Bayer in Russia streamlines expense management with ‘software as a service’ from Acubiz

Published on 03-Feb-2010

Validated on 28 Oct 2013

"Acubiz Expense Management is a low-impact solution that provides a more effective way to handle expense claims without having to manage and support yet another IT system." - Matthias Sallat, Project Manager, Bayer MaterialScience CIS

Customer:
A/O Bayer

Industry:
Healthcare, Industrial Products, Life Sciences

Deployment country:
Russian Federation

Solution:
Business Service Management , Digital Workflow Transformation , Optimizing IT, SaaS

IBM Business Partner:
Acubiz

Overview

A/O Bayer is a part of the Bayer Group, which has core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. In the CIS region more than 1,600 employees are working for Bayer.

Business need:
In Russia, Bayer employs large numbers of sales operatives, who frequently need to travel long distances to meet clients throughout the country. As a result, the company needs to process up to 20,000 expense reports per year – creating a significant administrative burden.

Solution:
Acubiz, an IBM Business Partner, is delivering an expense management solution via a ‘software as a service’ delivery model. Built on IBM Lotus Domino, the solution is designed to enable sales and accounting staff to process expense claims more easily.

Benefits:
Increased automation could potentially cut processing time by 15 to 40 minutes per expense report, and improves transparency for managers. The ‘software as a service’ model eliminates the need for Bayer in Russia to purchase or maintain IT infrastructure for processing expense reports. Bayer in Russia pays a fixed fee per expense report, with no up-front investment, which helps to keep costs low.

Case Study

To read a Danish version of this case study, click here.

A/O Bayer is a part of the Bayer Group, which has core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. In the CIS region more than 1,600 employees are working for Bayer.

“The majority of our staff works in sales, and many of them need to travel frequently to visit customers,” explains Matthias Sallat, Project Manager, Bayer MaterialScience CIS. “Naturally, they need to be reimbursed for their travel expenses, and as a result, we need to process as many as 20,000 expense reports every year.”

Until recently, the management of these expense reports was a manual, paper-based process. Sales teams needed to complete a complex paper form, which was then sent to the accounts department. The accountants would then check the claims and enter the data into the company’s ERP system.

“The process was slow and error-prone: the forms could get lost in the mail, or damaged, or misfiled,” comments Matthias Sallat. “Moreover, the need to enter the data twice – once on the form and then again in the ERP system – was wasteful. We wanted to find a more efficient way to handle the process.”

Finding a solution
Bayer in Russia consulted the Bayer Group’s regional IT centre, which is based in Denmark, and asked them to find a solution.

“For Bayer in Russia, the key requirement was that the solution should be accessible over the Internet,” says Matthias Sallat. “When our sales teams are on the road, it can be difficult for them to access our corporate network. So we wanted a solution that would allow them to submit their expense reports easily, from anywhere.”

The regional IT team also had an important requirement: the solution should be capable of integrating with any standard ERP system – allowing Bayer to roll it out to operations in other countries if the Russian implementation was a success.

‘Software as a service’
Following a detailed analysis of various products, Bayer decided to implement Acubiz Expense Management – a solution from IBM Business Partner Acubiz based on IBM Lotus Domino and delivered via a ‘software as a service’ model. Following the implementation, Acubiz helped Bayer to train key users in the accounting and sales departments.

“One of the advantages of the Acubiz solution is that we haven’t needed to buy any servers or software, and our IT team doesn’t need to support it,” explains Matthias Sallat. “It’s a complete ‘black box’ solution from our point of view. Acubiz hosts and maintains the environment, and we don’t have to worry about it at all. There was no need for up-front investment, and we pay for the service strictly on a usage basis. So, for example, if our employees submit fewer expense reports this month than last month, we don’t need to pay as much to Acubiz.”

Simple Web access
Acubiz Expense Management runs on an IBM Lotus Domino server at the Acubiz data centre. It is designed to provide a user-friendly interface that is accessible over the Internet via a standard Web browser – so there is no need to install client software.

When salespeople need to submit an expense report, they simply log in and input the data themselves, selecting the appropriate categories (fuel, food, lodging, etc.) for each claim. The report is then instantly sent to their manager for approval, and finally the accounts department checks and submits it into the ERP system – with no need to re-enter the data.

“Although the technical side of the solution isn’t our main concern, the fact that Acubiz expense Management runs on the IBM Lotus Domino platform gave us a lot of confidence,” says Sallat. “We use Lotus Notes and Domino as our own corporate email system, and it’s a highly reliable platform.”

Localised support
“Acubiz did an excellent job on the implementation, helping us re-engineer our own processes and introducing some new features into their own software,” comments Sallat. “For example, the solution now has full Russian language support, and is fully compliant with all the relevant Russian accounting rules. This ability to localise the solution will be very valuable if Bayer Group decides to introduce the solution in other European countries as well.”

Significant time savings
“The feedback has been very positive – particularly from the accountants, because they no longer have to manually enter the data,” says Matthias Sallat. “Even though we are not currently using all of the automation features of the Acubiz solution, it has reduced the time it takes to process each report by about fifteen minutes – and when you have 20,000 reports, this really adds up to a significant saving.”

He adds: “Other companies that use the full automation capabilities of the Acubiz solution have achieved time savings of up to 40 minutes per report, and as we implement more of these features, we hope to achieve similar levels of performance.”

Increased transparency
An additional benefit is increased transparency: managers can now access all expense-related information instantly, helping them review individual claims and make decisions on how to improve efficiency for the future.

Matthias Sallat concludes: “Acubiz Expense Management is a low-impact solution that provides a more effective way to handle expense claims without having to manage and support yet another IT system. With the ‘software as a service’ model, there is no need to invest capital or sign up to long contracts – we can use the solution as much as we need, for as long as we need. As a result, we are now considering rolling out the solution to other European countries.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
IBM Domino

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2010 IBM Danmark A/S Nymoellevej 91 2800 Kgs. Lyngby Denmark Produced in Denmark February 2010 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Domino, Lotus and Notes are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Acubiz Expense Management is a product of Acubiz. IBM and Acubiz are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Acubiz makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.