Joined Up Services

Surrey based reseller Opus has joined up their billing and ticketing systems across three business to offer customers simpler access to services. The next step is to integrate business accounting.

Established in 2000 as Opus Telecom, the company quickly achieved success by supplying telecoms services and hardware to businesses across London and the southeast.

Recognising the increasing demand for joined-up IT and Telecoms solutions, in 2011 Managing Director, Mark Castle, masterminded the acquisitions of a mobile company and an IT business. The two were subsequently rebranded as Opus Mobile and Opus IT respectively, and now operate alongside Opus Telecom as three distinct divisions under the Opus Team brand.

Castle believes these strategic acquisitions have enabled Opus Team to offer a unique proposition to the market. “There are only a handful of mid-size companies like Opus Team that genuinely service all three industries properly”, explains Castle. “By acquiring two specialist companies we were able to offer a single point of contact for all IT and communications, saving time, reducing costs and ensuring our clients receive a significantly better level of customer care.”

This strategy has clearly paid off, and since 2011 the company has moved from strength to strength. However, as the company grew, it became increasingly apparent that dislocation of back office systems, particularly its customer relationship management (CRM) software, was limiting the company’s ambitions.

Castle continues, “Due to past acquisitions we were using multiple different IT systems. For example, Opus Telecom had an all-in-one billing and CRM system to manage tickets, whilst Opus IT used a separate ticketing system. Naturally customers using multiple services want access to all their tickets on one system. There were other situations where we were using multiple IT solutions and this was affecting the scalability of the business.”

Opus decided to conduct a review of its back office systems, including its telecoms billing platform, to see how it could be rationalised. “We were keen to find a billing platform for the telecoms branch of the company that could streamline processes with a more advanced CRM.

“Traditionally Telecoms companies have been forced to decide whether to have separate CRM and billing solutions or whether to have a substandard CRM wrapped around a billing system. What we liked about aBILLity was that it was a fantastic billing system that integrated with Microsoft Dynamics, a market leading CRM.

“Dynamics is a CRM system that we planned to use throughout the business and aBILLity’s integration with Dynamics offered some really useful customisations specifically designed for use in the communications sector.”

aBILLity’s integration with Microsoft Dynamics allows users to view important billing data and tariff information within the CRM application, making it ideal for departments such as Sales that should not necessarily have full access to the billing platform. The integration provides numerous additional benefits including a single point for data entry, reduced errors and up to date and synchronised data across all applications, creating a reduced workload for administrative staff.

Following demonstrations, Opus decided to switch to aBILLity and also to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM across all areas of the business. Speaking about Union Street’s implementation of aBILLity Castle continues, “Union Street looked after us well and provided lots of support throughout their on-boarding process. Their team were level headed, knowledgeable, responsive, and worked very efficiently to get the job done. They provided training to our team and one of their consultants visited our site to assist on our first bill run using aBILLity, helping to build our team’s confidence, and to ensure the bills went out smoothly.”

By implementing aBILLity and Dynamics CRM, Opus plans to unlock further efficiency benefits. Castle explains, “We’re planning to go one stage further and implement Evision, an accounting software solution, across the business. Union Street has recommended a systems integrator that can interface Evision with Microsoft Dynamics and aBILLity to create a joined-up back office solution. This will be totally scalable and far easier to manage.”

Castle confirms, “We plan to double our revenues over the next two years through the acquisition of companies which provide similar products and services, but are at a size whereby the owners’ responsibilities become too great to manage, or have been affected by competitive pressures. We have a flexible approach to acquisitions which means vendors could potentially become employees, exit the business immediately or derive an ongoing revenue from their customers.”

In conclusion Castle states, “By working with Union Street we are now well positioned to realise our plans for growth. There are a number of ways in which we plan to use aBILLity in the future, and we’re working with Union Street to make this possible. Overall, we made the right choice, and I’m certain that we have the right partners for our billing requirements.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine