Ring, a subsidiary of Egyptian corporation Orascom Telecom, sells and provides services for mobile phones. In 2008, the enterprise began to upgrade its IT infrastructure with Microsoft Dynamics® business management solutions. Since deployment, Ring has experienced a range of benefits, including an increase of its customer base by 40 per cent and a saving of more than EGP300,000 (U.S.$55,000) in development costs.
Ring focuses on mobile phone distribution and related services across Egypt. It also covers other North African and Middle Eastern markets through subsidiaries in Algeria, Tunisia, and Dubai. Based in Cairo, it sells its products in 30 stores throughout Egypt with one call centre providing customer support. Ring is a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom, which is a leading international telecommunications company operating in six high-growth markets in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.
When Ring was established in 2002, it deployed a custom-built IT package that was designed to help manage the organisation. It functioned as a complete business management solution and included features such as rudimentary workflows and budgeting tools. But, as the company expanded, its customised IT infrastructure could not support its ongoing requirements.
The existing system couldn’t scale efficiently, and the provider of the product did not have the funds to support the growing needs of the organisation. Tamer Fawzy, IT Director at Ring, says: “We couldn’t improve our business in line with IT advancements. For example, our call centre employees couldn’t build a comprehensive profile of customers, which meant it took longer to identify and satisfy their individual needs.”
The executives at Ring wanted an affordable and robust business management infrastructure that was scalable and could be delivered as quickly as possible.
In January 2008, Fawzy and his IT team conducted extensive market research. After first considering an Oracle solution, they decided to implement a Microsoft Dynamics service oriented architecture (SOA) based on its affordability, speed of deployment, and ease of use.
Fawzy selected Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner LINK Development—a highly regarded software development company in Egypt—to implement the solution and provide the support the IT team required.
Together, they began a phased rollout of different but interoperable Microsoft technologies. These were:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM—deployed in the call centre, it can build a complete profile of each customer. Operators can instantly view client histories and details during a call.
- Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS)—integrated with the company’s retail outlets to manage point-of-sale transactions and processes.
- Microsoft Dynamics GP—used by back-office management to control accounting and the supply chain cycle, such as purchase order processing, inventory control, and sales order processing.
- Microsoft Forecaster—a tool that quickly collates sales information so that the budgeting department can create accurate financial reports.
With the integration of these technologies, Ring employees can create a unique ID for customers and view their complete profile. Call centre agents can also check the availability and price of a certain model within a store, and reserve it for a client.
In addition, LINK Development was able to integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the existing Cisco telephony system at Ring, which reduced overheads. Also, the company integrated a custom-made mobile phone maintenance application created by Ring. Built using Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 data management software and the Microsoft .NET Framework development system, the application tracks which mobile phones are in service and the customers to which they belong.
Fawzy says: “Now that our custom application is integrated with the Microsoft Dynamics solution, call centre agents can locate individual phones being serviced and notify the owner when their mobile phone is ready for collection and how much the maintenance cost.”
||Microsoft Dynamics gives us a comprehensive IT architecture that meets all our needs. With it, we’ve improved both customer and employee satisfaction, and made great financial savings of U.S.$55,000.
Since deployment of Microsoft Dynamics, Ring has greatly improved the agility of its business and saved costs. The easy-to-use solution aligns with the company’s vision for a standardised IT environment. It has been so successful that other Ring Group subsidiaries plan to deploy the same business management tools. Fawzy says: “Microsoft Dynamics gives us a comprehensive IT architecture that meets all our needs. With it, we’ve improved both customer and employee satisfaction, and made great financial savings of U.S.$55,000.”
- Cost-effective. Ring estimates that it saved more than U.S.$55,000 by implementing the solution because it has a lower total cost of ownership than competing technologies.
- Scalable. The company can extend the scope of the solution as its customer base expands. Since delivery, its customer base has increased by 40 per cent.
- Quick to deploy. The IT team could implement the SOA at least four months faster than competing products.
- Increased customer satisfaction and retention. Call centre agents can create and use comprehensive customer profiles to identify and resolve all queries quickly.
- Reduced routine administrative tasks. Back-office management can use automated processes to reduce administrative tasks by 20 per cent.
- Better financial reporting. Using Microsoft Forecaster, the financial department can prepare budgets 40 per cent faster than previously.
- Greater support. Both LINK Development and Microsoft provided valuable consultancy and technical support throughout the project. For example, Fawzy made extensive use of remote technical support from Microsoft.
- Environmentally friendly. More efficient ordering and stock taking has cut transportation costs by 17 per cent, reducing the company’s carbon emissions.
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