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Touchstone Group stars at the National Theatre


Touchstone Group, the UK’s leading enterprise solutions provider, has successfully completed an overhaul of the National Theatre’s (NT) procurement and finance systems.

The NT, renowned for its world-class productions, was using a legacy purchasing solution which was no longer being effectively maintained or supported. In addition, they were also using an outdated version of SunSystems for their financial management processes and recognised that this too needed to be reviewed. Touchstone Group proposed an upgrade of SunSystems and the implementation of PROACTIS, as the replacement purchasing solution, to bring the National fully up-to-date with a best-of-breed system.

During the evaluation process, the NT was particularly impressed by the comprehensive functionality of PROACTIS, including Document Scanning, Stores Management and Sales Invoicing, as well as Touchstone Group’s unrivalled expertise. Fern Stoner, Head of Finance at the NT, explains: With PROACTIS, we found that the workflows were intuitive, the screen layouts were great and it allowed us to work the way we wanted, while maintaining appropriate levels of control. What’s more, Touchstone Group’s understanding of our requirement and experience of the PROACTIS product was first rate and made them stand out from the competition.”

When it came to the NT’s financial management system, initial investigations had considered replacing SunSystems. However, Touchstone Group proposed retaining the solution and upgrading it from version 5.1.5 to 5.3, keeping in place the core strengths of SunSystems, while broadening functionality to include new features such as an updated navigation facility with a user-specific tailored interface. Critically, SunSystems also facilitates seamless integration with PROACTIS, so this innovative approach would provide the NT with two powerful and complementary solutions as well as saving time and resources.

Despite being charged with delivering the entire project within a very challenging 3-month timetable and tightly managed budget, Touchstone Group completed it ahead of schedule and under budget. Looking back on the implementation, Stoner comments: “We were delighted with the process from beginning to end. It was vital that we got on with the people and they were very open and great to work with – really, really, fantastic – which made the installation so much easier. Each stage was well managed and there was always someone on hand to ask for advice, from consultants to members of the helpdesk – Touchstone Group’s advanced knowledge shone through at every step.”

As well as significantly improved reliability, line managers have already experienced the advantages of controlling their own costs through PROACTIS’ online order approval capability while full visibility of supplier performance will drive higher standards and competitiveness.

Stoner concludes: “I see the project as the start of a long-term relationship. Moving forward, I envisage the potential uses of the product and its role within the National Theatre expanding. With Touchstone’s market leadership, I feel that we’re well placed to achieve this.”

Les Jones, Services Manager of the SunSystems & eProcurement Business Unit at Touchstone Group, comments: Replacing their faltering incumbent procurement system with PROACTIS, allied with upgrading their SunSystems solution, has evidently brought significant benefits to the National Theatre. I’m extremely pleased with the implementation and the results experienced by the NT to date and look forward to the continuation of a rich partnership between the NT and Touchstone Group.”


About the National Theatre

The National Theatre (NT) is central to the creative life of the UK. In its three theatres on the South Bank in London it presents an eclectic mix of new plays and classics, with seven to eight productions in repertory at any one time. Its international reputation for excellence enables the theatre to attract the best artists and stage productions of the highest quality.

The NT employs approximately 900 staff and most years, taking into account extensive touring and work in the West End and very often on Broadway, NT productions will be viewed by well over a million paying audience members. In addition to the three theatres, the NT complex includes two restaurants, seven bars, easy parking for more than 400 cars and a specialist theatre bookshop.

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