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Jakoba Helps Microsoft Reduce Operational Expenses and Simultaneously Improve Customer Service for Accounts Payable

Situation

As a company with over 90,000 employees, Microsoft needs a robust support infrastructure to enable employees to update purchase orders and invoices. In the past, a large team of Accounts Payable and Buy Center agents would react to change requests sent in from employees from around the world via email. After an exchange of multiple emails clarifying the request and finalizing the details of the change with an employee, the agent would update the financial information directly in Microsoft’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

The nature of the truly global business, the sheer number of requests coming in, incremental process changes, and systems updates all contributed to time delays and unhappy internal customers.

Challenge

Microsoft needed to simultaneously streamline its business support operations for financial instruments while also improving internal customer service. The business support agents processed 1000s of transactions per month with a typical transaction taking 2+ days to complete and significant involvement from the agent and the employee who requested the change.

Microsoft approved Jakoba to help build a comprehensive business support portal, called Customer Inquiry Management (CIM) Portal to reduce the overall support costs and the overall time to complete support requests.

Approach

The Jakoba team, working in a solution deliver capacity, clarified the business drivers for the initiative and defined the project’s success metrics for each set of stakeholders. Jakoba worked with end users, Microsoft IT, and leaders of Microsoft’s Account Payable, Buy Center, and Financial Operations to truly understand what constituted the need for change and what each stakeholder would gain from a solution.

Jakoba reviewed the existing process comprehensively and identified how introducing technology automation at multiple steps in the process could streamline the entire operation. They recommended a solution that introduced self-service for employees where appropriate, collection of relevant information up-front for employee self-help when self-service was not the answer, and proving options for internal customers to work more effectively with support agents.

Because Microsoft is in the software and service business, it was also very important for Jakoba to look to use the appropriate Microsoft technologies as part of the solution.

Solution

Jakoba, working as lead solution delivery on the project, built a solution that included:

  • A self-service, user-friendly portal that employees access to update multiple fields on purchase orders and invoices directly, and have those changes automatically reflected in Microsoft’s ERP system. This reduced the overall process time, improved internal customer service, and completely bypassed the need for human intervention of agents for certain transactions.
  • A method for employees to submit the initial requests to agents with the required information to reduce the 2+ days of email exchanges that was previously required.
  • A robust self-help tool that answered routine process questions posed by employees. This significantly reduced the overall volume of transactions for the business support agents.
  • A chat function within the portal that enables employees to contact support agents directly
  • A custom-built chat management tool that agents use to queue requests from employees and directly update and track the status of transactions in Microsoft’s internal CRM tool
  • A notification engine to inform employees of their outstanding confirmation of receipts and accruals and the self-update tools for employees to perform the appropriate transactions.
  • A comprehensive reporting platform that is used to understand transaction volumes and trends through the CIM portal.
Technologies Used
  • Microsoft SharePoint for the employee user interface
  • SAP and Duet to enable self-service updates from SharePoint directly into SAP
  • Microsoft Lync for the chat functions
  • Microsoft CRM so agents can update tickets directly from Lync chat windows
Results

TThe CIM Portal is an overwhelming success for Microsoft. In the space of two years, the CIM Portal:

  • Was able to process over 550,000 transactions that all would have gone through a manual process prior to the CIM portal being available.
  • Enabled a total of over 3,000 work days to be saved by agents to process and/or respond to transaction requests from employees

These results represented a significant time savings for the Accounts Payable and Buy Center agents, as well as a dramatic increase in customer service levels for employees who needed their financial documents updated. According to Salvador Segura, Microsoft’s Director of IT Solution Management for Financial Services, “Jakoba’s help in defining and building our CIM Portal was invaluable. CIM is an unqualified success story for Microsfot. Not only is the CIM Portal a great showcase of the power of using the Microsoft stack of technologies to solve critical business needs, but with the time savings we recognized from it we’re much better positioned to effectively deploy out resources.”

Contact Jakoba (www.jakoba.com) today to see how we can help you achieve similar results for your project.

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Phone: 206-706-1600