HSO Helps Redcentric Improve Operational Efficiencies

Switching to Microsoft Dynamics 365 will remove inhibitors to business growth

Redcentric is a leading UK, network-based managed services provider (MSP), with 30 years’ experience in delivering innovative technology to improve business productivity, operations and efficiency.

Redcentric’s key business goals are to attract new customers by delivering high-quality service and, thereafter, retaining business and selling additional services, with the aim of being the managed solutions partner of choice for the UK midmarket. Redcentric provides a range of network, on-premise, managed and Cloud services that help businesses perform better. Redcentric helps customers in the management and support of their on-premise IT solutions and the transition to Cloud-based managed services at a time, pace and budget that works for them. Redcentric’s hosted services are based on their own infrastructure, designed and built by their engineers.

Redcentric has seen rapid business growth over recent years, achieved via organic growth and strategic acquisitions. A consequence of Redcentric’s fast growth was the collection of core IT systems, that underpins all business processes from sales through to finance, were unable to keep pace.

“As all the systems we relied on were fully bespoke to meet our specific demands, it meant that ongoing support was difficult and upgrading the systems and applications was challenging. With multiple systems, we relied upon custom-built interfaces to share data, but these were developed many years ago and were unreliable, resulting in data quality issues and discrepancies between the various systems. These were real inhibitors to a fast-growing business like Redcentric – we wanted to continue to grow and be able to acquire new businesses should the right opportunity arise, but we had reached a tipping point with these systems and couldn’t grow anymore,” explains Richard Redman, Programme Manager – Redcentric.

In mid-2016 a critical point was reached; on a daily basis, these systems were negatively impacting business operational efficiency, such as internal systems no longer communicating with each other and systems running so slowly that employees began going into the office at weekends when they would be the only one on the system to complete tasks.

In short, legacy systems had begun to inhibit the business and a solution was needed to integrate them all into one system and enable the business to continue growing.

Moving to an ERP solution

Faced with these challenges, Redcentric made the decision to replace eight existing systems with a full ERP solution to meet their business requirements.

“We are a Microsoft house, we have experience and skills using its products and strong partner relationships, so when it came to picking an ERP solution Microsoft was the front-runner,” says Redman. “We offer our customers our own cloud services, along with public cloud services from Microsoft and Amazon, therefore we knew the huge benefits of transitioning from on-premise systems to hosted, plus we were really excited by the Dynamics 365 proposition; it showed there was a real vision for the future of the product and this combined with competitive pricing led us to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 as our ERP solution.”

To find the right partner to implement the solution, the company submitted RFPs with three Microsoft partners. For Redcentric, HSO’s pedigree and comprehensive knowledge of Dynamics 365 set it apart from competitors and the decision was made to make HSO its preferred supplier.

The initial stages of this relationship saw HSO work with the business on a diagnostic phase in which they pulled together the high-level scope of the project which detailed budgets and timeframes.

“We were impressed with HSO throughout the diagnostic phase and it looked like the move to an ERP system was a viable project for us,” comments Redman. “We could visualise the early benefits that we would be able to see within the first twelve months, but we also realised this would be the foundation for future business process efficiencies in support of our growing business. The long-term benefits of Dynamics 365 felt really tangible.”

Although not obliged to continue the relationship past this point, Redcentric moved forward with HSO as its preferred supplier citing the methodology, approach and proven results outlined in the RFP as the driving force for this decision.

With the processes involved with switching to the ERP broken down, HSO was able to take the reins of the project and move it through multiple stages, including design and development.

Redman adds, “HSO was thorough in understanding our requirements before relaying them to their developers. Initially, I thought it was quite a slow process, but it was invaluable. By spending time upfront to fully document the requirements and the solution, the handover to the developers was able to run smoothly. Development loops were avoided as the handover to us was right, first time, thus reducing the overall time spent on the development.”

A fast and responsive solution

Currently, Redcentric has deployed Dynamics 365 for its sales and marketing systems with the benefits of doing so visible already. “It has given us greater visibility and control around our sales cycle and how we manage opportunities. The legacy systems we were using were so slow and frustrating, whereas the new system is fast and responsive and can be accessed from an app which is great for our salespeople who are out on the road,” says Redman.

The remaining elements of the ERP solution are currently entering the testing phase and Redcentric anticipates a full switchover in early December.

Taking on a CRM solution

In addition to the ERP solution, Redcentric also looked to HSO for a new CRM solution as the previous system had become outdated. After looking into the system and Redcentric’s requirements for their sales management and marketing processes, HSO decided that rather than performing an upgrade of the system, it would build a completely new system owing to changes to a number of the business’ processes and the change management process Redcentric was undergoing.

“By aligning our workshops for the solution with the Redcentric’s change management process, we were able to ensure the solution was designed to work for Redcentric’s current and future business needs,” commented Ruth Davidson, Senior CRM Consultant, HSO. “It was a fun process for us as it allowed us to carve out an entirely new system to cover all of Redcentric’s new requirements. We were able to show them how much the CRM system had moved on from their existing, outdated version and how much could be achieved with it.”

From Redcentric’s complex sales management requirements it became clear that it would be vital to design different business process flows to enable users to pick the best way to deal with a client, based on the different Opportunity types. These will guide the user through the various phases and steps they need to complete before they can move a prospect onto the next phase.

With different departments within Redcentric needing to look at the same record and work alongside each other, aligning the processes and ensuring everyone completes the right steps at the right time, with the right approval, was a vital requirement of the CRM system.

The CRM system went live in April and will be integrated, using Microsoft’s Common Data Service, with the ERP system once it has gone live across the business in the coming months. The Common Data Service (CDS) is a tool provided by Microsoft which enables organisations to integrate directly with other Applications and data sources.

Since April, HSO has been managing change requests as users begin to realise the potential of the system and ask for additional logic to be added to different areas of the system to calculate monthly and yearly returns on opportunities, for example.

Redcentric has also deployed ClickDimensions, a Microsoft solution for campaign and e-marketing automation, under HSO’s guidance. The previous solution had become outdated, there were concerns about data quality and it prevented the extraction of accurate Management Information, causing many Redcentric employees to stop using the system.

However, the ClickDimensions solution boasts a number of benefits, including the ability to integrate directly with the CRM system, to give Redcentric a holistic view of all the contact they have made with clients.

Additionally, with the integration of the CRM tool into the finance and operation tools, there will be less double keying, saving both time and resource.