Tracking travel the Capgemini way

Innovation Nation talks to Xavier Italiano (Contract Manager, Capgemini’s Business Services) and Magdalena Likus-Smietana (International Mobility Manager, Capgemini’s Business Services) about how Capgemini’s award-winning Travel Tracker Tool provides enhanced visibility at a global level for our people on assignment abroad, while enabling the mobility team to spend more time on valuable and complex processes.

First of all, many congratulations on winning the HRO Today Forum EMEA award for your Travel Tracker Tool. Could you summarize what the tool does and how it works?

Xavier Italiano:  Thank you! We were very excited to win the HRO Today award in the “Innovation in Human Resources, Technology” category. This award is the result of all the hard work done by Capgemini Poland’s International Mobility Team. I’m really proud of all the teamwork that has gone into considering the needs of the end-user and design the tool accordingly.

The Travel Tracker Tool is a digital mobility and travel data collection optimization solution for employee-travellers and mobility teams across the Capgemini Group.

The tool offers enhanced visibility at a global level for all employees on assignment abroad, with a comprehensive dashboard that gives different departments a direct and accurate view on the number of days the employee has spent on assignment. By automating simple tasks, the tool reduces the number of repetitive activities, and frees up time for Capgemini’s HRO International Assignments (IAS) team to spend on more valuable and complex processes, including complex requests such as visa preparation and employee onboarding.

The fact that our automated Travel Tracker Tool is delivered in-house by our fantastic team of developers from Capgemini’s Cloud Infrastructure Services, very much sets Capgemini apart from other organizations that either still work very much on a manual basis, or use mobility tools delivered by external providers.

What were the initial challenges that led to the development of the Travel Tracker Tool?

Magdalena Likus-Smietana: Mobility teams across the Capgemini Group were having to deal with a number of challenges including compensational salary calculations, export allowances, taxation, social contributions, and meeting the minimum wage. In addition, every employee that went on a business trip or secondment abroad had to manually complete an Excel document, which lacked certain controls to help avoid sending incomplete or inconsistent data.

Each month, the employee had to send this document to the relevant mobility team, who then created a number of reports and used the data for processes such as tax reconciliation, shadow payroll, and minimum wage alignment. All of this was, as you can imagine, not only extremely time-consuming, but prone to a range of different errors and inaccuracies.

We’ve tried to take advantage of this opportunity several times, and in November 2018 finally found a way. Following analysis of our approach to collecting, processing, and reporting data, we designed a Travel Tracker Tool that responds to the increased volume of travel reports  arising from increased international travel of a growing corporate organization.

Could you provide a specific situation in the Travel Tracker Tool has been used?

Magdalena Likus-Smietana: Yes, of course. Capgemini France’s mobility function was suffering from a time-consuming, manual process in which their employees had to complete and submit an Excel document on a monthly basis. This was prone to a range of human-based errors, inaccuracies, and incomplete data. This was having a negative impact on both the employee in terms of timely compensation, and the mobility team.

We also had to collate data from different Excel documents to create consolidated reports, as well as respond to questions and queries. It would take a minimum of over two minutes to process one employee’s Travel Tracker Excel document.

Xavier Italiano: Implementation of Capgemini’s Travel Tracker Tool now enables the mobility team to consolidate all data in a single dashboard, which provides easy and direct access to downloadable reports. The tool also sends reminders to the employee, helping to ensure the completed tracker is sent back on time. The manager or HR assistant has direct access to his or her employees’ trackers and can verify or reject the tracker independently.

The Travel Tracker Tool, helps the team save almost 30 hours of processing time every month, which is enabling us to spend more time on complex, value-add tasks.

What impact has the Travel Tracker Tool had on the various Capgemini stakeholders?

Magdalena Likus-Smietana: The Travel Tracker Tool has had a significant impact on three different levels. For the end user – the employee travelling on assignment – it is quick and easy to complete, more user-friendly and efficient, and doesn’t allow the employee to send empty or incomplete forms.

Once the tracker is sent, the traveling employee receives the assurance that the information they provide is complete. The mobility team can process the data in real time, enabling the finance department to proceed with additional payments, and ensuring the employee doesn’t suffer from any delay in receiving these payments

Xavier Italiano: On top of this, reports created by the tool give a full picture on the status of employees on assignment and can be used to track the situation and location of any employee who is working in a medium or high-risk country

Finally, as the finance department is able to process clean data in real time, it can proceed with the relevant tax declarations and payments to the employee and/or the local authorities.

In short, by easing the date entry and collection of data, the Travel Tracker Tool simplifies the work of all parties involved in international mobility processes – through easier and faster processing speed, enhanced trackability, easier accessibility to data in case of need of correction, and a user-friendly design and interface.

How is the Travel Tracker Tool relevant to the wider HR profession and industry?

Xavier Italiano: That’s a very good question. While the Travel Tracker Tool is currently delivered internally across the Capgemini Group, it has the potential to transform the way large, complex, multi-unit organizations process their mobility data to be more user-friendly, transparent, and cost-effective. It is ideal for any business unit or company looking to streamline their international employee mobility.

It not only represents a simple tool that can be adapted very easily to any new company or project profile, but is first and foremost, a key tool for the secure data collection of any employee travelling on assignment. From an operational point of view, the Travel Tracker Tool is crucial for any international business.

Finally, what’s the future for the HRO IAS team and your award-winning Travel Tracker Tool?

Magdalena Likus-Smietana: With overseas travel continuing to evolve rapidly due to different laws applicable in each country and constantly changing rules, it is vital for a mobility teams to be innovative.

Capgemini’s HRO IAS team is constantly designing and implementing innovative, automated tools, solutions, and templates that enable our internal stakeholders to adapt to this constantly evolving landscape. All of the solutions the HRO IAS team deploys – and the Travel Tracker Tool is the best example of this – helps simplify the work of travelling employees, the mobility team, and all departments such as HR that deal also with mobility data.

Xavier Italiano manages delivery for HR administration and recruitment services for Capgemini France. He supports the delivery of international mobility services for France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

Magdalena Likus-Smietana manages IAS consultants and experts that provide high-level international mobility services for Capgemini in Europe, including France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.

“Employees find the Travel Tracker Tool very easy to use, very intuitive, and not a drain on time. The time from conception to build was very quick, and when it was tested with our user group, the updates to enhance the user experience were exceptional. The tool is a very good innovation by the Capgemini Poland team”
Peter Baird, Director, International Assignments Services, Capgemini

“The Travel Tracker Tool helps support our overall ambition of delivering a much better employee experience. We want to leverage this solution globally and are counting on the Capgemini Poland team to deliver more solutions to the International Assignments Services fraternity.”
Garry Burr, Vice President, Mobility and International Assignments Services, Capgemini

“The Capgemini Poland team has created a new tool that is going to help and improve life for thousands of our employees worldwide. The Travel Tracker Tool is one the most important evolutions that we needed for International Assignments Services.”
Patrick Gidon, Head of International Mobility France and Head of Global Travel Safety, Capgemini

Tracking travel the Capgemini way