Aculab is a privately owned global company with over 30 years’ experience designing, manufacturing and supporting communication technologies for use in wired, wireless and VoIP telephony. Aculab’s technology is used to deliver multimodal voice, data and fax solutions for use within IP, PSTN and mobile networks – with performance levels that are second to none. Today Aculab remains at the forefront of telecoms technology with Aculab Cloud, a true cloud-based telephony platform.

Background

Aculab is a long term user of Oracle E-Business Suite 11i and has deployed it as a true Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The Oracle implementation is a stable and mature system responsible for supporting the Financials, Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Warehouse functions.

Oracle is not a strategic platform for Aculab and, while they have developed a strong functional support system in-house, Aculab does not have any Oracle database administration (DBA) skills. Thus, they rely on third parties to provide these services.

The Business Challenge

Oracle is an overhead to Aculab’s business, thus the cost of external support must be minimised while ensuring the right level of support is delivered. The managed services supplier must also work in true partnership with Aculab, given that functional support activities are delivered in-house.

While their previous supplier was not failing to meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Aculab had a growing concern that they were no longer a valued customer. Furthermore, some aspects of the service had deteriorated, for example there were often issues with the delivery of cloned environments. When their managed services contract was due for renewal,

Aculab went to the marketplace to see if these issues could be addressed. It was also important to ensure they were maximising value for money and to engage a provider who would provide full support for a de-supported version of the Oracle software. After a competitive tender process, Claremont was selected as Aculab’s Oracle support partner. Aculab’s business also clearly mattered to Claremont. These improvements were achieved while still delivering Aculab’s requirements for value for money.

Solution

Claremont delivers reactive and proactive Oracle DBA services to Aculab. By working in close partnership with their functional support staff, Claremont ensures Aculab has a comprehensive and joined-up Oracle support solution. While there is unlimited fix-on-fail support, backed by the UK Oracle market’s most comprehensive SLAs, Claremont endeavours to focus on proactive support. Effective Incident and Problem Management ensures issues are fixed quickly and do not reoccur, while proactive services prevent unnecessary. Incidents and keep the system up-to-date.

The delivery of these services is underpinned by Claremont’s simple but very effective strategy of only employing highly experienced consultants who are dedicated to the support role. Claremont delivered a fast and effective transition to move Aculab to the new support service. Time pressures dictated that the transition was delivered in 10 days, but this was completed without any impact on systems support. The transition was managed by the Service Manager and lead DBA that Claremont had assigned to Aculab, and they were supported by the entire DBA team.

Within the first few months of going live with Claremont, our proactive services detected a number of performance-related issues. Particular issues were found with Oracle’s cache performance and the tuning of redo logs, both of which are fundamental to the effective running of Oracle databases. This confirmed Aculab’s fears that the system had previously not received the attention it required. Claremont worked through the Incident and Change processes to resolve these issues. Aculab’s business users subsequently advised these changes had fixed a long-standing performance issue that affected their use of Oracle, proving that proactive maintenance has a material benefit to businesses. Claremont continued to deliver proactive improvements alongside reactive Incident-based support and projects have been run to patch Aculab’s system to Oracle’s baseline patch level and migrate to the Sun JRE plugin. This ensures Aculab’s system remains supported by Oracle and reduces the size of future upgrades, thus reducing business risk and cost. These activities are delivered within the standard costs and scope of Claremont’s DBA support services.

Claremont’s services are overseen by a delivery-focussed Service Manager, who has no sales remit, and are underpinned by Incident and business SLAs unrivalled in the marketplace.

Business Benefits

Aculab has realised the following business benefits in engaging Claremont as their managed services provider:

  • A true business partner for the provision of Oracle E-Business Suite support, who dovetails with Aculab’s in-house team to deliver a comprehensive, high quality solution.
  • Improved service delivery because Aculab’s business really matters to Claremont and we only use experienced Oracle consultants dedicated to the managed services role.
  • Full technical support for Oracle E-Business Suite regardless of the system’s support status with Oracle, meaning Aculab is not forced to upgrade to Release 12.
  • Improvements in system performance for Aculab’s business through the introduction of effective monitoring and truly proactive services.
  • Commercial benefits through flexible structuring of payment terms and the ability to terminate the contract, without penalties, if there is significant change in Aculab’s business or systems.

Aculab had complete confidence that Claremont could deliver the technical services while also delivering thorough and effective service management, something lacking from consulting-led organisations.

Steve Fine

Oracle Support Manager, Aculab

Benefits

  • Within six months, RiverStone’s ERP operations had moved from Oracle E-Business Suite to a new, future-proofed, robust and scalable, cloud-based system architecture
  • Moving to Oracle ERP Cloud has reduced ongoing system maintenance costs and the disruption of periodic upgrades
  • The new system will reduce the month-end closing cycle and improve group reporting by replacing many Excel activities for statutory and internal reporting with ERP Cloud processes and / or Cloud reporting tools
  • These reporting tools are already supporting RiverStone’s Solvency II reporting requirements
  • The new systems landscape of Oracle ERP Cloud and Sapiens provides a stable platform on which to simply add the insurance books of any new acquisitions

The new cloud-based system is outstanding and supports our IT Strategy. Claremont has set us up for future growth and better business. We are seeing the benefits already.

Alan Dennison

Head of Systems Operations & Development, RiverStone

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