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Cordys increases internal efficiency with Process as an App from Vanenburg Software

August 29, 2013

Quote
“Process as an App is very suitable for activities that require approvals”
Ada van Lagen, HR-employee at Cordys

“We used to work with three different systems in our projects. Now, we use only one app”
Petra Kroes, employee Project Office at Cordys

Challenge

  • Automate, from a users’ point of view, processes that encompass multiple applications;
  • Employees should be able to access their applications from different locations;
  • Increasing efficiency by facilitating single source information entry.

Solution
Implementing several ‘Proces as an App’-cloudapplications developed by Vanenburg Software.

Benefits

  • Employees can now enter expense claims from any location, put in holiday requests, register hours spent on projects and review and update project administration;
  • Workflows support the process and automatically send a message to employees when they need to respond;
  • As every step of the process is completed using information from a single source, a higher level of efficiency is achieved and less mistakes are made.

Cordys develops process oriented software, such as Business Operations Platform (BOP) and Cordys Process Factory (CPF). Working on logical designs for business processes and supporting them is second nature to the company. Several years ago Cordys engaged Vanenburg Software, its implementation partner, to develop a smart cloud solution for processes that either were not available yet or that involved multiple applications. Vanenburg Software specializes in developing solutions based on the Cordys-platform that support processes and people. As these solutions support a specific process from A to Z and have workflow capabilities, these solutions are called Process as an App.

Simplifying HR-processes
HR-employee Ada van Lagen says: “In every country where Cordys has subsidiaries, we used a different HR-system which complied to local laws and regulations. We also used a directory listing all employees worldwide but this wasn’t linked to the HR-systems. We asked Vanenburg to first develop a cloud solution that would replace this directory. Using this as a starting point, we connected the directory to other applications and step by step added new functionality such as submitting expense claims and holiday requests.”

The design philosophy for Process as an App is to fully automate the process while using the same data. This means that information doesn’t have to be reentered in the system. Furthermore, as the process is automated, employees are notified when a certain process demands their input. Ada van Lagen: “Process as an App is very suitable for activities that require an approval and we ‘ve got a lot of such activities at our HR-department. Submitting expense claims or requesting vacation days are activities that employees rather do from home than at the office and this app allows them to do so – it’s a cloud application so it can be accessed from any location.”

Vanenburg developed a MashApp that comprises several HR- related process in one app. Employees do not need to check multiple applications or enter information in different systems, the MashApp automatically sends them in the right direction. It also automates and digitizes additional steps. “Scanning a receipt for example is a step in the expense claim process”, says Ada van Lagen.

 

Projectmanagement
As enthusiasm grew with the positive results in the HR-department, Cordys next reviewed other processes which could be automated as Process as an App. The software company’s core business process is projectmanagement. Project Office employee Petra Kroes says: “when we do projects for our customers, we have to use three different systems: a projectmanagementsystem, a tool to register hours spent and a financial system. We’ve combined these three systems in one MashApp that supports employees and leads them through several steps.” The app is used for internal projects as well as customer projects and both Cordys-employees and contractors have access to it.

As Process as an App has integrated three different systems, the information has to be entered only once and not re-entered several times. That saves time and prevents mistakes. Petra Kroes: “Hours spent are automatically booked on the right projects and the invoice is drawn up almost automatically. Everything being in one place, that’s really an improvement. It makes you think back on how many times you had to re-enter the information from one system to the other.”

Preparation is everything
Both ladies highlight the need for a proper preparation. “You have to first outline your goals before you start working on a functional or technical design,” says Ada van Lagen. “Of course this is commonsense in software development, but as you are now working on a largely automated process that you want to improve you are tempted to skip some steps. If you do that, then you’re missing out on the possibilities that this approach offers you.”

These possibilities can be found mainly in improving the user-friendliness of processes. Petra Kroes advises to incorporate the input of users by using workgroups. “A process or a form is viewed very differently by users than by a process analyst. By involving users in an early stage, you not only create support for the solution but you get better ideas too. People usually are adverse to change but by engaging them and informing them on the project, resistance dissipates.”

Another tip is to have future users extensively test the new app before going live to get rid of any bugs. The Project Office planned a period of six months for this part of the project. “In this timeframe people can work with the testversion. Based on their feedback, we´ve further improved the tool. By doing so, we´ve not encountered any big issues or questions after going live.”

Jira incidentsupport
Both the HR-department as well as the Project Office are very positive about support provided by Vanenburg Software. They´re also glad to be working with Jira, the tool that allows users to report incidents. It works perfectly, according to Ada van Lagen. “You log your issue in Jira, assign a priority and can then track its status. You can also add an attachment or comment which gives Vanenburg all the information that´s required to resolve the issue. Before they implemented Jira, we reported issues by phone to our support contact at Vanenburg. When they needed additional information, we´d send an email with an attachment. This worked well, but now information can be entered, stored and retrieved from one place and it allows you to track status it´s become even easier.”

Both ladies are satisfied with the outcome of their projects. “We use less applications, processes are supported in a logical way and employees have access to the applications everywhere, even from home or at a customer´s location. The benefits of improved efficiency are paramount.

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