Managed services provider Redcentric is looking forward to operational efficiencies and continued growth after replacing multiple bespoke IT systems with Microsoft Dynamics 365
UK Managed services provider Redcentric has 30 years’ experience in delivering technology to the UK mid-market. With a range of network, on-premise, managed and Cloud services, it can support customers’ on-premise IT solutions and help them make the transition to Cloud-based services at a time and pace that suits them.
In recent years, Redcentric has grown rapidly through organic growth and strategic acquisitions, so much so that two years ago the core IT systems that underpin all its business processes, from sales through to finance, struggled to keep pace.
The risk, as Redcentric Programme Manager Richard Redman explains, was that this would start to restrict the company’s ability to grow.
“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 to 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,” he said.
In the middle of 2016, things had deteriorated to the extent that internal systems could no longer communicate with each other and were running so slowly that employees started to go into the office at weekends so they would have the systems to themselves.
Transitioning to ERP
Faced with these challenges, Redcentric made the decision to replace eight existing systems with a full ERP solution.
“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,” explained Redman.
“We offer our customers our own cloud services, along with public cloud services from Microsoft and Amazon, so 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.”
Redcentric submitted RFPs to three Microsoft partners, before choosing HSO as its preferred supplier on the strength of its pedigree and comprehensive knowledge of Dynamics 365.
The initial diagnostic stage, in which HSO and Redcentric scoped the project and produced detailed budgets and timeframes, convinced Redman they had made the right choice of technology and partner.
“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,” he said. “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 basis for its decision.
HSO took the reins of the project and, with the processes involved in switching to the ERP already mapped out, moved through multiple stages, including design and development.
For Redman, HSO’s attention to detail ensured that everything went according to plan, ultimately saving time.
“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,” he said.
Fast and responsive
So far, Redcentric has deployed Dynamics 365 for its sales and marketing systems and, according to Redman, is already seeing the results of its investment.
“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 out on the road,” he said.
The remaining elements of the ERP solution are currently entering the testing phase, with Redcentric anticipating a full switchover in early December.