How Altron handled IT consolidation
System modules used: Comprehensive ERP solution: purchasing, sales and order management. DMS, Service system, Customer helpdesk solution, Business module, Attendance system. INSIO has been a customer since: 2017
For more than 30 years, Altron has been a leader among suppliers of data centers and technological infrastructure for critical business applications on the Czech market. He has completed projects with well-known names, such as Seznam.cz, Komerční banka, or the mobile operator Oskar. It has had a branch in exotic Oman since 2013 and today operates in a wide range of markets and industries, from telecommunications to energy, transport and logistics, industry, banking, insurance, government, the military, and security forces.
We interviewed CEO Martin Souček
What is the mission and daily bread for you in Altron?
Altron’s mission and values are a satisfied customer in the first place, as well as simplicity, speed and efficiency on the way to the desired result and, last but not least, innovation, these are key in our field and help satisfy even the most demanding customers.
Altron is also a responsible company that thinks about what kind of planet we will leave behind for our descendants. That is why we propose the most environmentally friendly possible solutions and prove that economical and efficient solutions can also be ecological.
What does the word innovation mean to you at Altron?
Innovation accompanies us throughout our history, they are our essence, both towards our customers and in our own functioning. The field of IT has always been a very sparsely developing field, the company must actually respond in advance to rapidly coming innovations and new technologies. It’s not enough to just keep up, you have to be ahead of the competition to succeed. The best way to do this is to create and bring innovation yourself. The others then have no choice but to keep up, more or less successfully.
Sometimes, however, this spontaneity brings too fast decisions and changes, which in the end do not form such an effective and viable whole. This happened to us, for example, in the case of internal IT systems. The possibilities to digitize internal functioning came gradually and the solutions offered separate applications, which appeared on the market at different times and were based on different technologies and principles. So at one point, we were using many applications and systems that often didn’t even integrate, and users had to learn many different logics and procedures to control them and transfer data manually or even rewrite from one application to another. Although the unification and modernization of this operation has risen unstoppably in the list of priorities, no one really wanted to join it.
We realized the simplicity of solving the situation at the moment when we wanted to introduce a customer helpdesk. One of the offered applications was much wider, covered almost all our needs, its modules were connected to each other and logically interconnected all the processes that we solved either in separate applications or by various tables and emails.
The helpdesk was chosen by the director of the service department and he really liked the idea of connecting with economic management, monitoring support costs down to the detail of an individual customer. He therefore invited the CFO to another meeting with the INSIO system supplier. He also liked the idea and at the same time noticed the possibilities of the human resources module and the third meeting with INSIO Software took place at the owner level and was nothing short of a comprehensive ERP system of economic management, DMS document circulation, Helpdesk and regular service management of equipment installed at our customers.
What steps did Altron have to take for IT consolidation?
The first was the revision and visualization of our own operation, description and drawing of internal approval and work processes in the areas of economic management, ordering goods, approving and issuing invoices and the entire business process, internal requests and approvals, customer support, service management and much more.
Although this first step was not entirely up to us, INSIO Software analysts did their best, but we realized that the enthusiasm for easy and fast migration, data casting, and administrable integration setups provided by INSIO must go ahead of time. on the analysis, preparation and setup of our own processes.
What exactly did the cooperation with INSIO look like?
At the beginning, the analysis and phasing of the project was already mentioned. Based on the recommendations of INSIO Software analysts, the commissioning of the modules was gradual, in small groups, divided and processed according to individual company needs, activities and processes.
We learned from each iteration, the next one was easier and the result was better.
To minimize potential negative impacts on customers and business partners, we started with simpler internal agendas. The first in line was the internal Helpdesk, orders and invoice approval. Records of mail, partners and property followed. Finally, human resources also came within the scope of employee records. This is how we introduced users to the system. Subsequently, we were able to work on user groups, roles and permissions and logically connect all modules.
Some external integrations followed. For example, NextCloud as a file repository and the Money S3 accounting system used by our external supplier, so we were able to outsource accounting efficiently. The integrations were basically ready on the part of INSIO, so it was not about anything complicated, but especially the processing of invoices made it extremely easy and clearer.
After all this experience, the introduction of a customer helpdesk and invoices issued with the control of the existence and correctness of the relevant order was literally a toy. We then even got to the phase of parallel preparation of the extension of human resources with a planner / work reports and the most important part of the system, which connected all the already implemented functions and brought us the greatest usefulness we promised from the system. In fact, I can say at a glance today that she surpassed ours. It was about order management.
Today, we register tenders in the demand module, monitor their progress and result. At the same time, we record offers in the system and, depending on the result, we both ideally turn into an order. We then monitor all the necessary data, record contracts, budgets, invoicing and much more. We also know exactly how much work we did on the order, how much material they bought for it, etc. In short, we immediately see the budget for the business case in one place, then generate an invoice with one click and send it to the customer via the system. Effectiveness and an overview of both the whole and any detail of the contract is invaluable for its evaluation. We can also display all system data in tabular or graphical reports, which are necessary for strategic decision-making. It all took almost 8 months, but we got used to using ERP INSIO very quickly and today we don’t understand how we could have done it without it. (laughter)
Where do you see the biggest space in digitization for the future?
If I look to the future, we see it mainly in artificial intelligence and IoT. For example, in the field of customer service and preventive maintenance. IoT brings so-called predictive maintenance to this area. Thanks to the sensors, artificial intelligence can monitor, for example, whether there are irregular fluctuations in the drawing of energy from the battery, which would indicate a fault or the end of life. It combines the information with long-term data of already recorded cases and evaluates the possibilities of fault types. If we give her the confidence and freedom, she can even order parts and a service appointment before the customer realizes any problem. The impression of reliability and care will grow as well as customer satisfaction and profits.