Being digital is now part of everyday life, the ability to do things on the go and or without having to visit a physical building makes life simpler. So much so that we often take for granted how technology has impacted us making the most mundane tasks quick and easy.
Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) understand this need and are implementing a Digital Strategy (2018-2023) based around the principle of ‘Doing things differently, doing things digitally’. The Strategy points out that ‘Digital isn’t just about developing digital services nor doing ICT projects better; it’s about doing and thinking about things differently in response to customer and user needs and expectations.’
The first step on their digital journey was to re-evaluate the current employee expense process. Although people had gotten used to the existing process, it was either not viewed positively, or people didn’t realise there was a better way of doing things and therefore accepted the status quo.
The advantage of picking this as an initial target for digitalisation, was that it touched many people within the organisation so any positive changes here would have wide ranging benefits across the council. It was also a relatively simple change with a solid ROI. SAP Concur and GCC started to look at a potential change, undertaking a process of discovery to establish what the existing process looked like, where the pain points were and identify where improvements could be made. As part of this process, both parties also worked together on a business case that could be used to justify the move to a new process.
Some of the pain points weren’t obvious until the investigation took place but in summary they were:
- An existing process that was viewed as outdated and cumbersome
- Too much time was wasted compiling claims and getting them approved
- Employees travelling to the office specifically to submit claims
- Poor support for mobile workers and being able to submit expenses ‘on the go’
- Slow re-imbursement of claims
- High level of manual entry and submission of paper receipts introduced a high error rate
- Poor visibility of spend across the organisation
- Low level of VAT reclaim
- Individual interpretation of the expense policy leading to overspend
- Poor control and governance of mileage being claimed
One of the major impacts of their current process was the amount of time being spent on admin tasks and following the processes was taking valuable resources away from providing front line services. By implementing their digital strategy GCC are removing the time-wasting elements giving time back to employees and ensuring council money is spent in the right places with a growing population and a reduction in funding this is more vital than ever.