Computeach

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Computeach

Computeach is one of the UK’s leading providers of IT skills training services.

With more than 40 years’ experience in serving this important market sector, the company has many significant accreditations to its name: it is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner; a Gold accredited Training Provider of the Institute of IT Training. It was the first company of its kind to achieve the International Quality Standard ISO 9001 and recently achieved the new ISO 9001:2000 standard through a single audit. It is also a preferred supplier of the National Computing Centre for distance learning IT training to its members.

Computeach provides a full range of training courses to students with varied abilities and experience, from those starting out on a career in IT, to those honing their many years’ experience with the addition of new skills. The company operations are based in the West Midlands and use a blended approach to deliver training via distance learning and classroom-based courses.

With this rich variety of courses aimed at such a wide customer base, a well-managed operation with fast, effi cient turnaround of key activities is vital to the continuing success of Computeach. To that end, the company had been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM version 1.2 to manage its business critical processes. However, this early version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM lacked some of the functionality Computeach required and a number of third-party bespoke applications were bolted-on to the system. While initially offering greater functionality, these bespoke items had started to outlive their usefulness and were hindering progress.

Computeach called upon eBECS to manage an upgrade to MS Dynamics CRM 3.0 that would overcome these issues, enhance flexibility and hand control back to the Computeach Group IT department.

The eBECS Solution

Computeach had four main objectives from the upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0:

> Strip out the old system 

> Build a new flexible system

> Bring support back in-house 

> Use eBECS more strategically going forward 

Computeach had been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM for a number of years to manage all leads and indeed the entire Computeach enquiry and fulfilment process; it had become heavily relied upon over time. It was absolutely crucial to Computeach that there would be no disruption to the critical business application – resilience and reliability were paramount. This meant that there could be no disruption to normal business operations as a consequence of the upgrade project.

Mick George, Computeach head of IT, explains: “It was obvious we needed to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft CRM and we called eBECS in to manage the upgrade. We could see there were many potential benefits to be had but there could be no disruption during the project or immediately after it went live. There had to be lots of planning and preparation– but careful planning should be the way you approach any major IT project.”

Many of the existing Computeach processes were in need of a thorough overhaul; they hadn’t kept up with the pace of change within the organisation and were very complex. This was due in part to the amount of bespoke software in use to run particular routines. The result of this was the system itself had become very inflexible and supporting users was unnecessarily difficult.

In addition to addressing the existing problems caused by a lack of flexibility, the project also sought to put in place a solid foundation for future growth and development as an over-dependence on bespoke software can cause difficulties for organisations when it comes to planning future upgrades. There can be a lack of proper documentation and replicating the functionality can be a guessing game of trial and error.applications. This would enable eBECS to deliver a standard Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment, which would be easy to work with for users, but which fully met the business’s needs at the same time.

Sticking to a standard Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment, without bespoke add-ons, has other advantages too, Mick George points out: “Having a standard implementation means that users can be trained to get the maximum out of the system. It also means we aren’t calling upon eBECS for day to day help and support; instead we are able to use them much more strategically – which is better for everyone. Plus, it gives us a platform to build on and means we have the option to carry out any further development work in-house.

“eBECS worked extremely hard to deliver the system we needed – and they succeeded in doing so.”

The implementation has been very successful from the users’ point of view, which was due in no small part to the considerable amount of planning and preparation that took place in the early stages of the project. The net result of this was to ensure eEECS was able to deliver something the users could really work with.Similarly, the reaction of the Computeach management has been extremely positive throughout.

The system is centralised in Dudley, West Midlands, and in addition to the users based out of the Head Office location, there is a team of 70 field based Selection Executives. For them, being able to access the system remotely will be a real change in the way they work, no longer being reliant on other people to provide them with critical information, or to process work for them, creates huge time and efficiency improvements.

Mick George, Computeach head of IT, explains: “It was obvious we needed to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft CRM and we called eBECS in to manage the upgrade. We could see there were many potential benefits to be had but there could be no disruption during the project or immediately after it went live. There had to be lots of planning and preparation– but careful planning should be the way you approach any major IT project.”

Working with Computeach, eBECS built a test environment and conducted extensive end-user testing. The actual upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 took place over a weekend. “There were no hold ups,” says Mick George.

 “We wanted to move away from a situation where we were reliant upon third-party bespoke applications which were insufficiently documented and costly to support,” Mick George explains.

eBECS was commissioned to customise Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Computeach, taking full advantage of the application’s capabilities – delivering powerful functionality without the need to buy-in any bespoke

Benefits

Processes at Computeach now run more efficiently and are more effective, thanks to the work undertaken by eBECS. There have been some tangible savings, as licenses for the third-party add-on applications are no longer required. There has also been a transfer of skills from eBECS to Computeach, with day-to-day support taken back in-house, along with the ability to implement routine changes to the system when required.

Summary of benefits

> No unplanned downtime in the five months since going live 

> 99.999%+ resilience 

> Standard Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment dispenses with need for third-party software 

> Remote access capabilities delivers genuine value to the field operations team 

> Cost savings and time efficiencies 

> Strategic partnership relationship between Computeach and eBECS 

Conclusion

Everything has run smoothly since the upgraded system went live and its resilience has been excellent – in five months since going live, Computeach hasn’t suffered a single failure.

This is vitally important – Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a cornerstone of Computeach’s operations, the business needs to be able to rely on it constantly.

Sam Dharmasiri, Sales Director of eBECS, believes the Computeach project demonstrates the true value of partnership. “To deliver a system that exceeds a customer’s expectations, you first have to truly understand how that customer’s business operates. By working closely with Computeach in the initial planning phases of this project we were able to fully appreciate the pressures they are under and avoid any disruption to operations. That lack of disruption has continued since implementation. As one of the world’s largest and most experienced Microsoft Dynamics partners, eBECS has the expertise to provide innovative solutions, exceed our clients’ expectations and help them achieve their full potential.”

Mick George concludes: “Not only have we put in place a system that enables our business processes to run more efficiently, we have created a scalable platform for implementing new processes across the whole organisation.”

Please contact eBECS if you would like to know more.

Solution overview

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Computeach is the most experienced IT training organisation in the UK and was first established in 1964. We are proud to have helped thousands of people learn new IT skills and gain rewarding new careers.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Adult Education
UK

Testimonial

"No problems at all – it ran smoothly from day one and has stayed that way. This was the smoothest IT project I’ve ever been involved in."
Mick George
Head Of IT