"We have to be super-smart how we manage our money" due to FIA-imposed budget restrictions, said Francois Puentes, senior account manager at the Lotus F1 Team, and that calls for partners that can provide technology to help reach that goal.
Following a "comprehensive" search process, Microsoft is providing the team with Dynamics AX ERP, which is being implemented in three phases.
The rollout started with travel and finance activities, which were deployed between August and November 2012.
That will be followed by racing activities and marketing. Puentes said a full AX implementation is expected in time for the 2014 season.
"We're pushy customers... we don't have time to waste," said Puentes. Lotus was the only Formula One team implementing ERP at this level, he claimed.
Christian Pedersen, Microsoft's general manager for Dynamics AX, explained that the amount of data collected from F1 cars and the race environment is now far too large to be digested by a person, and IT is needed to make sense of it.
In-memory business intelligence features in SQL Server (used by Dynamics AX) provides near real-time access to usable information, he said. Previously, each of the technical groups' (engine, chassis, etc) data was kept separately, but now it can all be correlated.
This helps with root cause analysis in situations such as unusually rapid tyre wear, as all of the data can be taken into consideration.
The recent two-year extension of the relationship showed "it's really a solid, long term partnership," Pedersen said.