Freedom Commits £250,000 to 3-year IT Infrastructure Transformation Project

Watford based Freedom Communications has committed £250,000 over the next three years to streamline and transform its core IT infrastructure as it makes moves to improve customer service and efficiencies in the business as it grows.

Included within the transformation project will be investment in Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) suite and a server virtualisation and Network Attached Storage (NAS) infrastructure from VMWare. The entire project should be completed by the end of 2008.

Freedom is replacing five independent platforms: Goldmine (for CRM); Pegasus Opera (for financials, distribution and payroll); Computers for People’s Compel (HR package); Filemaker’s service management system (for scheduling, job costing, order processing); and Oak Telecom’s ABillity billing system supporting Freedom’s Connect business.

Freedom was experiencing significant efficiency issues as different departments were not able to share information between core systems in a timely and efficient way.

Matt Skelton, head of finance and this project’s leader at Freedom, explained:
“We could see lots of examples of double entries having to be made in different systems that were not talking to each other and realised that as the business grew this was creating greater wastage of resource and danger of manual error. We wanted to get software to do more of the work so naturally we were looking for an end-to-end ERP system.”

Freedom looked at a range of ERP platforms including SAP, NetSuite, Oracle and Epicor, before selecting Microsoft’s Dynamics NAV suite after coming into contact with leading Microsoft Dynamics NAV integrator AVC Business Solutions.

Skelton said:
“Microsoft Dynamic NAV was the only ERP platform that had strong suites in all the key areas that we needed to cover including outbound marketing campaign management, pipeline generation and management (CRM), inventory management, order processing and billing (accounting and finance) and job scheduling (HR).

“AVC Business Solutions was well placed to deliver the solution for us because of their strong pedigree in Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementations over several years and a clear understanding of our business requirement to generate efficiencies by enabling smooth handovers between core processes to create a hassle-free and seamless experience for the customer.”

AVC Business Solutions has already completed the integration of the HR suite of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and is currently working on both the CRM and financials package implementations.

Freedom is simultaneously working with its core managed service provider partner Silverbug on implementation of a £35,000 VMWare virtualisation solution involving two server sets and a NAS solution after testing and monitoring a pilot system to ensure it meets Freedom’s business continuity and disaster recovery requirements.

Freedom is simultaneously planning investment in a Microsoft SharePoint solution to support the provision of better business intelligence and management information to the leaders of the business.

Tom Perry, head of marketing, Freedom, adds: “Investment in Microsoft platforms in this IT transformation project has also served to increase our own knowledge and technical abilities with its products which will undoubtedly serve us well as we extend our reach in the voice-data convergence market.”

Tim Sayany, managing director, AVC Business Solutions: “I am delighted that AVC Business Solutions successfully presented to Freedom a solution specifically designed for systems organisation specialising in managed rollouts and aftercare services. We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with Freedom.”