Written by: Mikko Hytonen
Let’s think about what happens when you buy a new phone plan. What we do at Comptel is provide the software that translates something like a platinum voice package into the technical language needed so that that subscription can become operational in the telco provider’s network. In other words, we provide the mediation software between the telco network and the CRM and billing systems of our customers so they can then bill their customers.
Most recently, we have acquired an analytics company. And what that means is that we can now provide real-time analytics as a part of our solutions. Imagine, for instance, that you are sitting at the airport and trying to download a movie before your flight arrives, but you are having connection issues. Through our real-time analytics, we would be able to see that issue and then provide you with an alert, offering to increase your bandwidth for a certain cost, let’s say two megabits in two minutes—all for five dollars.
And in this space of providing mediation software for telcos, performance is everything. Some of our customers have 300 million subscribers. They must be able to perform a huge volume of transactions; and if they can’t, that can have a big impact on revenue. They won’t be able to bill.
That being said, when I joined the company in 2009, I found that we had a different kind of software challenge—and it had nothing to do with performance. Our challenge was that we relied on an ERP system that dated back to 2003 and was almost out of support. That solution, which was SAP R3, was also only being used in only 3 of our 19 offices. Our other offices all used home-grown systems; and as a company that had really grown into a global player, we simply needed a global view into the numbers. So it was here that we began our search for a new system.
In the end we narrowed our choices down to either SAP ECC or Microsoft Dynamics AX. In addition to its ease of customization, we ultimately chose Microsoft Dynamics AX, over SAP ECC, based on the following criteria:
- Total cost of ownership. For the same cost as our yearly support contract for SAP across three offices, we were able to make Microsoft Dynamics AX available as a service for our 19 offices worldwide.
- User experience. Microsoft Dynamics AX offered a user experience similar to other Microsoft applications, leading to higher adoption rates and improving productivity.
- Time to value. By turning to a partner-hosted model, we knew we could get running on the solution fairly quickly. In fact, we were able to get all 19 of our offices on the solution in 10 months, versus a projected 13 to 16 months for SAP ECC, which would have also required us to purchase and deploy new hardware.
And now, I can say that we have certainly met our primary objective. We have achieved the holistic view of operations we needed to support us as we grow into a global brand. And we were able to do it without incurring the costs of an ERP system like SAP ECC, which, in the end, was simply too big for a company of our size. It offered more capabilities and came at a price point that we didn’t want to pay. Microsoft Dynamics AX, on the other hand, was the right fit.
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2013/04/02/developer-of-high-performance-telco-software-powers-global-operations-with-microsoft-dynamics/