Tatung InfoComm grabs the 4G MiWAX market with many “firsts”
Tatung InfoComm is the first to adopt Microsoft Dynamics NAV in the industry, demonstrating competitive edge in flexibility and agility.
Tatung InfoComm strives to present services including Mobile broadband Internet Access, Voice, Multimedia Video, Real-time Information, Integrated Enterprise Service as well as various value-added mobile services cover three major fields – Mobile Data Application, Voice, and Enterprise Services. With services directed to individuals, families, enterprises and government agencies, Tatung InfoComm is not only the first WiMAX operator to launch service stations in Taiwan, but also the operator with the largest coverage and the largest number of partners for cross-regional roaming services.
- The ERP system used by Tatung Corporation was designed to cater to the needs of manufacturing companies, including modules for finance, administration, procurement, equipments and materials. Such a system does not support telecommunications companies in dealing with specific government regulations.
- Tatung InfoComm is a start-up in the newly emerging WiMAX market, and therefore requires a flexible and agile system that has strong integration capacity in order for the company to respond to the fast-changing environment.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV
As mobile devices such as smart phones, tablet computers and laptops are rapidly becoming popular and readily available, the fast-evolving cloud services has helped boost demand for ubiquitous Internet connection. Like voice communication, mobile data has become a necessity of life and work, the fact of which has packed WiMAX broadband wireless market – or the 4G market – with fierce competition.
Tatung InfoComm is the first WiMAX service provider to operate in Taiwan. With an eye on the advanced technological structure of WiMAX, the company decided to invest in this new market segment. Tatung also thought out of the box when it comes to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). The choice of the new product Microsoft Dynamics NAV helped the company forge agile and flexible advantages.
Lin Ton-Liang, chairperson of Tatung InfoComm says, “Both in terms of technical structure and operation procedures, Microsoft Dynamics NAV is entirely new and has no legacy setbacks. The software has visible advantages over traditional ERP system and has proven to be reliable since it went live. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has already won trust and support from users.”
Telecoms have higher requirements of ERP support
WiMAX resolves the delay issue in 3G and 3.5G mobile Internet connections and bypasses the inconvenience of cable used by optic fiber and ADSL. The new broadband wireless service is one the rise. Tatung InfoComm has taken lead in the market in establishing the first WiMAX service station, having the largest coverage and having the largest number of partners for cross-regional roaming services.
The predecessor of Tatung InfoComm is the WiMAX department of Tatung Corporation, responsible for executing the M-Taiwan project of the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs. Soon after Tatung InfoComm was established as an independent company in 2007, it also managed to obtain the WiMAX license for the southern region in the same year. It later became the first among it competitors to expand business throughout Taiwan at the end of 2010.
During the transition period from a subsidiary department to an independent company, Tatung InfoComm used the ERP system adopted by its parent company. However, the design concepts and operation logics of the manufacturer Tatung Corporation are very different from that of a telecom. Therefore, before Tatung InfoComm formally launch its services, it first needs to introduce an ERP system that caters to the features and needs of telecom companies, in order for future operations to be fully supported.
Chairperson Lin Ton-Liang says, “Requirements on financial reports were simple before the service stations were launched, and therefore the system used by the parent company would be a good make-shift. However, as revenue and clients come into the scene afterwards, the financial reports would look much more different. Apart from this, telecommunication service providers also face specific regulations and control, for which we need special support from an ERP system.”
Candidates that Tatung InfoCommm had considered included top-notch international brands and products of companies based in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is relatively new compared to its competitors. In fact, Tatung is its very first client in the telecommunications industry in Taiwan. The product stood out from the fierce competition because of its extraordinary results in the evaluation of technical structure, operation procedure and quality costs.
Senior Manager Huang Tein-Shang of the Information Division says,“ERP systems of big brand-names are known for their rigidity, imposing strict requirements on many operation processes.But in practice the environment is volatile, and Tatung InfoComm as a start-up company also keeps changing, which makes it in special need of more flexibility. The flexible design of Microsoft Dynamics NAV is thus the best option for us.”
Old data only, no old burdens
The introduction of Microsoft Dynamics NAV started in January 2008 and the system formally went live in September the same year. The teams and project managers of both Tatung InfoComm and Microsoft Taiwan Corporation are fully experienced and well coordinated. They are the keys to advancing the projects and finishing them on time.
In fact, this whole new ERP system played the pivotal role of carrying on the heritage and paving the way for the future at Tatung InfoComm. During the M-Taiwan project, the ERP system of the parent company was temporally used, but now the old data accumulated over the past need to be migrated to a new environment.
In addition, although the ERP system is the center for business operations, there are business systems specific to the telecommunications industry that require inter-connection and integration. As such, daily operations can be supported by free flow and transmission of information. For example, activation, call detail records, rendering accounts, payment distribution, Web, and the operation system of regular chain stores. It is self-evident that daily operations are heavily dependent on the level of integration of ERP and these systems.
Senior Manager Huang says, “When we were making decisions for the solutions, we required the platform structure,which facilitates flexible interfacing and adjustment, as well as the development of add-on functional modules. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is equipped with such openness and flexibility, and thus is also compatible with business systems of different brands.”
For example, the ERP and business system can be supplemented or adjusted at any time along with the launch of new products or services. For example, Tatung InfoComm provides the service of collecting and paying on behalf of content service providers. The platform for small amount payment thereof requires the support of a combination and coordination of multiple systems.
Chairperson Lin further explains, “Considering the functions of ERP systems, solutions provided by most companies are not too different from each other, However,
Microsoft Dynamics NAV is free of the old burdens and restrictions on compatibility, as it is a relatively new product. The more advanced technical structure brings about many good practices.”
Technology transfer and user-friendliness ensures stable operations
It is worth mentioning that the documents and experiences accumulated throughout the project as well as the technology and knowledge transfers, all provide important continuous support after the system went live.
For example, the Microsoft team used Microsoft SharePoint Server as a project management platform. All processes and information are entered into the system at the beginning of each project, so that the system can send out reminders both on a regular and irregular basis. This practice not only helps improve the efficiency, but also avoids the negligence and misunderstanding that could arise from manual management. In addition, Microsoft also provides trainings to users, with special emphasis on the consistency in the application of the system, so that all trained users can make the best out of it.
Undoubtedly Tatung InfoComm has had concerns about choosing Microsoft Dynamics NAV with all its past experience with ERP systems of other brands. Microsoft assisted Tatung with the PoC (Proof of Concept) on certain key functions, including order management, account receivable and account payable. Microsoft also explains the unconventional practices of Microsoft Dynamics NAV with graphs of end-to-end processes and prototype of the system. All these efforts are aimed at better fulfilling users’ requirements.
Another added value of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV system is its user-friendly interface, which avoids complicated or lengthy learning process. The operation processes of the system should also be flexible enough to respond to structural changes or position shuffling in the company.The flexibility in the interface of Microsoft Dynamics NAV largely lowers the need for customization, and is also key to simplification, integration, rapid response and stable performance.
Chairperson Lin says, “Users value easiness of use and flexibility the most. Since our service stations were launched in April 2009, the operation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and its integration with other systems have been very smooth. With the support of the system, we can now fully dedicate ourselves to exploring the best opportunities in the 4G WiMAX market.”