Real World Process Examples: BPM for Employee Onboarding

Business Problem: New hire on-boarding is a cross-functional, time-consuming, and often highly-manual process. We use BPM to automate and accelerate the steps within departments and to facilitate the process hand-offs between departments. In fact, it even starts before on-boarding: we use BPM to manage the complete lifecycle of recruiting from prospect intake through interview through offer. Appropriate handoffs are then automatically made to HR for employee on-boarding.

Process Players: Recruiting, Human Resources, Finance, Executive Management, Department Supervisors, IT, New Hire

Process Steps: Hand-offs from Recruiting go to HR for automatic pre-processing, which kicks out sub-processes for things such as all IT provisioning, delivering new-hire paperwork, alerting Finance for benefits processing, and scheduling an introductory Supervisor meeting. These steps segue into follow on processes, such as filing final paperwork, creating employee photos, badges and business cards, alerting our intranet team to post new information in the employee directory, and getting the new hire into our Peoplesoft ERP system.

Process Benefits: Tremendous reduction in time and effort required to process new hires, and enforcement that all keys steps are completed. The end result is that employees are up and running as self-sufficient, productive members of our team faster.

HR On-Boarding

HR On-Boarding

*Sources and References:

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Is BPM a Part of your Organization’s Financial Capabilities Ecosystem?

Organizations have relied on an ERP system as an important part of their financial capabilities ecosystem to handle standard financial operations such as sending out invoices, managing documents, and processing payments. However, organizations still continue to grapple with non-standard financial processes. These include deductions management for invoices that are not paid in full, exceptions handling in accounts payable processing, effective credit controls enforcement, and accurate expense recognition based on when goods are received. In order to handle these, excel spreadsheets have to be manually managed and shared through e-mail or the ERP software needs to be altered from fundamental process flows, which is expensive and time consuming.

For instance, for revenue recognition and reporting challenges, because contract element risks are not being captured, quantified and properly associated with forecast and sales data, a team of expensive ERP specialists may have to be hired to modify the ERP system for new capture methods, contract review and approval steps, database interactions, reporting and other functions all tied together with new process flows. The effort can easily require enough elapsed time that the nature of the business and contracts change to the point where the modifications become irrelevant.

Another limitation of ERP systems that is most visible to companies are the ‘process gaps’ created when a business process extends beyond the ERP system’s capabilities. For instance, in a typical accounts receivable function, if the payment doesn’t match the invoice amount, an exception is created which must be handled manually outside of the ERP system. The exception is now an un-audited manual process with no visibility leading to slow resolution, redundant customer touches, increased DSO, lost staff time, and costly write-offs.

A BPM system provides a more agile way for finance departments to enforce policies, track compliance, and capture performance statistics across both standard and non-standard financial processes. BPM systems afford business analysts the flexibility to changes processes based on their needs and have documentation produced immediately. Well-designed BPM systems include the integration hooks necessary to layer a flexible and dynamic process across existing ERP investments that store invoice and payment information.

As an example, BPM systems allow improved handling and communication for short payments thereby reducing days of sales outstanding (DSO) by including:

  • A secure platform that allows both the vendor and customer to collaborate freely
  • Enforcement of key financial rules and controls to ensure compliance
  • Dashboard visibility and audit-ability of all historical decisions and information exchanged in a dispute
  • Real-time reporting on the status of all vendor disputes
  • Flexibility to handle exceptions and apply process changes on-the-fly by appropriate financial analysts and decision makers

Leading companies have already found that BPM is the technology that allows them to master financial performance. Does your organization also include BPM in its financial capabilities ecosystem?

*Sources and References:

Achieving Dramatic Improvements in Financial Operations through BPM by Appian

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How BPMS makes ERP more flexible

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has become a critical part of an organization’s application portfolio handling important data about company financials, customers, and employees, and helping execute key processes such as procure to pay, and order to cash. It is not surprising that more than 75% of all Fortune 500 companies use ERP software offered by vendors such as SAP and Oracle.

However, ERP software has been unable to shake the perception of being inflexible. There is legitimacy in this perception. An organization’s business processes often have to be redefined according to the best practices and workings of the ERP software. Extensive customization of ERP software is typically reserved for the largest customers, and usually adds a zero or two at the end of the invoice amount billed to the customer.

This lack of flexibility is not a problem when dealing with standard processes such as general ledger accounting, and financial reporting that are handled in much the same manner across all organizations and companies. In fact, organizations would want completely dependable and standard results for such standard processes.

On the other hand, organizations also have the need to build and manage differentiated and innovative processes that help it stand out in the market. These processes have to change fast depending on new customers, product regulations, and business relationships. Examples of differentiated processes include customer service, sales, and product introduction that are handled differently from one organization to the other. Examples of innovative processes include research and development, and marketing, which demand the greatest degree of experimentation and therefore the most amount of system flexibility to handle these processes.

Standardization vs. Differentiation - Extending value of ERP

Systems of Record, Differentiation, and Innovation

Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) are flexible systems in which differentiated and innovative processes can be configured and managed. These BPM systems can leverage existing financial data, customer information, employee information, and process logic that already reside in the classical ERP system of record. Technically, there are various ways in which BPMS can integrate with traditional ERP systems that include web-services and Java based connectors.

BPMS systems can add flexibility to the traditional ERP systems of record, and help your organization build and manage differentiated and innovative processes that help it stand out in the market.

*Sources and References:

PEX Webinar: Extending the Value of your ERP system

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