REVIEWER: Cristen Rankin, senior process analyst, Concur.
BACKGROUND: Established in 1993, Concur is a provider of on-demand employee spend management services and has been named a top 5 global on-demand provider by research firm IDC. Concurs market leadership is based on relentless innovation focused 100 percent on driving costs out of business. Concur enables organizations to globally control costs by automating the processes they use to manage employee spending. Concurs end-to-end solutions seamlessly unite online travel booking with automated expense reporting, streamline meeting management and optimize the process of managing vendor payments, employee check requests and direct reimbursements. Because companies of all sizes depend on Concur, we understand the vital importance of effective business processes. For this reason, Concur decided it needed a business process management solution to help improve certain critical client-facing processes, as well as to aid the companys ongoing effort to set the industry bar for overall organizational maturity.
PLATFORMS: We use Windows 2003 Service Pack 1 with Dell PowerEdge 6400/700 and Quad 700 MHz Pentium III Xeon CPU. We have 3968MB of memory.
PROBLEM SOLVED: We are constantly searching for innovative ways to increase the quality and efficiency of our on-demand employee spend management services. We decided to examine and reinvent (where necessary) a host of critical client-facing processes. We looked to BPM as both a technology and a methodology to help us do this, while also aiding us in our ongoing effort to set the industry bar for overall organizational maturity. By focusing on our underlying processes for new client implementation and for processes supportive to service delivery to existing clients, we felt we could make dramatic strides in improving the two most fundamental aspects of our customers Concur experience. We sought a solution that would streamline our business processes, reduce operating costs by improving internal controls, and provide enhanced visibility and actionable process analysis (both in the moment and for continuous process improvement efforts). We chose to focus on nongeneric processes vital for our business, but not tackled by the BPM industry at large, including vital and Concur-specific processes for credit card feed requests, change control board, Concur expenses implementation (including production handoff), evidence for our audits, Service center operations shift turnover, job monitoring and more.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We selected Appian Enterprise as our BPM platform due to its extensive process modeling and controls capabilities. We also knew that Appians comprehensive features integrating process, knowledge management and analytics would all be crucial in helping us achieve our corporate goal of overall process maturity, and that its ease of use would be essential for the level of user adoption needed to make the solution a success. System users are broad, including account managers, client support representatives, implementation consultants, system and network engineers, system operators, DBAs, auditors, accounting clerks and managers.
STRENGTHS: Appians extreme flexibility combined with its ease of use allows us to deploy BPM in innovative ways. For example, our first application of BPM was to create a process for identifying which of our business processes would most benefit from re-engineering, and for managing and implementing those process changes. Also, Concur did not require any Appian services or training in our initial implementation. Appians intuitive design allowed us to identify target processes and implement solutions on our own.
WEAKNESSES: We found limitations in performing free-form reporting queries against the underlying database. Appian is enhancing this capability in the next version of the product.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Our BPM platform selection was originally made outside of Concurs IT department, with the key criteria being comprehensive features (process plus analytics and content management) and ease of use to drive user adoption. Once deployed within our IT department, we were pleased by Appians flexibility in integrating into our existing environment.
DELIVERABLES: We have implemented more than 50 managed processes to date with Appian, and weve seen an average reduction time for process completion of 20 percent. Most importantly, we estimate Appian has delivered an annual cost avoidance of greater than $700,000. Organizational goals around improving performance have turned into metrics and management by exception. We can run simulation and hypothesis testing on things like staffing resource requirements to measure the probable outcomes. The creation of process frameworks to formalize nongeneric processes has greatly aided our organizational maturity.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Appian has been a strong and reliable partner for Concur, providing knowledgeable people who are dedicated to our success.
DOCUMENTATION: The Appian documentation is complete and easy to follow.
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