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Optimizing Procurement and Invoicing Processes for Financial Client

Financial Services | Enterprise Applications and Middleware Services

TEKsystems® facilitated the implementation of Oracle Procure-to-Pay and WebCenter Imaging to enhance and optimize the client's procurement and invoice accounting processes.

With nearly three million account holders, the client is a financial services organization offering investment, trading, banking and lending services. The client’s products and solutions are designed to help customers meet near- and long-term investing goals and take control of their financial futures. The client has been a partner of TEKsystems since 2010.

When appropriate, applying automation to any business task action can help speed processes, while also alleviating stress on other resources such as human energy, burn down of operational equipment, or the company’s pocketbook. For activities that occur frequently and in high volumes, automation can bring even greater value across the organization.

Regardless of the industry, organizations around the globe have adopted Oracle WebCenter Imaging to optimize document management processes. Formerly known as Oracle Imaging and Process Management (IPM), WebCenter Imaging helps businesses transition from what were once paper‑based, manual activities to more automated and seamless processes, particularly related to financial activities such as invoicing.

Oracle Identity and Access Management,Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (various applications/modules),Oracle WebCenter Imaging
With hundreds of thousands of physical procurement and invoicing documents being delivered to the client’s accounts payable teams via multiple sources (i.e., email, fax, mail), management of these documents proved daunting and it was clear there was room for optimization of this part of the client’s IT.

The client had about 3,000 full-time employees and 1,500 contingent temporary workers, who all had the freedom and access within the organization to procure products, resources and equipment for the organization. In the past, whether users needed coffee for the kitchen, hardware or software, or additional contract staff for a project, they needed to go through a timely, cumbersome procurement process—from identifying the need to invoice payment. And given the large volume of procurement and invoicing documents, this manual and fragmented process was highly inefficient.

From a technology standpoint, the client had a multiple data source system. This meant that scanned, manual invoices and emailed invoices were recognized as two separate sources. Integrating sources would streamline this part of the process. Additionally, the client had limited access to real-time information including requisition, purchase orders and invoice status. Furthermore, the client experienced long purchasing lead times, and automation—which could help curb lead times—was minimal. With limited automation of frequent business activities, such as approvals; purchase order creation, transmission and changes; account generation; and matching hold notifications, the client was also more prone to errors and rework.

Approaching its contract renewal term for the existing system, the client determined that although the system had useful features, they no longer wanted to be locked into it and they wanted to adopt new technologies with functionalities that the previous system didn’t offer. Ultimately, the client needed to improve the procurement and invoice processes to drive efficiencies within the organization. The client sought to replace the current system, enhance its procurement to payable functions, and expand the functionality of sourcing and contracting; this would need to be achieved while maintaining strong quality and performance standards as well as optimal network and customer information security. Although the client knew process improvements were necessary, they were challenged by the high costs associated with retaining the expertise and skills needed to run the processes and lacked the resources in-house. As such, a third-party partner was required.

Along with seven other potential IT services partners, TEKsystems' Enterprise Applications and Middleware practice proposed supporting the client’s transition to an Oracle system in order to automate and simplify its standard procurement, purchasing and approval processes.

TEKsystems recommended conducting a comprehensive analysis of the client’s current system environment to determine the optimal Oracle technology solution to accommodate business challenges. We would then provide support services such as migrating historic data from the previous system to the Oracle system, implementing an integrated business intelligence reporting platform, simplifying approval management and improving the procurement to payable functions.

We proposed implementing various Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) modules to accommodate the client’s needs, such as iProcurement, Procurement Contracts, Oracle Purchasing, Oracle Time and Labor, Oracle Approvals Management, Oracle WebCenter Imaging and Document Capture (ODC). Additionally, we would need to modify standard functionality and develop specific features in order to yield the benefits and end results that the client was targeting. To do this, we would build a multitude of functional and technical enhancements consisting of:

  • Simplification of iProcurement process flow through a redesign of the user interface
  • Automation of invoice processing using WebCenter Imaging
  • Customized process to procurement and management of contingent labor services
  • Major modifications to Oracle Approvals Management (AME) to suit the business processes at the client
  • Custom solutions utilizing Oracle Application Framework (OAF), Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF)/Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Web services and reports

TEKsystems Enterprise Applications and Middleware Services has been at the forefront of Fusion Middleware technology stack-based development with innovative solutions for organizations that have a progressive approach towards deploying business applications. Additionally, the client had already engaged us in developing stand-alone Fusion applications that integrate with Oracle EBS R12.1.3, and the client was aware of the quality of our resources and our performance. We also offer core development and consulting in the areas of Oracle Supply Chain, Distribution and Financial modules. Given our relevant expertise and experience, as well as our existing consultative relationship with the client, we were selected to implement our solution over the seven other competing organizations.

Utilizing the proposed solution, TEKsystems successfully implemented a single enterprise application for maintaining and tracking procurement and financial data. We delivered a highly scalable and secure content repository with life cycle management built-in, ensuring the effective management of documents at all stages of business operations through archival. By automating the entire invoice processing life cycle, the client experienced decreased transaction cycles and reduced manual data entry by as much as 80 percent. 

To facilitate configuration to the new software, we ramped up a team of as many as 19 skilled resources over the course of this one year engagement; a combination of on-site and off‑shore resources, the team was composed of program and project  managers, functional leads, technical leads, architects and administrators. Through our initial analysis, we determined that the Oracle EBS application was the best technology solution from Oracle to leverage and solve the company’s business challenges. To measure the compatibility between the source system and new system, the TEKsystems team conducted a series of discovery and proof-of-concept sessions with key client leadership from across the organization’s divisions. Once the new system was configured, we performed data validation and user acceptance testing (UAT). Following this, we conducted a training program to introduce all key users on the new environment.

With our support, the client realized numerous feature, functionality and automation improvements within its procurement and invoicing functions. For example, the client now has the ability to auto-create and send purchase orders via email without human intervention. And employees can create, manage and track their own orders from requisition creation to payment processing. Another enhancement is the Web-enabled workflow to route invoices needing approval, and managing exceptions (e.g., add/remove approvers) while an invoice is in-process. Ultimately, our support enabled the client to:

  • Establish a single enterprise application for maintaining and tracking procurement and financial data
  • Gain control on approval process for all functions (i.e., requisition, purchase order and invoices)
  • Transition away from disk-based storage, allowing for reduced storage and retrieval costs by more than 30 percent
  • Streamline the procurement checkout process, shortening it from 12 steps to four 
  • Reduce invoice processing and approval cycle time
  • Improve user experience with a custom user interface
  • Decrease maintenance costs on third-party systems
  • Flexibility. The client had previously worked with other consultants and partners who required all actions be conducted through a change request process. This added step often meant an over-delegation of activities, and subsequently, prolonged implementation cycles and escalated costs. At the same time, the software was so new that there were many unknowns, creating big risks for partners to overpromise—hence the change request process. While it was difficult to evaluate the scope from start to finish, the client knew a flexible partner could help mitigate the cycle and cost risks it might face. We provided the flexibility and adaptability the client needed. 
  • Product expertise. Our Enterprise Applications and Middleware Services practice provided deep domain expertise across the Oracle product stack that was unmatched by competitors. We also had the ability to leverage our Oracle contacts for quicker problem resolution, helping further optimize processes.
  • Preparedness. Having consulted with us in the past, the client trusted that we would do our due diligence upfront to ensure our solution would effectively fit their business processes and environment. We performed comprehensive testing activities as well as extensive research to ensure we delivered the optimal solution and that we met and exceeded client expectations.