Published on 17-Jun-2008
Validated on 22 Apr 2010
"The FileNet P8 architecture offers many advantages in terms of sophisticated workflow capabilities and support for a universal document repository. We regard our FileNet solution as highly innovative because of its ability to unify and manage a wide range of business processes." - --Nuno Baptista, Project Leader, PT SI
Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Content Management, Leveraging Information
IBM Business Partner:
Portugal Telecom (PT) is currently Portugal’s largest private company, with some 30,000 employees and 38 million customers on four continents.
PT needed to consolidate back-office operations to improve operational efficiency
By using the FileNet P8 platform, PT was able to unify their business process management (BPM) and workflow platform supporting business support processes in finance, accounting, resource management, asset management, logistic and human resources
2.1% increase in profit margin, Higher operational efficiency, Reduced operational risk
Portugal Telecom (PT) is currently Portugal’s largest private company, with some 30,000 employees and 38 million customers on four continents. Its history stretches back as far as the end of the 19th century, but the most significance occurrence in recent years was a multi-phase privatization that began in 1994 and ended in 2000. Today, the PT Group leads the Portuguese telecoms market, with business interests in fixed and mobile telephony, multimedia, information systems, e-business, satellite communications, directories, and research and development.
The Business Challenge
Like many other telecom operators, Portugal Telecom (PT) faces pressure from factors such as intensifying competition and shrinking wireline revenues. It has responded to this pressure in several ways, among them a major expansion of its mobile and broadband businesses. It has also engaged in a strong drive to improve the efficiency of its operations.
One specific area identified as offering great potential for improvement was the consolidation of back-office operations among the different companies within the group. PT decided to establish a shared services center, PT Pro, offering business support services to these companies in the areas of finance, accounting, resource management, asset management, logistics and human resources.
PT SI is the IT solution provider to the PT Group as a whole, as well as to other external organizations. It won FileNet’s Best ValueNet Partner Award in 2003 and two Most Innovative Solution Awards in 2004.
“The main challenge was to unify the business processes involved and implement a single IT platform to support them,” explains Nuno Baptista, PT SI. “There was also a need to re-engineer the processes with a view to streamlining and automating them for improved efficiency.”
PT set out to develop a unified business process management (BPM) and workflow platform that would combine ease-of-use with robustness and efficiency, while enabling tight control of all processes.
PT decided to base its new consolidated solution on FileNet P8 in combination with SAP R/3. SAP was already the core business software across the group, while several PT companies had already implemented FileNet solutions in the wake of a decision to adopt FileNet as the enterprise content management (ECM) standard for the group.
Existing SAP and FileNet solutions were consolidated into a single customized solution, which is responsible for modeling, implementing, automating and controlling a total of 157 business processes. They range from changing employees’ HR data to approving invoices. In total, the system has some 2,000 end-users.
PT employees who use the solution do so from within their own business processes by means of a user-friendly workflow interface. All information and documents related to the process in question can be securely accessed using this interface. To submit any request that needs to be supported by a physical document, the employee simply sends the document to be scanned. This action automatically launches the appropriate workflow.
Implementation and Technology
The redefinition of business processes marked the first stage in implementation. Most of the work was done internally by PT, but Accenture was engaged to help with finance and accounting processes. According to Baptista, the main challenges were to develop a suitable workflow interface within the limited time available, and to build a security model appropriate to the entire range of business processes.
The new solution, known as ProUno Workflow, was rolled out in phases, beginning with 36 business processes within the largest company in the PT Group. Additional companies and processes were then added over a 15-month period, during which the functionality of the solution was also expanded. At the outset there were almost 50 people in the project team, but this number was later reduced by half.
The new, re-engineered business processes are managed using FileNet workflow. The workflow brings together SAP R/3, SAP Workflow, SAP Portal, Ebydos Cockpit, and Readsoft Eyes & Hands Invoices. All systems are tightly integrated, with work items in FileNet workflow being synchronized with those in SAP Workflow.
FileNet Process Analyzer and Process Simulator are used to monitor and manage service level agreements (SLAs) between PT Pro and the companies it serves. The production environment for the solution is based on ten servers running Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Advanced Server with Microsoft SQL Server™ 2000.
Tight integration among different systems enables ProUno Workflow to support a very high level of automation.
“All the data captured from scanned documents such as invoices is automatically delivered to SAP, where it is available for viewing across the PT Group,” says Baptista. “However, the original paper invoices never leave the central operations center and there is no more need to copy them or circulate them within and among companies. The savings in time and effort are substantial.”
Thanks to the workflow interface, users working for PT companies everywhere in Portugal are able to seamlessly initiate and participate in a business processes through FileNet P8 Business Process Manager (BPM). They can view and mark up every document that the business process is using.
Because business processes common to several different companies are now handled using just one system, IT-related costs have been cut substantially. Human resource requirements have also been reduced, especially given that the new processes are so highly automated. Overall, therefore, there has been a large reduction in the time and effort allocated to HR, accounting and other processes across the group. At the same time, the rigorous workflow process and the existence of a universal document repository minimize the scope for loss and error.
The Business Benefits
The FileNet system has contributed in a major way to the economies of scale achieved by PT through the PT Pro shared services initiative. Higher operational efficiency and reduced operational risk are amongst the most important benefits experienced by the business as a whole.
In combination with other cost rationalization efforts carried out across the group, PT Pro helped PT’s domestic business to improve its profit margins (as measured by EBITDA) by 2.1 percentage points in 2004. Further improvements are expected in the future.
“The FileNet P8 architecture offers many advantages in terms of sophisticated workflow capabilities and support for a universal document repository. We regard our FileNet solution as highly innovative because of its ability to unify and manage a wide range of business processes,” concludes Baptista.
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