Integrated Business Processes Automation for a Luxury Clothing Company
July 6, 2019

Integrated Automation of the Business Processes of an IT Company

Summary

A company selling Internet solutions (network equipment, IP telephony, technical support) experienced problems with manual project management. Their main workflow involved a complex chain of interaction with suppliers, customers, and business units within the company.
Any task from the submission of commercial offers to the payment of invoices, incurred significant losses of time and information. It was impossible to solve these problems without process automation.

We offered the Client an integrated and automated solution. Solutions implemented during the project included:

  • Sales management.
  • Contract work.
  • Purchase management.
  • Projects involving installation and follow-up technical support.

This new business process management system enabled the Client to significantly improve business efficiency, and in particular:

  • The time needed for preparation and submission of commercial offers decreased from several days to 5–10 minute.
  • Errors when filling out project documentation no longer occurred.
  • The approval process for purchase requisitions was automated.
  • Project task time was reduced, due to the seamless integration between the Sales Portal (lead generation) and the Installation Portal (project implementation).
  • Payments for completed work started to be made regularly and on time.

Client

A company serving as a reseller of network solutions and IP telephony, based on hardware and software from other vendors.

Problems:

  1. Problems with preparation of contracts. The company did not use IT systems to record and control sales. Employees had to fill in Excel spreadsheets manually. Moreover, the sales process had a complex structure: the total contract amount depended not only on the equipment list, but also on its configuration, current purchases, retail prices, and other factors such as the buyer’s location. A preliminary calculation made at the request of a potential customer took longer than a week.
  2. Problems of communication between company departments. When a contract with a customer was concluded, the sales department forwarded the project documentation to service engineers manually. At this stage, the “human factor” affected business processes: the project documentation might be transferred with a delay, might be incomplete, or not transferred at all. As a result, the cycle of engineering work was unacceptably long, cash receipts were delayed, and the payment of subscription fees under technical support agreements incurred constant delays.
  3. Problems related to an outsourcer. To improve the situation, the Client recruited an outsourcer, who examined the business process details for eight months in an attempt to standardize them. However, the Client was unable to implement their recommendations, as they would have disrupted rather than helped the company’s activities.

Project Goals

To develop and implement a solution that would significantly reduce the number of problems concerning interaction between contractors, customers, and company employees.

  • To develop a user-friendly consumer application (portal) for each business process stage, in order to automate:
  • The preparation and issue of commercial offers (sales department).
  •  Interaction with vendors (purchasing department).
  • The organization of work on the installation and maintenance of equipment (service engineers).

To develop a system of internal communication capable of integrating different information portals.

To eliminate the risks of information loss or miscommunication during the interaction of departments, excluding needless control procedures and adding necessary ones.


What Did We Do?

A situation analysis showed that:

  1. The results of the earlier contractor’s (the outsourcer) work could not be used.
  2. The Client did not have a full picture of what the results would look like.
Task 1 – Development and Implementation of the Sales Portal

The Sales Portal enabled the Client to:

  • Automate the preparation and issue of commercial offers.
  • Apply a price quote system for automatic correction and price verification, depending on the customer location.
  • Automate the receipt of current purchase prices from vendors.

Result:

The development and implementation of an automated process of price verification and substitution in commercial offers supplied the solution. The time required for the preparation and issue of a commercial offer was reduced from several days to 5–10 days minimum.

Task 2 – Development and Implementation of an E-Signature Portal

The E-Signature Portal enabled the Client to:

  • Automate contract preparation when a customer has accepted a commercial offer and wants to make a purchase.
  • Eliminate the need for manual data transfer from a commercial offer to a contract.
  • Connect a billing system that was developed for the Client’s needs.

Result:

The development and implementation of an automated process of price verification and substitution in commercial offers supplied the solution. The time required for the preparation and issue of a commercial offer was reduced from several days to 5–10 days minimum.

Task 3 – Development and implementation of a Purchase Portal

The Purchase Portal enabled the Client to:

  •  Standardize the purchase procedure.
  • Automate the approval of purchase orders at a fixed price.
  • Exclude the possibility of purchases at a higher price without approval.
  • Systematize information on all purchases, using the “what, from whom, when, at what price” template.

Result:

The Client is a reseller of hardware and software purchased from other vendors. It was therefore important:

  • To create a purchase procedure for goods up to a certain price, including automation and simplification.
  • To introduce additional regulation for purchases above a certain price.

To achieve this an algorithm that displays roles and statuses when approving and completing purchases was implemented.

Task 4 – Development and Implementation of an Installation Portal

The Installation Portal enabled the Client to:

  • Systematize the work of engineers and project managers.
  • Synchronize equipment connection requests with the conclusion of an agreement for its purchase.
  • Synchronize technical support with subscription fees.
  • Link payments to service engineers to provide evidence of work performed under contracts.
  • End the transfer of project documentation hard copies.

Result:

Requests for the connection and set-up of equipment (for example, IP telephony) are now sent to the engineers immediately after a customer signs a contract. This ended any loss of information or undue transfer of information between the sales and service engineering departments. The regulation of time in both commissioning activities and technical support significantly reduced the amount of time between lead receipt and payment.

Project Results

Powerful automation of the company’s core business processes from sales, to the installation of equipment, and payment of invoices increased the total work efficiency of the company with respect to its customers. In addition, the transition to this new management system and its four mutually integrated portals:

  • Accelerated the implementation of projects.
  • Led to faster payment of invoices.
  • Increased the customer loyalty with these improvements in service.
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