rental and re-rental capabilities and human resources.

Maxima will initially deploy the software at Hewden's locations, but will provide the option of moving to a hosted, "cloud-enabled" system in the future.

Hewden's head of IT, Andrew Griffin, said the investment was necessary following the company's sale last year by Finning to Sun European Partners; "A growing requirement for greater flexibility, scalability and increased agility across our core business management and CRM activities was identified as key in enabling Hewden to deliver improved and more efficient services to its customers".

He said Maxima was a leading Microsoft Gold partner that could offer Hewden the support it needed to deploy the system; "However, we were also particularly impressed by the company's detailed construction sector expertise and its ability to implement the more focused equipment rental and cross-hire capabilities that could directly support our business."

He said Maxima's CRM capabilities, and its ability to customise Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to Hewden's needs, were "key factors in our decision to go with the company."

Charles Harrigan, managing director of Maxima Scotland and the leader of the team working on the Hewden project, said Hewden and Maxima were a particularly good fit; "we're both organisations with strong Scottish roots that have expanded nationally, and we both understand how the effective deployment of advanced technologies such as Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 can play a key role in enabling effective account and contract management - not only driving cost savings into the business, but also delivering added value services to clients."

Maxima, headquartered in Cheltenham, UK, has more than 1400 customers in the UK, Ireland and the USA. Founded over 25 years ago, it has been listed on the AIM stock exchange since November 2004, employs around 375 staff and has annual revenues of £50 million.

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