Comprehensive telecommunication services and their integration in the Czech ERP system.

Casablanca Server Room

How does ABRA Gen help?

  • Complete economic, staff and payroll management, asset management and warehouse management.
  • Covers purchasing, sales logistics and customer relationship management and supports management decisions.
  • The overall solution includes necessary system monitoring, data transmission, energy measurement, etc.
  • Unifies the database, ensures a uniform version of the truth on all outputs, and ensures that data is only acquired once into the system.
  • Customizes automatic billing features to address forward and backward billing, branching, billing when, when not, or disabling billing, automatic bank payment matching, etc.
Logo Casablanca
FIELDServices, Finance, Trade

Casablanca INT has been operating on the telecommunications and IT market for more than 16 years, as a purely Czech company without the participation of foreign capital. In that time, it has become one of the leading telecommunications providers in the Czech Republic. The following case study describes an ERP system selection and implementation project that Casablanca INT used as a backbone software infrastructure to handle day-to-day routines and integrate the specific solutions needed to operate in telecommunications and IT services.

Pavel Hodinka

Project Manager, Casablanca.

“ABRA succeeded in the tender thanks to the possibility of gradually acquiring additional modules. A significant advantage was the complete source code documentation, which ABRA was able to provide.”

How to choose an information system for a telecommunication company

In the first years of its existence, the company solved the needs of automated processing of business agendas through its own development of sub-systems. These included applications for billing, customer registration and workflow management.

However, they lacked a link to accounting and other agendas that require legislative support. The information system conceived in this way ceased to be sufficient over time, and at the end of 2007 it was decided to replace it with a standard ERP solution.

“We expected the new information system to meet three main requirements. We wanted to unify our fragmented database, ensure a uniform version of the truth on all outputs, and prevent multiple acquiring of the same data into the system,” says Pavel Hodinka.

A team of staff who was entrusted with selecting the information system started the entire project with its own market analysis and selection of suitable suppliers. In doing so, they drew on the knowledge of people inside the company and publicly available information, especially from the Internet and professional periodicals. The team divided potential suppliers into two groups. The first was the producers of economic information systems and lower-end ERP solutions such as Cigler Software, Stormware or Altus Software. The latter included those manufacturers that also focus on advanced and robust ERP systems. These include Microsoft, Asseco Solutions and ABRA Software.

From internet provision to cloud services

Casablanca INT started out as a specialist for fixed internet connection. Over time, it has expanded its range of services to its own data center, IP telephony and IP VPN. Instead of the original few servers used by the company at the beginning of its operations, a modern data center with a total area of ​​1,600 m2 is operated. Also, the data connectivity now available has multiplied over the years. From the progressive development of information technology, the project Casablanca INT presented together with Hewlett-Packard, VMware and AMD in 2012. It is a Big Blue One cloud service based on a high level of security provided by the HP TippingPoint solution, a geographically separate data backup, guaranteed cloud availability and unlimited computing power.

“This area is now our main development goal. It should become a key part of our service portfolio and at the same time a key market segment. However, we will still rely on the complexity of the services we provide,” said Pavel Hodinka, project manager of the company, responsible for the implementation and operation of the information system. The company has a turnover of 160 million CZK and employs 80 employees. Its key customers include corporate clients, primarily manufacturing and service companies such as Pražská energetika, Zepter International, Moira, and IC Energo. The company holds the ISO 9001: 2000 certificate.

Why focus on advanced erp products

“The telecom business process lay-out and IT infrastructure assumes acquiring and deploying an ERP system that would create its backbone to connect its own applications to automate specific processes and implement atypical outputs and assemblies. This is especially true of our surveillance and monitoring systems, which would not make sense to re-develop in the ERP system as its modules,” explains Pavel Hodinka.

An integral part of the evaluation criteria was, of course, the cost and time required for the implementation project. That is why the team of responsible employees did not recommend dealing with offers from SAP or Microsoft Dynamics products, which were both very burdensome in both regards. Therefore, the final round of the tender was attended by ABRA Software and Asseco Solutions with their most advanced ERP systems, which are ABRA Gen and Helios Green.

Pavel Hodinka

Project Manager, Casablanca.

“ABRA helps us to improve processes and we can then pay more attention to our customers and improve the services we provide.”

Pre-implementation analysis to the final decision

Casablanca INT finally decided to acquire and deploy the ABRA Gen ERP system. Mr. Hodinka evaluates Geno’s victory as very close and states the following advantages, which ultimately decided in her favor: “At first, both solutions seemed to us to be almost identical. However, ABRA still looked more open and offered better opportunities to gradually acquire additional modules. A significant advantage was the complete source code documentation that ABRA was able to provide us.”

As with many other projects, the “tongue on the scales” is the quality of the consultants, their understanding of the client’s needs and the ability to address all requirements in a timely and proactive manner. Pavel Hodinka states: “During the presentation of ABRA Gen, we greatly appreciated the practical experience of the lead consultant with the system, who showed us not only its features, but also on simple and understandable examples of customization options. It was more important to check and whether we can rely on the quality of its employees,” says Pavel Hodinka.

“I think this procedure is worth considering in every competition. During the pre-implementation analysis, specific processes and procedures are addressed, and it is in this situation that it can be well revealed whether the expected ERP solution and professional consultants will fully meet all requirements. Usually, both critical points of the project and positive aspects are encountered, which confirm to the contracting authority the correctness of its choice. An important factor is also a possible final adjustment of the price, which occurred after the disclosure of some facts in our case. That is why I can only recommend this procedure,” concludes Pavel Hodinka.

Main features and scope of the overall solution

The selection of the supplier and information system was completed in the summer of 2008. The pre-implementation analysis was already completed, followed by the actual implementation of the system, which took a total of four months. ABRA Gen was put into operation on January 1, 2009. It is used by 35 concurrent users, through thick client technology and a three-tier client / server architecture. Thus, the server for the operation of the Oracle database engine, the application server and the terminal server for accesses from the external environment are separated. In particular, there is also a server for web services, which connect to the core of the ERP system internally developed applications.

The company uses ABRA Gen modules to completely ensure economic, personnel and payroll, asset management and warehousing. The system also covers purchasing, sales logistics and customer relationship management. It also includes workflow infrastructure applications and managerial decision support. The overall solution includes the necessary monitoring of systems, measurement of data transfer, energy, etc. Due to the need to process a huge amount of data from these processes, the choice fell on ABRA Gen, which is built on top of the Oracle database engine and is thus able to submit in maximum performance in this area.

Pavel Hodinka

Project Manager, Casablanca.

“The time saved is, for example, that the pairing of orders for banks has been perfectly automated. This activity, which used to last all day for one worker, is now performed by the information system and thus significantly saves human labor.”

Main benefits and development for the future

The benefits from the implementation of the implementation project were reflected in several areas. The first was the fulfillment of three main requirements – unification of the database, ensuring a uniform version of the truth on all outputs and ensuring that data is entered into the system only once.

„Splnění uvedených požadavků se projevilo v urychlení a zkvalitnění práce uživatelů. Rovněž se výrazně snížila chybovost některých operací, k čemuž přispělo nové nastavení procesů. Všichni zaměstnanci napříč firmou dnes dokážou tato fakta potvrdit,“ uvádí Pavel Hodinka.

“Meeting these requirements has resulted in faster and better user experience. The error rate of some operations was also significantly reduced, which was helped by the new process settings. Today, all employees across the company are able to confirm these facts,” says Pavel Hodinka.

“Similarly, other processes, such as the management of reminders and their distribution, have accelerated and improved. Therefore, we continue to focus on the widest possible automation of all processes for which it is possible. For example, in the case of a cloud service, we are working on the introduction of a credit system enabling payment automation. This approach will not only streamline our processes, but will also be reflected in the price of customer service and thus help maintain the company’s competitiveness,” adds Pavel Hodinka.

“Another significant benefit I have already mentioned is the openness of the system and the flexibility to adapt it. The rapid implementation of change by our own people again helps not only to improve processes, but above all to support our own business. We can then pay more attention to customers and improve the services provided, which is directly reflected in the company’s financial results,” concludes the list of benefits Pavel Hodinka.

Custom adjustments and specific solutions

Important custom adjustments included the development of automatic invoicing features. The issue of forward and reverse invoicing, sorting at branches, situations where invoicing services are, if not, or excluding them from invoicing, etc. were addressed. The key was to set the invoicing rules correctly and fine-tune the whole process, down to the details of automatic payment matching. from bank.

Another process for which functions had to be programmed into the system according to the company’s requirements concerned the establishment of services. For this purpose, a standard CRM and activity module was used, which was modified to be able to automatically generate services for merchant offers. Simultaneously with the implementation of the ABRA Gen kernel, it was necessary to adapt the interface for connecting external agendas so that the logic of the entire system was maintained.

It was primarily a portal for merchants, which was originally created by the company’s technicians and which provides an overview of customers and the services they receive. This portal draws master data from ABRA Gen and some other internal subsystems in order to ultimately provide continuous overviews to its users, in which nothing important must be missing. The operation of the customer portal is related to the provision of a new cloud service. Through it, clients can register and create a virtual server, configure it and pay for ordered services. This internally developed functionality is again connected to ABRA Gen so that all master data can be retrieved and saved back for the implementation of the necessary agendas in the field of accounting, invoicing, etc.

All these adjustments were managed by the company’s employees. And it was during custom modifications and connections of internal subsystems that the much-anticipated feature of the new solution became apparent – openness and simplicity for adaptation to user requirements, which can be implemented by trained employees of the user company.

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