Advania HQ in Iceland

Consolidating IT for a Global Business

"I look forward to the future in the knowledge that whatever NAAFI may face we have a key strategic partner that has proven to deliver."

Reg Curtis CEO of NAAFI


NAAFI is the official trading organisation of HM Forces, providing retail and leisure services to the services. NAFFI operates over 200 outlets around the world providing convenience and a 'taste of home' to British Forces overseas. As well as traditional retail, catering and leisure offer, NAAFI also provides outlets in areas that are not commercially advantagous so home essentials and services that would otherwise not be available can be delivered.

The Business Need

In 2012 NAAFI had a strategic review of its operations which revealed that with the changing requirements of the British armed forces NAAFI´s turnover would be reduced by one third, the number of facilities would be reduced from 390 to 190 and the number of employees would be more than halved. The review also found that its Information technology infrastructure was outdated and inefficient. Three key problems were revealed: 

  • Duplication: Drove inefficiencies and increased cost, distracted from the core business objectives
  • Customized and out-dated versions of ERP systems that had a high maintenance cost and probability of a database failure. 
  • In-house support which was increasingly difficult to provide and was high cost
„We needed to come away from a situation where there was poor supplier management and overly complex IT architecture. We chose Microsoft Dynamics NAV as our single global platform since it was relatively easy to integrate with. Advania has global reach and we had worked with them in the past. They are an experienced outsourcing and hosting partner but the most important thing is that they listened and responded to our unique circumstances. They are customer focused rather than sales led,“ comments Reg Curtis, CEO of NAAFI. 
NAAFI´s management team put a plan in place to transform the company´s information technology that was based on rapid implementation, low cost and simplicity. The IT plan was based on the following key components:   

Vision
  • Application consolidation based on standard software solutions
  • Hosted applications and infrastructure
  • Low cost open data communications
  • Support from a technology partner
 Methodology
  • 6 phases
  • 1 year
  • £1.1m budget
Objectives
  • Remove threats, including an outdated ERP database
  • Simplify the IT estate and make scalable
  • Simplify operating procedures
  • Reduce annual IT costs and make variable
Success Criteria
  • Deliver the project on time and on budget
  • Minimise disruption to operating service
  • Build a strong partnership with the technology partner
  • All deliverables must support scalability, standardisation and simplification

The Solution

After considering a host of options on how to take information technology forward NAAFI turned to the Nordic IT company Advania which had been one of many IT suppliers in the past. Advania provides NAAFI with an end-to-end solution. 
  • Hosting: NAAFI hosts all of its IT systems in Advania´s dedicated state of the art data centre
  • Consolidation: Advania consolidated and simplified the current IT systems used by NAAFI in a variety of locations around the globe. 
  • Optimization: Advania assisted NAAFI in optimizing business processes. 

Implementation

An end-to-end Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP and retail system was implemented. This replaced a whole range of legacy IT solutions and became the sole ERP and retail platform for NAAFI.  
 

Change management

NAAFI worked closely with Advania on an enterprise change program around infrastructure, applications and communications architecture in order to right size their business for the future.  All applications including Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook are provided to NAAFI users via Citrix thin client environment and hosted in the Advania Data Centre, creating a highly secure and scalable IT environment.  Advania will continue to assist NAAFI in optimizing applications and technology solutions for commercial advantages as part of this long-term partnership.

User and Technical Support

Advania provides first, second and third level support to NAAFI. 

Business Benefits

Together, Advania and NAAFI were able to secure an outcome of this extensive change programme that achieved all major objectives. The implementation was successful and genuinely on time and budget -  a rare event in most corporate IT transitions. 

  • Annual IT operating costs were reduced from £3.5m to £1.5m
  • Internal IT team was reduced from 15 to 2
  • Payback in less than a year
  • All cost elements scalable
  • 60% cost reduction in Finance team
  • Global thinking & a simple business model
In addition to significant cost savings the solution implemented met the key criteria of simplicity. Bespoke solutions were avoided, all infrastructure and IT support was outsourced, all software is now up to date and a new ERP system replaced various older systems. 

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