In our personal lives, we tend to pay more heed to advice when it’s being offered by someone who has relevant experience. If you’re applying for this course or that job, it makes sense to listen to people who have been there.
Business is no different – and not only for the companies receiving advice, either. It makes sense, too, for those offering their views to have inside knowledge. They are in a better position to understand the issues, and also to describe the benefits of an approach.
At Capgemini in recent years, we’ve been busy automating some of our key processes. To do this, we’ve made extensive use of the approaches we recommend to our clients, including ESOAR (Eliminate, Standardize, Optimize, Analyze and Robotize); our “Five Senses of Intelligent Automation” framework for digital transformation; and D-GEM, our Digital Global Enterprise Model.
It enhances the insights we can bring to our clients – but also, it has led to significant improvements in our operations.
Finance and accounting
Led by Capgemini Business Services (CBS), which coordinates many of our internal operations, we’ve introduced automation in two broad areas.
The first such area is finance and accounting (F&A). A case in point is in the handling of travel and expenses claims. We had a number of disparate systems worldwide, and replaced them with SAP Concur. Our new automated approach simplified claims, and streamlined approvals and settlements, enabling us to achieve an overall efficiency increase of 106%.
We also automated key elements of our procure-to-pay (P2P) accounts payable processes across Europe and North America, centralizing our approach to local governance along the way. As a result, we have seen paid-on-time instances rise from 42% to 68% globally, our 46-day pay cycle has dropped to 28 days, and return to vendor cases have reduced by 40%.
More broadly, we’ve been implementing robotic process automation (RPA) across our F&A function. We have 37 bots in production, in areas including invoice creation and distribution, journal entry updates, variance analysis, inter-company invoicing, fixed asset module automation, and sales booking using the THOR customer relationship management (CRM) tool. In all these areas, we’ve been able to streamline operations, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce and redeploy headcounts.
For example, in reporting activities, we have achieved a 34% reduction in turnaround times, and as a result of improvements to month-end closing processes, we have at the time of writing been able to release 57 full-time employees and re-assign them to other functions – of whom, 37 were the direct result of RPA.
The second area in which we’ve made progress is in human resources (HR). Successes here include the implementation of the Hire.Me tool, which standardizes and automates the interview coordination process; and introducing mobility to our International Assignment Services, enabling us to support employees working abroad with the business visa process.
In addition, we’ve been conducting a full-scale ESOAR review of our approach to learning and development; we’ve introduced a single, central database to manage knowledge across all our HR processes; and we’ve eliminated manual input from our recruitment administration processes, replacing it with a standardized and automated solution for collating and interpreting feedback. Here, as elsewhere, the optimization of headcount we’ve achieved has meant we’ve been able to re-assign people to other fulfilling roles.
Finally, the PowerBI tools we’ve introduced to HR reporting have had a major impact on our client processes.
Benefits for all
The changes introduced by Capgemini Business Services have delivered significant benefits to our organization, in more than 10 languages across a five-day, 24-hours-a-day operation. These benefits are also being felt by the 1,150 people we employ in F&A, and also by more than 370 people in HR – all of which support our over 200,000 employees across the globe.
More importantly, however, our process improvements also enhance the service we are able to deliver to our clients – not just in terms of efficiency, but in terms of the insights they enable us to share with them, as they embark on their own journeys of automation and digital transformation.
Kishor Wikhe is the Chief Operating Officer for Capgemini’s Business Services – a global business line of the Capgemini Group. He is responsible and accountable for key activities including digitalization, reskilling, and introducing industrialized innovation across the business.