The challenge – streamlining order-to-cash
The objective of the program was to deploy an end-to-end digital solution for Capgemini customer invoicing, from invoice initiation, through the global finance system (GFS) booking process, through to distribution of invoices to customers. The main benefits that were sought from this automation exercise were:
- A contribution to cash improvement by shortening invoice cycle time (increased speed of processing) in order-to-cash (O2C) activities
- Elimination of manual work, freeing up full-time employees for other tasks
- Greater compliance and fewer errors.
The solution – Digital Customer Invoicing Solution
The project started from a simple need to create a macro O2C routine, but it was soon realized that much more might be possible. Capgemini’s Digital Customer Invoicing Solution (DCIS) was put to work. It’s an innovative solution to accelerate O2C business process automation, comprising a PHP-based decision-making user interface; a SQL database; and automation in a form that brings together real-time integration (API) and UiPath bots.
Because this wasn’t an enterprise-wide exercise, it was possible to undertake it in short sprints, overlapping and in parallel. That way, if something wasn’t working, it would be noticed and addressed quickly, without being to the detriment of the whole project. For the same reason, this “test-iterate-test” approach promoted innovation and collaboration. In addition, it enabled the team to identify winning tactical elements faster.
The project also provided the opportunity to streamline the underlying customer invoicing processes to deliver frictionless operations. These improvements included:
- Elimination of the draft approval process thanks to real-time previews of invoice drafts
- Tasks centralization and management, conducted by a dedicated team to drive compliance and automation in an industrialized manner (fewer incorrect invoices and rework activities)
- Improved processing time in the GFS as a result of automating the transactional invoice creation process and 24/7 solution availability
- Full automation of transactional invoice creation process
Mass uploads of invoicing input, eliminating individual event entries into the GFS. This significantly improved invoice creation turnaround time in the case of multiline transactions.
Specific benefits of the program have been outlined below. However, it is also worth noting that in general terms, the exercise inspired engagement delivery experts to look at other processes afresh – including from a “how to automate?” perspective.
What’s more, its success has created greater awareness throughout the organization of the broad power of innovation, and of the significant impact it can have on internal and external ecosystems – even when, as here, it’s something that started out small.
The outcomes – going frictionless
The innovation delivered by our teams has enabled our client to take full advantage of O2C business process improvements. In turn, this has helped us deliver – what we call – the Frictionless Enterprise, leading to:
- A significant increase in the number of customer invoices that are handled automatically. The project is on track to deliver 75% of global volumes in scope by the end of 2020
- Elimination of manual work, resulting in an estimated productivity increase in 2020 that is the equivalent of around 35 full-time employees, who can now be relieved of repetitive low-level tasks and assigned to more rewarding activities
- Standardization of processes across the organization’s operating regions: over 90% of robotized processes have been reusable in other geographies
- Greater compliance and fewer errors
- Unique employee digital experience, replacing emails with communications via an innovative and rewarding process conducted within the tool
- Beneficial environmental impact – the solution has enabled the organization to replace printing and paper storage with a system of electronic invoice distribution to customers.
When the initiative first started, the small nature of the project meant our teams had the freedom to experiment and shape the product evolution strategy. However, the project soon became a CFO priority for the client covering key geographies.
Bartosz Grochowski is Intelligent Automation Service Delivery Lead for Capgemini Global Shared Service Finance.