In our day-to-day lives we expect the interactions we have with technology to be simple, intuitive and immediate. However, enterprise solutions are sadly lagging behind when it comes to user experience. IHS Markit has taken cutting-edge SAP Fiori technology and applied it to its management of travel and expenses. In doing so, IHS Markit has made the process far more efficient and user-friendly. In addition, it has created a platform from which to build numerous other applications, which the business has a strong appetite for.
IHS Markit is a leading global provider of financial information services with over 19 offices worldwide, employing over 4,000 staff. It provides products that enhance transparency, reduce risk and improve operational efficiency. Data and technology is at the heart of everything it does. Whilst the technological solutions it provides to its customers are seamless, IHS Markit’s internal process for travel and expense management was cumbersome, frustrating and time-consuming for all concerned.
- Manual spreadsheets: Expenses had to be manually entered into an Excel form which continually had to be updated with refreshed customer lists by the SAP delivery team. Via a customised ABAP solution, this was then loaded into its SAP ECC system.
- Restricted submission process: Expense forms could only be submitted from within the company’s VPN; not terribly convenient for IHS Markit’s remote workers and senior management team who regularly travel.
- Poor approval traceability: Approvals were actioned through an email or written signature making them almost impossible to track.
David Linton, Director of SAP at IHS Markit, had a clear vision: to make the most out of IHS Markit's existing SAP ecosystem utilising SAP Fiori. The team understood that this would provide them with a web-based design with access across multiple devices from outside its firewall. Not only did this solution fit well with its current SAP landscape but it also provided a foundation for the future.
Bluefin worked together with IHS Markit to assist in implementing SAP Fiori Travel Management Apps, initially running design workshops to fully understand the needs of its users before producing a blueprint. The solution implemented was based upon the following:
- Configuring Travel and Expenses in ECC;
- Customising workflow which allowed for lower level managers to approve lower value claims whilst still providing the control IHS Markit required, especially for large value claims;
- Implementing Fiori Launchpad, along with the Fiori Apps ‘My Travel and Expenses’ and ‘Approve Travel Expenses’. Both of these apps were modified for specific IHS Markit requirements, most significantly adding delegate functionality to ‘My Travel and Expenses’ which allows delegate users to complete a request for another user, who then checks and submits the request for payment.
Fiori has transformed how IHS Markit manages its travel and expenses. Whilst discussing the solution, David Linton, Director of SAP, explained:
“Fiori is a very good product which is easily deployed. We rolled it out to 4,000 users globally and haven’t had to undertake any training, which was an intentional decision because it is so intuitive. It’s a testament to how user friendly the product is.”
- Mobility and 24/7 access: A big win for this project has been the users’ ability to submit and approve expenses when they want and where they want. With time-saving features such as phone receipt scanning, the process is far more convenient and geared to its teams’ needs.
- Automation: The laborious process for those administering expenses is now automated, saving IHS Markit’s Expense Management team significant amounts of time every month.
- Platform on which to build: Having seen the capability of the Travel and Expense Fiori apps, other business groups are now wanting to deploy apps for their specific areas and business needs.
- No training costs: Due to its intuitive nature, no training has had to be undertaken throughout the rollout.
- Policy refinement ensuring tighter cost controls: A more robust approval process is now in place with embedded policy alerts. Decision making has been passed back to the relevant teams, who can now take ownership of their costs. Responsibility for expense approvals has been extended from 100 senior managers to over 700 team members, spreading the load and empowering Line Directors to take ownership of the expenses incurred by their teams.
- Transparent global process: IHS Markit’s Travel and Expense Management is now standardised across the globe and is easily scalable: key for an organisation going through rapid growth.
“Our focus isn’t purely on price when it comes to choosing a technology supplier. When implementing bleeding edge technology like Fiori we look for a partner who has the ability and experience to work through issues as and when they arise and ensure the Go Live happens with minimum disturbance to the business. This was Bluefin.” - David Linton, Director of SAP