Some of the best-known telecom consumer brands belong to the Liberty Global family, including Virgin Media O2 in the UK, in The Netherlands, Telenet in Belgium, Sunrise UPC in Switzerland, Virgin Media in Ireland and UPC in Eastern Europe. With over 86 million subscribers across Europe and the United Kingdom, Liberty Global plays a vital role in today’s connected society.
The global investment arm, Liberty Global Ventures, has a portfolio of more than 75 companies across content, technology and infrastructure, including strategic stakes in ITV, Univision, Plume, Lionsgate and the Formula E racing series.
Managing this type of organisation is complex, especially with parent and subsidiary companies operating with different technologies and business processes. In particular, multiple finance systems with different charts of accounts across many countries required a complicated, time-consuming process to reconcile ledgers and close books.
Providing technical support is another challenge. Liberty Global set up a Shared Service Centre in Bradford in the UK to provide support across the whole organisation. But driving efficiencies is hard when the team is supporting myriad different systems, infrastructure and software versions. The parent company itself was running different versions of Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) in the headquarters in the US, UK and NL.
Running to Stand Still
With rising support costs, Liberty Global knew their estate of legacy systems, meant a lack of consistency in business processes, which was holding back innovation and growth.
The company needed a strategic vision and roadmap for the whole organisation. The solution needed to be modern, scalable and future-proofed. It had to be flexible enough to meet the needs of the centre and larger subsidiaries as well as those of the smaller companies, which wouldn’t normally have the resources to adopt enterprise-grade solutions.
System integrations included:
With Oracle already in place as a key technology supplier, Oracle Cloud was the clear choice to provide a tried-and-tested path to a modern and scalable solution.
Liberty Global’s plan is to transform their ERP landscape as part of a phased delivery over the next five years, migrating their business units to Oracle Cloud applications to leverage leading practice processes.
A fundamental step in the programme was to implement the solution for the parent company.
Liberty Global engaged Namos Solutions as their integration partner for this key project. With a proven track record in implementing Oracle solutions, Namos offered both the technical skills and business expertise to meet the scale and complexity of the challenge.
The initial estimate was for the project to be delivered in around 12 months of the proposed start date. The joint Liberty Global and Namos team had to work in partnership for some months more to overcome the challenges that arose on the path to project completion.
The Covid-19 Pandemic
Many staff worked remotely during the pandemic and new arrangements had to be established to handle the hybrid working environment. Eventually, Namos consultants and key members of the Liberty Global support team established a base on site in the Bradford Shared Service Centre.
But the restrictions and impact of the pandemic did cause some delays, particularly in the crucial early stages when key decisions needed to be agreed.
Adopting standard business processes
To gain maximum benefit from Oracle Cloud solutions, it’s best practice to adopt their standard business processes. Bespoke extensions can be costly to implement, require ongoing testing and updating with every quarterly Oracle update, and can conflict with future enhancements to the core product.
But Liberty Global had their own well-established business processes that exactly met their needs. So changing to the standard Oracle Cloud processes wasn’t straightforward. The team needed to ensure that the final solution would meet all requirements without compromising on quality.
A dedicated change team liaised with the different parts of the business to champion the changes required and reach agreement with relevant parties to ensure a successful outcome.
Complex integrations and data migration
Another challenge lay in working with third parties to implement integrations with other products. In particular, migrating payroll data for over 1250 staff from an outsourced system required additional time and effort to ensure that Oracle Payroll could operate successfully.
The challenges and complexity of the project did mean an increase on the estimated timescale.
But in April 2023 the solution went live, thanks to teamwork, resilience and dedication from both Liberty Global and Namos. Our ‘One Team’ approach ensured alignment, well-defined responsibilities and clear communication across both organisations.
And the complex implementation had an upside. During the project, the team analysed the business operations in depth and explored how to best implement Oracle Cloud to meet Liberty Global’s requirements. As a result, the final solution went live with remarkably few issues – a triumph for a project of its scale and complexity.
Namos completed a full handover of the final solution to the Liberty Global Shared Service Centre in June 2023.
Liberty Global now benefits from a modern, cloud-based solution with the built-in advantages of security, resilience and scalability – and without the overhead of managing infrastructure, legacy systems and software upgrades.
With a single integrated platform, the solution streamlines the complexity of managing finances across multiple countries and currencies. The time to close the books for a financial period is significantly reduced. Trusted payroll processing gives greater insight into payroll calculations and transactions.
The Oracle Cloud solution provides the foundation for Liberty Global to continue their drive for innovation and continuous improvement. It paves the way for other business units to adopt Oracle Cloud applications to support their own operations.
“This migration to Oracle Cloud ERP will enable Liberty Global to take advantage of a truly integrated single platform solution for its Finance across the Group, which lays the foundations for our service delivery. This will help to enable us to be fit for the future and enable our GFS team to become a centre of excellence for Cloud based finance systems, in line with our strategy. We want to thank Namos for their dedication to getting this over the line and live.”
“This has been a long and complex project for Namos and Liberty Global. It has not been without its challenges and I believe open communication was the key to getting this project over line. I would like to thank both teams Namos and Liberty Global for the hard work and dedication they have put into these projects.”
– Chris Mason, CEO at Namos