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Anglia Telecom Ltd

 
Industry : Telecommunications
Scenarios : On-Line Business Operations

Channel Network Awards 2003 winners logo

 

UK Award winning Microsoft Navision e-commerce solution provides Anglia Telecom with a significant competitive advantage.


Introduction

Founded in 1984, Anglia Telecom has over 19 years experience as a successful telecommunications organisation. The company, part of AIM listed The Telecommunications Group plc, established its reputation by using its expertise in helping hundreds of UK dealers succeed in the highly competitive telecommunications sector. The company deals with all four major networks – Vodafone, 02, T-Mobile and Orange and its objective is to become the countries leading distributor in cellular distribution.  


Anglia Telecom realised that targeted technology was the key to managing successful growth. The requirement was a solution that provided a flow of information across the company about what was really happening to their customers and products. The key was to ensure that the selected system supported all operations in ensuring timely deliveries of quality products.  


A totally integrated Microsoft Navision solution provided the base for an e-commerce system that provided their dealers with improved access to information. Working with Cambridge based Anglia Business Solutions the company deployed a state of the art e-commerce system tailored specifically to meet the needs of the business. The system has helped to improve the company’s efficiency in servicing its dealer base leading to a significant increase in customer satisfaction.


Company background
Anglia Telecom was established in 1984 and is one of the UK’s leading privately owned telecommunications distribution organisations. The company has a full ISO 9002 accreditation. The main activities of the company include the distribution of mobile phones as well as the provision of fixed line telephone network services.  


The key to its success is the partnering approach with dealers designed to assist them to succeed in the highly competitive telecommunications market place. This frequently involved providing exceptional administrative support services designed to reduce the dealers’ paperwork while providing them with timely and accurate information.  


The Business Need

The company needed a flexible, powerful, modern company wide business management system capable of meeting its very specific requirements. Apart from the normal financial reporting requirements, the system also had to cater for a number of discrete applications specific to the telecoms industry. 
 

Anglia Telecom selected the Navision ERP system as the platform of choice based on its combination of powerful functionality and integrated development facilities. As Managing Director Aidan Coughlan explained “We were very impressed with the functionality of the Microsoft Navision product. As a high tech company we understood the design concepts of the system. However, it was the integrated development environment that really appealed. We needed a billing system that precisely matched our way of working. The development facilities were vital in tailoring the solution to meet our very specific needs. Once this was delivered, we could focus on reducing our internal administration costs while providing the dealers with unparalleled access to relevant information”. 
 

A further critical requirement for the new system was the ability to keep track of all activations of mobile phones sold through Anglia Telecom and to store this data indefinitely. Equally important was a need in detailed analysis of activation data as the company has to be competitive often operating on narrow commission margins. Therefore sophisticated activation features were developed within Navision that allows users to record all relevant information on Activation Cards.
The flexible and easy-to-use Navision integrated development environment made it possible to provide a seamless link between bespoke Activation part of the system and standard Navision Sales and General Ledger functionality. That gave management a great opportunity to collate tens of thousands of transactions into a wider analytic picture that can be viewed from different perspectives thanks to powerful Navision Report Designer capabilities.
 

The system automatically calculates how much commission the dealers are entitled to within a given period. Account managers can then preview and issue “self-billed” sales invoices. This, on one hand, allows them to be fully in control of the sales process. On the other hand, it makes Anglia Telecom more attractive as a vendor for the dealers as it significantly reduces their administrative costs. The Activation system also calculates how much commission the company can expect from service providers and how much has been received. Again, detailed reports have been built helping managers to see a full profitability picture. 
 

Once the complete billing and activation system was deployed and refined, the benefits became obvious. Operating from one central system as opposed to a variety of database meant that data duplication was greatly reduced. It also meant that management had immediate access to vital business trends and were able to react to what was going on in a fast moving environment.  
 

However, now that the company had a sophisticated integrated back office system, it was keen to embrace the on-line opportunities provided by the Internet.  
 

“We recognised that we would have to adopt an e-business operating model if we were to fully realise our market leading potential” said Aidan Coughlan “The integrated e-commerce facilities were key factors in our initial decision to adopt Navision. We were conscious that these would provide us with further significant efficiency improvements as operating on-line became a more accepted business practice”
 

The e-Business Solution

The e-business solution had to cater for access to ordering and financial information from the dealer community sales channels. The solution was built using Microsoft .NET components using a Joint Rapid Application development (JRAD) methodology. This enabled the dealer connection web-site to be quickly established.  


At the same time, seamless links were established with the Microsoft Navision business management system. This provided dealers with on-line access to the key information that helped them to manage their businesses. Once logged into the system, dealers could check on stock availability, place orders, interrogate the activations system and view their commission payments.      


The Approach

The process of transferring part of the business to an on-line operating mode required careful planning as Anglia Business Solutions Development Manager Richard Jones explains: “During the 10 day implementation period for this project, it was important that the customer was fully involved in the process at all stages. The Anglia .NET technology toolbox of components allowed us to very rapidly create working prototypes of the Anglia Telecom solution. 


As the functionality was created, Anglia Telecom personnel were able to log into the new site. They could then simulate how the system would work using actual data. This provided us with immediate feedback on how the system could best meet their very specific needs. This meant that when deployed, the system worked in a way that precisely met the needs of the business. It was an excellent example of a partnership in action”.


Business Benefits
The new management reporting system has already provided Anglia Telecom with significant advantages over the previous method of operation. It greatly reduced the data duplication activities throughout the organisation and improved the accuracy of information. This has helped to reduce overall administration costs while providing instant access to vital management information on the growing volume of business now being handled by the company. 


As Aidan Coughlan explains “Our partnership approach with our dealers means that it is vital to keep them informed of changes to either the costs or delivery timing of orders undertaken on their behalf. This was extremely difficult and time consuming under the old way of working. The Microsoft Navision suite and tailored billing solution handled this superbly. However, we saw the e-commerce initiative as a vital aid in improving our dealer service. 


We were delighted at how quickly and efficiently Anglia Business Solutions designed and deployed the on line solution. We had heard of the .NET concepts but didn’t realise how powerful they were until this system was implemented.  


The system was deployed to reflect exactly how we wished to work. The project was completed to very tight timescales and within budget. We can now offer our dealers an unparalleled information service that will enable them to grow their businesses. In return, retention of their loyalty will help us to realise our future ambitious growth plans.”


Products
Windows 2000
MS SQL Server 2000
MS Office
Microsoft Navision 3.60
Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1
Anglia’s Toolbox of .NET Components

Services Required
Business Consultancy
Project Management
Windows 2000 Server Set-Up & Optimisation
Exchange integration
SQL 2000 Set-up & Integration
Workstation installation & Optimisation
Firewall Technology Deployment
Microsoft Navision Bespoke Design
Microsoft Navision Programming & Testing
Microsoft Navision Financials Integration & Testing
ASP.NET Development

 



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