France Telecom chooses IFS over big players

Thursday, 25 November 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

France Telecom, parent company of mobile operator Orange, has opted for an ERP system from IFS to support its supply chain. The IFS solution replaces solutions from both Oracle and SAP that the supply chain division had used previously.

The decision to switch to one ERP provider for the division came as part of a re-organisation within this part of the company. Previously there were two separate strands within France Telecom’s supply chain. One supply chain was dedicated to the products that the company used to build its network, such as cables, antennae and other equipment. The other supply chain was geared towards the management of stock and inventory. The first supply chain was supported by SAP software while the second used Oracle.

“Supply chain management is about moving boxes and allowing availability of our product to our customers,” group head of supply chain information systems Alexandre Provost told Computing. “Moving network materials around is not that different from moving stock and inventory – size is the only differentiating factor. So we have standardised our processes and implemented a new ERP system accordingly.”

France Telecom is currently implementing the IFS solution, with the first stage due for completion in early 2011. The company opted to replace Oracle and SAP with IFS as the company’s solution was better aligned to its needs. However, the firm continues to use both SAP and Oracle elsewhere in the organisation.

The company’s supply chain division had been using SAP and Oracle systems for a long time and those solutions had reached a point where they required a high degree of modification, meaning the company was underutilising the system. The life expectancy of the systems was limited because management was no longer supported.By contrast, the company is using 90 per cent of IFS applications, which as a result offers better value for money compared with the legacy systems.

“Once we had our standard processes on paper, we tried to find a system that would be abe to cope with those standards,” said Provost. “We compared all the vendors and part of this was a financial comparison which was important. But when we looked at the processes we wanted to run against the standard of the product we realised that with IFS we were able to use almost 90 per cent of the product’s functionality. This meant we could make good use of a standard product rather than have a highly customised system that would need considerable management in the future.”

IFS is a public company founded in 1983 that develops, supplies, and implements IFS Applications, a component-based extended ERP suite built on SOA technology. IFS focuses on agile businesses where any of four core processes are strategic: Service and asset management, manufacturing, supply chain and projects. The company has 2,000 customers and is present in more than 50 countries with 2,700 employees in total. Net revenue in 2009 was Rs. 2.6 billion.