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Celtel build and operate world-class communications networks that deliver reliable and competitive services in Africa. The company has invested more than $750 million in Africa developing networks in fourteen African countries.

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Celtel saves $23 Million in first year with iPOS and Four Business Solutions.



Recognising the need to rationalise procurement practises within its operations, Celtel embarked upon a project to implement a web based procurement solution across all its operations, over a three month period. Within the context of a rapidly growing organisation, the need for tighter budgetary control over spending was essential. There was a real need for 'cost pipeline visibility' both within individual countries and across the group.


Nick Schild, procurement director for Celtel in Hoofddorp, Netherlands explained, "We knew this was one of our most challenging IT projects. We needed the very best consultants to help us achieve a successful outcome. The unique combination of Four Business Solution's knowledge of procurement together with their knowledge of our accounting solution, SunSystems, complemented the project management skills of Atos KPMG. This blend of talent meant we were able to tackle this challenging project with a high degree of confidence."


Schild explained "It's dangerous to underestimate the challenges of working in the environment we do, you cannot always rely on power, hardware, even airline flights can be a hurdle. Both Four and Atos equipped themselves admirably and resolved issues with a calm dedication. We knew from the outset we had a winning formula, because the main focus of all our planning was the approach to risk management. The experience of the consultants helped us avoid many pitfalls. Most notable was their approach to change management and training, in just a few weeks they developed an e-learning suite specifically for us. This made the task of training remote users in different languages far easier."



The criteria for the right solution covered many important issues. Integration with SunSystems was critical for accurate budget checking in real-time. Celtel wanted to avoid the batch interface option and saw 'real time' integration as essential for the projects success.


The iPOS procurement solution from Professional Advantage was selected as a good value option, offering excellent return on investment. The iPOS solution seamlessly integrates to SunSystems out of the box and uses the Web for remote connectivity. There is zero foot-print on a user's computer, making the deployment far easier.


"iPOS is a powerful and flexible system with rich, process-focused functionality. Just as important to Celtel was the intuitive design and ease of use, minimising the need for extensive, costly end user and administrator training."


The solution was about more than the software itself. There was a need to set out clearly the 'rules of engagement' for purchasing. These new procedures carried the full backing of senior management, which meant there was far less resistance to change at a grass roots level.


Celtel built an internal procurement strike force that were clearly mandated on the business requirements and had the necessary authority to get things done. A reduced team focuses on the progressive implementation of process improvements and enhanced system functionality.



The benefits of the project have been enormous.

  • Users are directed to select from approved supplier lists, which has cut down considerably the amount of ad hoc purchasing.
  • No department is more than 5 mouse clicks away from accessing their actual spending to date, against budget. Every department has access to the advanced inquiry, data interrogation tool. This gives a real-time display of purchasing information including delivery reports, outstanding payments and allows up to date document tracking.
  • At a group level Celtel HQ have far greater buying power now they are armed with a consolidated view of supplier spending across the group. This project has allowed Celtel to see 'Who is buying what from whom.' The power to negotiate with real data has brought significant savings to the Group. 
  • Having improved the speed of invoice authorisation, local procurement managers are defining early payment terms with suppliers. This has become a key indicator of our improved efficiency. "We have put in place a solution that allows the business to grow, without the burden of paperwork that often follows." 
  • The risk of purchasing fraud has been significantly reduced.