Digital transformation for Metro Rod

Background

Metro Rod is the leading provider of drain clearance, repair and maintenance solutions on a 24/7/365 basis across the UK with 42 depots and 400 engineers. Metro Rod is a franchise business and in 2017 was acquired by Franchise Brands plc which is focused on building market-leading businesses in selected customer segments using primarily a franchise model. In addition to Metro Rod and Metro Plumb, the group also owns Willow Pumps, ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad. Franchise Brands is quoted on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.

 

Metro Rod had been part of an organisation called Enserve who were responsible for all their IT support and infrastructure. Following the acquisition, they needed to be off Enserve’s systems within six months. They needed an IT partner who could help them review and recreate their entire IT infrastructure within that fixed timeframe.

They didn’t want to build their own datacentre and have all the costs and inflexibility associated with running their own IT hardware and instead were looking for a dedicated cloud-based solution.

Metro Rod’s core system used legacy technology, so they needed an IT partner with the skills and capability to support them on that legacy platform and through a journey of transformation now and in the future. They also needed an IT partner with technical excellence and capacity to put people on the ground and mobilise quickly to get the job done in time.

Metro Rod had a strict timeframe of six months to review and recreate their entire infrastructure.

Discover and propose

The legacy system at Metro Rod required additional IT investment, specifically Exchange on Premise for Email, SharePoint 2007 and 2010, and their own bespoke application which was delivered via Citrix and a legacy finance system.

The systems and processes were inefficient and clunky with information stored across several systems, a lot of work involved double keying. Plus, the legacy system which Metro Rod were migrating away from had unreliable data in.

The invoicing process system was slow. Month end is a busy time for franchisees trying to get the jobs completed and the invoices out. Historically, the system had performed very badly during these periods. This legacy system was also expensive to run because it was an application which had to run on large servers.

BCN reviewed Metro Rod’s entire environment in detail. We took time to understand what Metro Rod need to achieve now and in the future so the business would be efficient, effective and be able to grow and scale at pace as they were on an acquisition trail.

We recommended that Metro Rod migrate to a cloud-based Azure environment which would be much more cost effective whilst providing the ability to flex capacity on demand. We mapped out how we were going to migrate the systems and data within the time frame which involved a rapid deployment of our infrastructure and project management experts to site.

Transform & Adopt

Once the solution and approach was agreed and road-mapped, we began moving Metro Rod’s complex, shared IT environment from an on-premise infrastructure to an Azure hosted solution. This included:

Migrating the entire business to Microsoft Office 365.

Migrating a bespoke developed system onto a cloud platform.

Mail migration from MS Exchange on-premise to Exchange Online for over 300 mailboxes.

Migration of applications and data and updating coding where necessary.

Building a SharePoint and SQL reporting environment.

Optimising core bespoke applications to run in an Azure environment.

Updating of all Microsoft office apps.

Migration of over 5 terabytes of data.

Manage & Evolve

This project was successfully delivered in the six-month time scale. We continue to support Metro Rod on their journey of digital transformation.

Since this initial project we have developed three bespoke applications: two to manage quotes that integrate with different systems and a job ‘look up’ app which pulls data into a single source where they can see the total history of a customer (data from before and after the migration).

 

Also, we have built an integrated application that allows jobs to be logged from various sources into Metro Rod’s backend management systems and have written the integration into Sage (their new accountancy software) from two different works management systems. Reporting has been greatly enhanced including the roll-out of Azure Data Factory to build a single data warehouse source of data for reporting purposes.

 

In addition, we have supported them in the deployment of Ring Central, a cloud-based telephony, communications and collaborations platform, which they use for call routing to local franchisees via the national Metro Rod call centre. Not only has reduced total telephony costs (phone lines and hardware), it also increased efficiency of service as franchisee staff and engineers an make and receive calls whether they are on site, in transit or in an office. It’s been an honour and a pleasure working alongside Metro Rod. We look forward to continuing to support this ambitious and dynamic business on their digital transformation journey going forward.