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. Any dissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.

Business Process
Apps for Finance
and Purchasing
K2 Special Edition

by Lawrence Miller, CISSP

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition
Published by
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Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
About This Book......................................................................... 2
Foolish Assumptions.................................................................. 2
Icons Used in This Book............................................................. 3
Beyond the Book......................................................................... 3
Where to Go from Here.............................................................. 3

Chapter 1: Recognizing How Workflows and Forms


Drive Efficiency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Understanding the Cost of Business Process
Inefficiency............................................................................... 5
Automating Workflows to Increase Efficiency........................ 7

Chapter 2: Finance Process Improvements


That Save Time and Money. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Building Better Budgets........................................................... 14
Managing Expense Claims....................................................... 14
Facilitating Audits..................................................................... 15
Ensuring Compliance................................................................ 16
Processing Invoices.................................................................. 18

Chapter 3: Purchasing Process Improvements for


Every Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Managing RFQs.......................................................................... 21
Authorizing Expenditures........................................................ 22
Managing Contracts.................................................................. 24
Managing Vendor Performance and ServiceLevel
Agreements............................................................................ 25

Chapter 4: DIY ProcessBased Workflows. . . . . . . . . . . 27


Is Your IT Development Backlog Holding You Back?........... 27
Overhauling Your Workflows for the Mobile Age................. 28
Demand meets modernization...................................... 29
Empowering mobile users............................................. 31
Automating workflows to increase efficiency............. 31
Building Business Apps that Transform Finance
andPurchasing...................................................................... 32
Future Proofing with Scalable Apps You Can
Build Yourself........................................................................ 34
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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

Chapter 5: Building the Business Case for Process


Transformation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Focusing on Revenue Growth Opportunities........................ 37
Improving Planning with Better Financial Insights............... 38
Aligning Processes Throughout Your Organization for
Operational Excellence........................................................ 39

Chapter 6: Ten Keys for Transforming


Business Processes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Empower Users with Easy, DoItYourself Tools.................. 41
Automate Manual, ErrorProne Processes............................ 41
Go Beyond Process Automation with Process
Improvement......................................................................... 42
Integrate Seamlessly with Existing Systems and
Reusable Components.......................................................... 42
Deliver Information at the Point of Need............................... 43
Enable Advanced Analytics and Reporting........................... 43
Drive Change with Flexibility and Agility............................... 43
Balance Power and Simplicity................................................. 43
Provide Secure Mobile Access to Forms,
Workflows, and Data............................................................. 44
Measure and Report Your Results.......................................... 44

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Introduction

o be successful today, businesses must adapt faster to


increasing competition and do even more with less less
time and fewer resources. Core finance and purchasing processes are a key area in which business processes can often
be easily automated to facilitate greater operational efficiencies and better decision making throughout the organization.
In a world in which speed matters, businesses need agility
and flexibility to quickly modify their processes and business
practices in order to stay competitive. Traditionally, large
companies have hampered process agility by locking themselves into monolithic systems, processes, and workflows.
Different business process management (BPM) suites have
unique strengths and weaknesses. However, a common weakness among many BPM solutions is the lack of agility. Highly
skilled developers and months (or even years) of coding are
typically required to build and customize business applications. By the time an application is delivered, the business
process may have changed, requiring further tweaking of the
application and many more months of development time. As a
result, businesses are stuck with outdated and inflexible applications and processes.
The rapid pace of modernization and evolving customer
expectations are increasingly driving organizations toward
business process transformation in the quest to achieve process excellence. Lowcode business process apps solutions
enable companies to rapidly build and deploy applications
that are customized to meet their unique business needs.
Unlike traditional BPM options, the opportunities to transform
quickly and immediately realize the benefits are greater with
lowcode business process apps solutions.
Choosing the right solution for business process transformation will provide easy access to information and quantifiable
results, and choosing a solution that is agile, scalable, and
powerful will give your business the tools it needs to stay
ahead in a highly competitive market.

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

About This Book


This book explains how automated business workflows and
forms help drive efficiency (Chapter1); explores different
finance and purchasing use cases (Chapters2 and3, respectively); describes how to build automated, processbased
workflows without being a developer (Chapter4); examines
how businesses can use a single workflow solution across the
entire organization (Chapter5); and provides key criteria to
help you evaluate business process apps solutions for your
organization (Chapter6).

Foolish Assumptions
It has been said that most assumptions have outlived their
uselessness, but I assume a few things nonetheless.
Mainly, I assume that youre a finance or purchasing manager,
working for a small or medium business, or perhaps a large
enterprise. Therefore, I wrote this book primarily for nontechnical readers. But please dont be discouraged from reading
this book if you happen to be technical you can still gain
a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities
that other departments in your company are focused on, and
how to improve support for your peers in other departments
throughout the company.
I also assume that youre looking for a solution to help you
automate critical business forms and workflow processes in
your organization to radically improve your core finance and
purchasing processes, and you dont particularly want to
become a software developer. You need a solution thats as
easy as draganddrop so that you can get up and running as
quickly as possible, without adding to the workload of your
heavily backlogged IT application development teams.
If these assumptions describe you, this book is for you!

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Introduction

Icons Used in This Book


Throughout this book, I occasionally use special icons to call
attention to important information. Heres what to expect:
This icon points out information that you should commit to
your nonvolatile memory, your gray matter, or your noggin
along with anniversaries and birthdays.
You wont find a map of the human genome here, but if you
seek to attain the seventh level of NERDvana, perk up! This
icon explains the jargon beneath the jargon.
Thank you for reading; hope you enjoy the book; please take
care of your writers! Seriously, this icon points out helpful
suggestions and useful nuggets of information.
This icon points out the stuff your mother warned you about.
Okay, probably not. But you should take heed nonetheless
you might just save yourself some time and frustration.

Beyond the Book


I can cover only so much in 48 short pages, so if you find yourself at the end of this book thinking Gosh, this was an amazing book, where can I learn more? just go to www.k2.com.

Where to Go from Here


With my apologies to Lewis Carroll, Alice, and the Cheshire cat:
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from
here?
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said
the Cat er, the Dummies Man.
I dont much care where... said Alice.
Then it doesnt matter which way you go!

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

Thats certainly true of Business Process Apps for Finance and


Purchasing For Dummies, which, like Alice in Wonderland, is
also destined to become a timeless classic.
If you dont know where youre going, any chapter will get
you there but Chapter1 might be a good place to start.
However, if you see a particular topic that piques your interest, feel free to jump ahead to that chapter. Each chapter is
individually wrapped (but not packaged for individual sale)
and written to stand on its own, so feel free to start reading
anywhere and skip around to your hearts content. Read this
book in any order that suits you (though I dont recommend
upside down or backwards).
I promise you wont get lost falling down the rabbit hole!

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Chapter1

Recognizing How
Workflows and Forms Drive
Efficiency
In This Chapter
Eliminating bottlenecks and costly errors in core business processes
Moving beyond manual, paperbased workflows and forms

n this chapter, you explore the benefits of automating your


processbased workflows and forms. You also learn how a
business process apps solution can help you quickly achieve
business agility through process automation and excellence.

Understanding the Cost of


Business Process Inefficiency
Process bottlenecks and costly errors often result from inefficient and manual workflows and paperbased forms. Realtime
access to the right information at the point of need is critical for maintaining accuracy and efficiency in transactional
processes. For example, without uptodate account information, a customers purchase order may be delayed while your
accounts receivable team verifies that the customers account
is current and has sufficient credit available for the purchase.
Manual, paperbased processes or complex and inflexible
business applications inevitably slow many finance and
purchasing processes to an unacceptable pace in todays

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

modern, connected, and highly competitive business environment. For example, a paperbased invoice approval process
might require a lineofbusiness (LOB) manager to be in the
office to review an invoice and match it to a budget authorization (conveniently saved as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet on
the managers network home drive) and a paperbased purchase order. Next, the manager needs to code the invoice to a
general ledger account. (The most commonly used accounts
for the department are, of course, listed on a sticky note
taped to the managers monitor.)
Frustrated by inefficient workflows and processes, employees
are increasingly using their own devices and downloading
their own applications (apps) to get work done. The modern
worker is tech savvy and finds ways to work around infrastructure limitations and rigid, outdated processes.
According to Gartner (www.gartner.com), a digital workplace leverages the technical literacy of crossgeneration
employees Millennials, Gen Xers, and even Baby
Boomers to
Enable new and more effective ways of working
Improve employee engagement and agility
Exploit consumeroriented styles and technologies
International Data Group (IDG, www.idg.com) reports
that businesses expect the consumerization of IT in the
enterprise to improve user satisfaction and productivity,
process efficiency, collaboration, and business agility. In fact,
data shows that businesses are eager to keep employees
productive wherever they go and whenever they work:
According to Manufacturing Business Technology,
55 percent of manufacturing professionals expect to
increase their use of mobile technologies (www.mbtmag.
com/news/2016/02/surveymajoritymanu
facturersplanbolstermobileappuse).
According to Workflow Magazine, 74 percent of businesses that deploy mobile devices are motivated by a
need to accelerate communication, and 63 percent of
businesses deploy mobile devices to let employees work
away from their desks (IT Managers Views on Mobile
Tech and Workflow, September 2014).

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Chapter1: Recognizing How Workflows and Forms Drive Efficiency

Modern business apps must do more than simply enable


employees to read and reply to emails from their mobile
devices. They must be able to seamlessly complete routine
tasks whether in the office or in the field for everything
from processing invoices and issuing purchase orders to
complex process management and sophisticated financial
analysis.

Automating Workflows to
Increase Efficiency
Almost every part of a successful business relies on having
the right information available to the right person at the right
time. Nevertheless, information flow is often hindered by
Manual, paperbased business processes that are outdated, inefficient, and inflexible
Disparate LOB systems such as customer relationship
management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning
(ERP) which store critical information in isolated silos
and are difficult to customize, integrate, and use (and
you can forget about mobile access!)
A business can only go as far and as fast as the information
that powers it.
Consider the example of the customer purchase order
delayed by manual verification processes, described earlier
in this chapter. A more efficient, automated process might
instead pull information from your ERP system in real time as
a sales order is being created. This process can verify that an
account is current and has sufficient credit available, allowing the sales order to be immediately created or the request
automatically routed to the appropriate parties to resolve any
discrepancies.
Manual, paperbased processes and monolithic business
systems simply cant keep pace with the modern digital workplace and economy. Already, employees and consumers are
looking elsewhere. For example, IDG reports that 79 percent
of employees use cloudbased file sharing and collaboration
tools, such as Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive, for workrelated

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

purposes. Similarly, Internet Retailer (www.internet


retailer.com) estimated that total ecommerce sales in
2015 exceeded $350 billion with mobile commerce accounting for 30 percent of that total. Consumers are increasingly
doing more of their business online.
Organizations clearly understand the benefits of automating
key business processes. According to a study by Cognizants
Center for the Future of Work:
Businesses are automating 25 to 40 percent of their
workflows.
Businesses that automate processes are reducing costs
by 15 percent year over year.
Half the businesses surveyed anticipated that automation would significantly improve their business processes
within three to five years.
Wait a second! Three to five years to see the return on investment (ROI) for automation? Thats way too long in todays
competitive business environment. Unfortunately, many
businesses are frequently frustrated by the large capital
investments and long payback periods associated with the
development of custom workflows and forms to support automation. Those costs can be especially discouraging for businesses that want to extend workflows to their mobile users.
Automated workflows and forms can transform a business
into a more productive, responsive environment, but those
business apps need to accommodate rapidly changing business and customer needs, a mobile workforce, and disparate
LOB systems. In a recent survey, industry analyst IDC (www.
idc.com) found that large organizations that automated their
manual, errorprone processes experienced an average ROI of
537 percent.
Modern business apps that support critical workflows and
forms must be
Automated
Scalable
Flexible
Fast to implement

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Chapter1: Recognizing How Workflows and Forms Drive Efficiency

Paperbased workflows are typically fast and easy to implement but do not scale well and are, by their nature, manual
(see Figure11).
Many businesses buy or build oneoff custom apps for
specific business workflows. Although such solutions can be
highly automated, they are not easily modified, do not scale
well, can take months or even years to implement, and can be
prohibitively expensive to develop and maintain.

Figure 1-1:Businessworkflow traits.

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

A business process apps solution provides automation,


scalability, flexibility, and agility to support, optimize, and
transform critical business processes. Such a solution can be
implemented quickly and easily without specialized application development skills to help your organization realize a
significant ROI from your automation initiatives more quickly.

Dalkia automates PO process


to improve efficiency and
customerservice
Dalkia, a division of the Veolia
Environment Group, is a leading provider of energy services in Europe.
In Slovakia, the company supplies
heating systems and energy for commercial and domestic properties.
Dalkia issues 10,000 to 12,000 purchase orders (POs) every year, for
everything from company vehicles
to tiny valves for heating units.
However, the companys manual
processes for creating, authorizing,
and managing POs were inefficient
and created several challenges.
First, the process took too long.
Employees had to print a form, manually fill in details of what they wanted
to purchase, and physically take the
document to the appropriate managers for approval. Between two
and five different signatures were
required on each PO form, depending on the value of the item to be
purchased.
After a form had all the necessary
signatures, someone had to retype
it into the companys Microsoft
Dynamics enterprise resource plan-

ning (ERP) system. As a result, POs


frequently took a week or longer to
be created, approved, and issued.
The second challenge was more
troublesome. With the existing process, engineers could unknowingly
create POs for parts that had been
discontinued, or get a digit wrong in
a part number, causing the incorrect
part to be delivered. If the component
was required for a specific repair or
installation project at a commercial
or domestic property, these errors
caused costly delays and poor customer service.
Solution
Working with K2, K2 partner
GRADIENT Slovakia (w w w .
gradientecm.com), and other
thirdparty suppliers, Dalkia Group in
Slovakia designed and implemented
a number of automated K2 workflows. Chief among these applications was a new PO management
process, which was tightly integrated with Microsofts SharePoint,
Dynamics ERP, and Active Directory
systems.

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Chapter1: Recognizing How Workflows and Forms Drive Efficiency

The first and most evident benefit that Dalkia experienced was
dramatic process acceleration.
Employees now enter their purchase
requirements into an electronic
form, which is then automatically
routed to the correct managers for
digital authorization. No one needs
to reenter information because all
data in approved PO forms passes
directly into the companys central
ERP system.
It used to take around a week for
POs to be raised [issued], said Filip
Legny, IT project manager at Dalkia
in Slovakia. If everyone is at his or
her desk, the approval of a PO can
now be achieved in as little as 10
minutes.
The most significant benefit of the K2
workflow is the improvement in customer service. When engineers fill in
PO request forms electronically, they
are given a dropdown box showing
approved components and products,
and the correct part numbers are
automatically applied. Therefore,
items can be sourced more accurately, enabling customer projects to
go ahead on schedule.
In addition, the company expects
to save money from the use of K2
processes. The K2 solution provides
purchasing managers with a clear
overview of all POs issued. They can
easily see which products or parts

11

are requested most frequently and


then negotiate bulk purchasing deals
with suppliers. In this way, Dalkia
can optimize its stock and operate
more cost efficiently.
Previously, when engineers created POs for equipment, they didnt
always know exactly which parts
Dalkia already had in its inhouse
stockrooms. So they could waste
time and money creating a PO for a
specific heat pump when a similar
heat pump (perhaps from a different
supplier with a different part number)
might already be available on the
shelf. K2 gives engineers stock visibility and encourages them to use
parts already available, rather than
make oneoff purchases at a higher
unit cost.
Now, it is much easier for engineers
to see what items are in stock. That
saves us money and enables us to
deliver better services to our customers, Legny said. Definitely,
our engineers can arrive at our customer sites with the right parts more
quickly.
Following the successful application
of K2 in this area, Dalkia is now considering rolling out similar K2driven
processes.
Other businesses have similar
problems to us; K2 could meet their
needs, too, Legny said.

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Chapter2

Finance Process
Improvements That Save
Time and Money
In This Chapter
Giving budget owners the complete picture
Processing expense claims more efficiently
Working with auditors and regulators
Automating the invoicing process

ithin the finance department, organizations face more


pressure than ever to identify gaps in their financial
framework to better manage budgets and costs. Enterprise
accounting and finance systems help, but they are built to
handle largescale processes and are not flexible enough to
handle exceptions or the more granular processes without
customization. Leveraging the data in enterprise accounting
and finance systems for performance tracking and analysis
can also be difficult and cumbersome.
In this chapter, you explore how a business process apps
solution can help you maintain better control of your financial
operations by incorporating your lineofbusiness (LOB) data
into customized applications composed of forms, workflows,
and reports that can be built without code and span your
cloud and onpremises systems.

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

Building Better Budgets


Accurate budgeting is vital to the success of any organization, but analyzing information across disparate systems for
informed decision making can be difficult.
A business process apps solution can incorporate information scattered across your LOB systems into a single view to
provide budget owners with a complete picture of the information they need to make wellinformed estimates and recommendations.

Managing Expense Claims


Ensuring that expense claims are in compliance with company
policies and authorized by the right people can be challenging
without the right software to help.
A business process apps solution makes this important
function simple through automated workflows and reports
that allow you to track, collaborate, and evaluate trends on
expense claims for faster processing and better projections.

Nandos serves up success with new K2


business applications
Nandos operates 286 restaurants
across the U.K., from Aberdeen,
Scotland, to Southampton, England.
The first Nandos restaurant was
established in the U.K. in 1992. Since
then, the company has enjoyed exceptional success, opening many new
restaurants every year. Its sustained
business growth was, however, starting to place a strain on the companys
existing manual processes.
Nandos finance department handles
4,000 to 6,000 invoices every month in
the U.K. Before they could be paid, all

these invoices had to be allocated to


specific cost centers and authorized
by different people within the business, including individual restaurant
managers based at locations across
the country.
We recognized that this core business process could be improved
through the use of an automated
workflow, said Juan Louw, applications manager at Nandos.
The companys expense process
was similarly in need of automation.

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Chapter2: Finance Process Improvements That Save Time and Money

Employees had to print an expense


form, fill it in, get it authorized by their
manager, and post it to the finance
department. The finance team then
had to retype the information into the
system. The entire process was very
slow, and errors often occurred in
expense forms that took a long time
to manually correct.
Solution
Nandos used K2 to develop 12 separate workflows, which predominantly
support the companys invoice and
expensemanagement processes.
Today, when invoices are received,
the finance team enters them into the
central finance system and allocates
them to the relevant cost centers.
Each invoice is then automatically
directed to the people who need
to authorize it, and managers can
either reject or approve it. Invoices
for maintenance activities at restaurants are forwarded to the restaurant
manager so that the manager can
verify that work has been completed
satisfactorily.

15

The invoicing process is, therefore,


not only faster but also more meticulously administered to improve financial control.
We dont make payments for work
that is incomplete, Louw said.
With the new K2 expense applications, employees fill in claims forms
electronically. These forms are then
automatically sent to the appropriate line managers for authorization
before being passed directly to the
finance team.
The automated process saves a
great deal of time in the finance
department because information
doesnt have to be typed into the system, and fewer human errors occur.
We used to wait three to four weeks
for expense claims to be settled,
Louw said. Now we receive payments weekly.
As the company continues to grow,
we will be able to process a larger
number of invoices and expense
claims each month.

Facilitating Audits
Audits are the bane of every finance organizations existence,
and manual, paperbased processes exacerbate the experience. Digging through file rooms and bankers boxes to find
the information that your auditors need is time consuming
and frustrating. It can also negatively impact your auditors
overall impression of your finance organization and ultimately
affect your audit assessment. And, of course, the time your
auditors spend onsite waiting for your accounting team to
find and produce needed documentation is billable!

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A business process apps solution can provide complete


visibility into business processes and deliver reporting
capabilities that create a full audit trail and allow you to
archive data even after a workflow has been deleted. Having
important financial information readily available in a central
electronic repository helps your accounting team to prepare
for and support audits much more easily and your auditors
to complete their assessment less expensively.

Ensuring Compliance
According to a report in 2015 by CFO magazine (http://
ww2.cfo.com/auditing/2015/05/soxcompliance
gettingcostly/), 67 percent of respondents in a Protiviti
survey reported an increase in hours dedicated to Sarbanes
Oxley (SOX) compliance, and 58 percent of large companies
in the survey spent more than $1 million on SOX compliance
over that year.

TransLink overhauls enterprise capital


processes, ensuring governance,
speed, and visibility
The South Coast British Columbia
Transportation Authority (TransLink)
is Metro Vancouvers regional
transportation authority, providing
service to 21 municipalities situated
on 2,000 square kilometers of British
Columbias southwestern mainland.
TransLink manages a capital program exceeding $250 million per
year. More than 250 capital requesters, reviewers, and approvers
including project implementation
groups and operating s ubsidiaries
comprise a capital portfolio of
approximately 125 concurrent capital
projects under challenging financial
constraints. Staff at all levels of the

company from administrative


support personnel to executive and
board members collaborate on
all aspects of the capital project life
cycle. Almost 100 new capital projects or change proposals are submitted annually for consideration and
approval. TransLink also has approximately 2,000 purchase order requisitions and 25,000 invoice submissions
that need to be processed every year.
Manual processes and reliance on
paper documentation were leading
to delays, lack of visibility, and an
increased risk for lost information.
TransLink wanted to ensure that
pieces of work didnt fall behind and

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Chapter2: Finance Process Improvements That Save Time and Money

that bottlenecks were being identified and addressed.


TransLinks objective was to
increase efficiency across its large
enterprise, raising both the transparency of the process and the accountability of everyone who takes part
in it. But with no consistent document version control and no central
repository for completed documents,
collaboration across the enterprise
in a virtual team environment was
extremely challenging for project
managers and sponsors. Significant
manual effort was spent reentering
various data points across multiple
disparate systems, which led to data
entry errors, lack of automatic validation, and long cycle times.
Solution
Dynamic Management Solutions, a
trusted K2 Partner in Vancouver, collaborated with TransLink throughout
the initiative and designed, built, and
deployed 11 K2 applications that
automated the entire capital project
life cycle from project initiation to
closure.
Cathy McLay, CFO and executive
vice president, TransLink Finance
and Corporate Services, sponsored
the project, in which the following K2
applications were deployed:
Capital development: Capital
approval in principal submissions, capital approval in principal authorizations, specific
project approvals, project
change authorizations

17

Capital asset cost control: Asset


capitalizations, capital project
closeout
Purchase order requisitioning
Supplier management: Supplier
performance reviews, corrective action request management
Invoice submission
Progress draw payments
These applications not only reduced
the overall cycle time per process
but also created a collaboration portal and document repository by taking advantage of TransLinks existing
SharePoint platform.
The solutions integrate with
TransLinks LOB systems, provide
extensive capabilities to report on
process bottlenecks, allow users to
quickly and efficiently view the status of a particular submission, and
support collaboration through easy
touse eforms.
Through new administrative consistencies, centralization, improved
reporting, and process integration,
TransLink expects to save more than
$330K in the first year and every year
after.
The ongoing financial and collaboration benefits of the Enterprise Capital
Process Workflow System are
expected to be significantly larger
than the initial onetime and ongoing
costs. The custom solution streamlines TransLinks processes, brings
together all operating entities, and
unifies hundreds of people.

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A business process apps solution can help you stay in compliance with SOX requirements by making sure that processes
and businesscritical decisions are sent to the right people,
at the right time. You can automate the SOX compliance life
cycle with forms and workflows that reduce compliance costs
and simplify SOX requirements by centralizing compliance
data, capturing full audit trails, and automating and speeding
up approval cycles. To that end, the Protiviti survey found
that 58 percent of large companies surveyed had significant
plans to automate more of their IT processes and controls.

Processing Invoices
Paper invoicing is inefficient and error prone. In addition to
their mail handling and dataentry activities and costs, paper
invoices must be manually crossreferenced and compared to
a purchase order or contract to verify accuracy. Invoices may
also require multiple levels of approval, and sending a paper
invoice manually from desk to desk via interoffice mail can
take weeks, further delaying payment of the invoice. Delays
such as these can be costly in terms of late fees and vendor
relationships.
A business process apps solution can automate, simplify, and
accelerate your invoicing process through automated workflows and approval processes. The solution can reference and
scan paper invoices can be on receipt, and then attach them
to electronic forms that route invoices to the right people for
authorization and systems so that each invoice is correctly
classified, validated, and safely stored in the system of record.
After the right people approve the invoices, the information
is then sent to a financial system for payment. An automated
system such as this can reduce invoice processing time from
weeks to days or even hours.

Business process automation with K2


solutions is solid gold for Kinross
Kinross Gold Corporation is the third
largest gold producer in Canada.
With mining operations spanning the
globe, Kinross manages more than

$1 billion in capital requests each


year. Previously, these requests
were managed entirely by a manual
process, which resulted in delays,

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Chapter2: Finance Process Improvements That Save Time and Money

duplication, chasing after signatures,


and much frustration.
The first attempt by Kinross to automate the capital request process
consisted of a hardcoded custom
.NET solution. Although this solution
improved traceability, it provided little flexibility, was entirely sequential,
and offered none of the critical business process management (BPM)
functionality that Kinross needed.
Describing the custom .NET solution,
Chris Fraidakis, Kinross program manager, explains that it was extremely
difficult to manage and support,
costing thousands to develop basic
functionality or to implement simple
changes. Whats more, it was very
frustrating for the users who could
not perform simple things like viewing their tasks or approving things
while on the go. The thought of trying to automate any other processes
seemed very daunting.
Solution
With a strong intranet program
based on Microsoft SharePoint taking shape, Kinross looked to several
ecosystem providers to help fill the
need for a robust BPM solution.
In the end, K2 was the most feature
rich and costeffective solution, and
they had the strongest implementation partners, Fraidakis said.

19

Working with K2 partner Caprivi


Solutions, Kinross has developed
many business applications without
the time and cost associated with
custom code.
Starting with the capital expenditure process, we transformed a
15step sequential approval to a
threetier parallel process that handles every step, from the mines to the
board of directors, said Fabio Casti,
Principal, Caprivi Solutions. With
our agile methodology, weve also
allowed Kinross to go beyond the
basics to include postinvestment
reviews, integration with enterprise
resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence (BI) solutions, and
health and safety checklists.
Users love the ability to complete
their tasks on the go from any mobile
device, Casti said. This is a key
feature for a company that travels
extensively and another process we
have since helped to automate.
With this success, Kinross has since
automated more than a dozen processes, with many more planned.
It has gone viral, Fraidakis said.
With every new application we
release, we get more requests from
other mines and departments asking
if we could do the same for them.

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Chapter3

Purchasing Process
Improvements for
Every Company
In This Chapter
Using automated templates to create RFQs
Issuing purchase orders
Managing contract development, renewals, and cancellations
Ensuring vendor performance and SLA compliance

anaging purchasing processes, contracts, and vendor


performance are important purchasing department
functions that often lack efficient, automated processes and
workflows.
In this chapter, you explore purchasing processbased workflows and forms that can be automated with a business
process apps solution.

Managing RFQs
A request for quotation (RFQ) is often used to invite potential vendors or suppliers to submit a bid or sales quote for
a specific product or service required by an organization.
When RFQ responses are received from competing vendors,
a paperbased or email copy of each vendors response may
be routed throughout your organization for review. After a

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inning quote is selected, the different vendors are notified of


w
the outcome, often via email.
A business process automation solution can help you
manage your RFQ selection workflow by routing vendors
RFQ responses to the appropriate parties within your organization for review and comment. After you select a vendor,
you can use the solution to notify each vendor of the outcome.

Authorizing Expenditures
The purchasing process in any organization can be a time
consuming process that introduces many opportunities for
inefficiencies, errors, risk, and mismanagement. Delays can
be costly in terms of missed promotional opportunities or
discounts, or in terms of higher prices because of expedited purchase requests that languished through a lengthy
approval process. Errors on paperbased purchase order
forms may not be detected until a product is received, requiring rework and additional processing, causing further delays,
and potentially incurring additional costs such as return
freight and restocking fees. Also, unauthorized spending can
cost businesses thousands of dollars each year.

RGE achieves greater efficiency and


faster approval times with K2
Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) manages
a group of worldclass companies
specializing in resourcebased
manufacturing and is supported
by a workforce of more than 50,000
people. The assets held by RGE companies today exceed US $15 billion.
RGEs corporate offices faced
challenges related to administrative efficiency, relying heavily on
the use of physical copies of forms
and signatures. Approvals of various corporate forms from legal,

IT, and finance and accounting


departments, as well as the corporate investment proposal form (or
CAPEX form), took around three to
five months because key approving
officers who travel frequently were
unable to immediately access and
sign these forms.
CAPEX approvals are essential
for any project to commence (for
example, equipment repair and tender submission), so these delays had
negative, businesswide impacts.

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Chapter3: Purchasing Process Improvements for Every Company

Solution
RGE recognized that workflow efficiency is key to overall business optimization and employee satisfaction.
After evaluating a few options, K2
was chosen as the best fit because
of its strong workflow engine and
the fact that no additional coding
was required. This would enhance
RGEs overall IT productivity because
technical staff with no programming
background could build extensive
workflows.
Averis, RGEs IT organization,
replaced the manual CAPEX form
with an online approval system
built using K2 SmartForms, effectively digitizing the entire process.
Development for the pilot phase
began in December 2014 at Asia
Pacific Resources International
Holdings Ltd (APRIL), RGEs pulp and
paper manufacturer in Indonesia.
Within six months, it went live for 300
APRIL employees.
The creation of forms through K2
required a team of users who could
logically operationalize existing processes using the softwares features.
It allowed this team to focus more on
higherlevel and longerterm business

23

needs, which included understanding


user requirements, Smart Objects, the
database layer, and the overall workflow of triggering forms.
After using K2 to design and implement the forms and workflows, RGE
experienced a significant improvement in the turnaround time for
approvals.
The online CAPEX system allows
email approvals via computers and
mobile devices, making it more convenient for executives to approve
forms on the go. With no more
paperwork, administrative tracking,
or delays to CAPEX approval, work
on projects can start quickly. This
is recognized by RGE to increase
competitive advantage and business
agility while preventing potential
business losses.
Staff collaboration has improved as
well. The online CAPEX form has a
consult feature through which
an employee can request guidance from colleagues outside the
approval chain. With all the information being captured in the form at
every stage, there is full transparency and traceability throughout the
organization.

A business process apps solution can eliminate unauthorized


spending through automated workflows that control capital
budgets and expenditures and that provide full visibility into
processes. A flexible rules framework lets you define rules,
such as how much one individual can approve before additional authorization is required.

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Managing Contracts
Contract management is an important purchasing/procurement
function. A business process apps solution can help ensure
that contracts are reviewed in a timely manner, through automated alerts and approvals that notify the appropriate parties
when a contract is up for renewal or needs to be cancelled and
then keep the contract moving until the renewal or cancellation
process is complete.
A contract that is simply updated and modified slightly for different customers or clients can lead to costly errors and omissions. Also, it can potentially cause legal issues resulting from
privacy or nondisclosure violations.
A business process apps solution can help you manage your
contracts with templates that prompt users to complete
custom fields in the contract document. You can also manage
different document versions, facilitate and automate review
cycles and approval processes, and make sure that each contract is automatically routed to the right person with the right
information and at the right time. Often, this is where contract
management falls apart. The contract management process
ends with one of the parties having to print dozens of pages
for manual signing. Integrating your contract management
process with a digital signature provider, such as DocuSign,
helps to ensure an efficient contract management process
from beginning to end.

Mobinil accelerates internal processes


by up to 90 percent with K2
Mobinil is the leading mobile services operator in Egypt. With more
than 30 million customers, it offers
mobile signal coverage for more
than 99 percent of the Egyptian
population.
Mobinil relied on a number of traditional paperbased processes and

suffered from all the usual challenges that this creates.


We experienced unnecessary
delays, inconsistencies, lost approvals, and a lack of governance,
explained Amir Salah, head of business solutions at Mobinil. With
our more complex processes, the

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Chapter3: Purchasing Process Improvements for Every Company

c hallenges were even worse. So, we


had to adopt a new strategy for business process management.
Solution
Mobinil selected K2 blackpearl
because it met the companys three
primary requirements. Recalling the
companys thorough evaluation of
several potential solutions, Salah
said: First, K2 blackpearl was a
wellknown, proven technology; second, K2 came out on top for value for
money; and finally, K2 could provide
local support, which was very important for us.
The company used K2 blackpearl to
automate and simplify the creation
and amendment of contracts. Many
different contracts are in use across
the business, and K2 ensures that
employees select the correct version

25

every time and then submit it to the


right people for authorization.
Mobinils employees used to spend
two to three months finalizing new
or amended contracts; now, the
majority are completed in just 15 to
30 days. The improvement in our
contracts process is awesome,
commented Salah. The gains in productivity were immediately observed
by the companys senior managers in
almost all departments.
Through its use of K2, Mobinil has
also been able to improve the governance and management of its
processes. Managers can see what
stage contracts are at, at any time,
without having to make lots of phone
calls to different departments. And
now an electronic record exists of
all approvals.

Managing Vendor Performance


and ServiceLevel Agreements
Ensuring that your approved vendors perform as required is
an important purchasing function. A business process apps
solution that integrates with lineofbusiness (LOB) systems
and enterprise business applications helps ensure that purchasing managers have access to realtime data in order to
better manage vendor performance. Examples of this data
might include order history, pricing and discount levels, on
time delivery performance, and issue tracking and resolution,
among others.
In addition, servicelevel agreements (SLAs) need to be regularly reviewed for SLA violations and enforced when the
need arises. Many service vendors post SLA updates on their
websites and dont always announce important changes.

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

Abusiness process apps solution can help you ensure that


you always have the latest online SLAs from all your vendors,
and automatically notify you when SLA exceptions or violations occur, which may require action on your part, such as
requesting a credit or other SLA remedy.

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Chapter4

DIY ProcessBased
Workflows
In This Chapter
Leveraging talent throughout the digital workplace
Supporting employees anywhere and on any device
Transforming key processes with the business apps panacea
Replacing shadow IT applications and processes with scalable

solutions

n this chapter, you explore how a doityourself (DIY)


business process apps solution can help jumpstart your
process improvement and process excellence initiatives.

Is Your IT Development Backlog


Holding You Back?
Many businesses have traditionally viewed application development as an IT function. However, todays digital workplace
and fastpaced global economy (see Chapter1) requires businesses to leverage an everexpanding base of individual technical skills throughout the organization.
The reality is that IT department resources are seriously constrained and can become bottlenecks for process improvement and process excellence initiatives. Many IT departments
are locked into rigid software development life cycles that can
take months to deliver even relatively simple business applications. From requirements definition to coding, testing, and

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maintenance, such formal processes even those labeled


agile can be too slow and inflexible to keep up with the
dynamic and rapidly evolving needs of the business. Teams of
developers, business analysts, and project managers add to
the cost and complexity of such projects.
But what if the individual employees in various departments
throughout the organization who understand their own day
today challenges best had powerful, easytouse, dragand
drop tools that enabled them to access the data and build the
applications they need for themselves? A lowcode business
process apps solution can empower your employees to automate and optimize workflows and forms in a fraction of the
time and at a fraction of the cost required for traditional
IT development efforts. You really can do it yourself!

Overhauling Your Workflows


for the Mobile Age
Businesses today are under more pressure than ever to
identify process bottlenecks and inefficiencies, and eliminate
them through automation. To accomplish these tasks, IT and
business leaders often target manual workflows and paper
based forms because they are cumbersome, timeconsuming,
and cant easily accommodate todays mobile workforce and
mobile consumer.
Business process apps solutions can breathe new life into
tired, manual workflows. They can streamline processes
and connect disparate lineofbusiness (LOB) systems so
that employees can work smarter and perform tasks faster.
And when business applications are supported on mobile
devices, employees can work more efficiently wherever they
go. However, it can be challenging for resourceconstrained
IT departments to quickly design and update apps that work
across multiple platforms, such as desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones, among others.
IT and other departments throughout your organization can
benefit from a business process apps solution that simplifies
the design and rollout of apps for the mobile workforce.

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Chapter4: DIY ProcessBased Workflows

29

Demand meets modernization


What if an account executive needs to onboard a new customer at a sales conference, but she cant remotely access
your systems to begin the process? Her work-around is
simple: She manually uploads the forms to a cloudbased
storage service before the conference and then accesses the
form using her smartphone during the conference.
But how comfortable are you with work-arounds such as
these? Consider the following potential issues and concerns:
How long will the onboarding process be delayed until
the account executive is back in the office and able to
enter the information into your enterprise systems?
Did the account executive obtain all the required information to onboard the new customer, or will someone
have to contact the customer again?
Is your new customers sensitive information such as
a credit application, IRS Form W9, and Dun & Bradstreet
data being kept private in the cloud?
Is sensitive data on your employees smartphones
encrypted?
What happens if someone loses a smartphone?
How do you ensure policy and regulatory compliance?
How will you verify your compliance status during
audits?
Youve probably already felt the impact of similar scenarios in your organization. According to IDGs Enterprise
Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise Study 2014:
Ninety percent of employees use consumeroriented,
cloudbased services, like Skype and LinkedIn, for their
work.
Seventynine percent use cloudbased file sharing
and collaboration tools, such as Dropbox, Microsoft
SharePoint, or Microsoft OneDrive.
Forty percent of employees use their own smartphones
for work.

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The bring your own apps (BYOA) trend an extension of the


consumerization of IT and bring your own device (BYOD) is
hard evidence of what employees already know: Current business processes are not fully meeting their needs. If they were,
your employees wouldnt feel compelled to find their own
solutions from outside sources.
More and more businesses are embracing the move to a
mobile, digital work style. They need to support workers who
are on the go, working online and off. Yet many IT leaders feel
that productivity gains and other benefits of mobility remain
out of reach because outdated manual processes hinder progress toward modernization.
Many IT directors understand the complexity involved in
connecting information from critical LOB systems to mobile
workers on a variety of devices with different form factors.
According to 78 percent of business managers and executives
in a recent MIT Sloan Management Review survey, achieving
digital transformation will become critical to their organizations within the next two years. However, 63 percent said the
pace of technology change in their organization is too slow.
To automate a workflow with a custom business app, IT typically needs to devote extensive time and costly development
resources to planning, coding, testing, and rollout.

Companies embracing mobility


Mobile devices may have started as
a BYOD challenge for companies, but
they have now found a permanent
home as a productivity boost. Cloud
based storage and apps expand the
limits of what users can do with a
handheld device.
According to the Intel IT Center,
Employees report saving an average of 57 minutes a day using mobile
devices thats nearly an hour

of productivity gained each day by


simply providing a different way to
work. Think of the productivity benefits you could gain by scaling this
flexibility across your entire organization, ultimately reducing the
cost of doing business (http://
blog.azoft.com/mobile
businessprocessauto
mationwithworkflow
examples/).

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Chapter4: DIY ProcessBased Workflows

31

Empowering mobile users


Numerous workflows can be created or enhanced using
mobilecentric design principles. For example:
Accountants can automate various accounts receivable and accounts payable processes, such as customer
credit applications, account management, customer and
vendor onboarding, and invoice approval, so that LOB
managers and other department personnel can easily
complete routine finance tasks from anywhere and on
any device.
Purchasing departments can publish approved vendor
lists and catalogs for use by different departments
throughout the organization, and easily forward vendor
onboarding forms and vendor compliance guides, for
example, to potential new vendors.

Automating workflows to
increase efficiency
How can you quickly and affordably make your business
mobile? Before answering that question, consider what a
transformed, modernized business process might look like.
A modern business process app does the following:
Automates workflows and forms, increasing productivity
and reducing errors
Eliminates manual processes and costly delays
Empowers employees to work smarter and faster by providing all the information they need, in context, on any
device
Some examples of common workflows and processes that can
be easily and affordably automated with a lowcode business
process apps solution include:
Account management: Get a complete view of customer
information and bring the right people, approach, and
solutions together to better meet customer needs.

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Billing: Reduce errors, expedite revenue generation, and


more efficiently manage billing through workflows that
supply the right data to the right people in the billing
process.
Purchasing: Track, report, automate, and correlate
inventory to purchasing workflows to ensure that the
supply chain continues to run efficiently.

Building Business Apps


that Transform Finance
andPurchasing
Many businesses have found process nirvana with custom,
easytouse business applications that can run on any
device from a browser to a smartphone. These apps
address specific LOB needs in a way that can dramatically
increase efficiency.
The promised, transformative results include:
Streamlined processes
Empowered mobile workers and customers
Powerful insight into business trends
Better, datadriven decision making
No doubt, businesses are always looking for ways to work
smarter and faster. They need tools that allow them to quickly
create systemspanning forms, and they need reliable workflows to securely deliver information to the right people at the
right time.
For example, customer onboarding apps might need to use
data from across services and systems such as Box, CRM
systems, and Microsoft SharePoint whether on premises
or in the cloud. To be effective, business apps should accommodate any system that users rely on and should not require
complex coding (see Figure41).

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Chapter4: DIY ProcessBased Workflows

33

Figure 4-1:K2 business process apps connect users on any device to


systems on premises and in the cloud.

Most businesses cant afford to design and maintain multiple,


customized versions of every app for different form factors.
Every small update would require another round of development changes, testing, and distribution.
Businesses are turning to lowcode, draganddrop software
solutions and tools that support fast, responsive app design.
As a result, these businesses are able to roll out new or
updated apps rapidly, for all form factors.
Responsive design is an approach to web design that optimizes a website or webbased application for optimal viewing
and navigation on any device or form factor.
Managing and reporting capabilities are in high demand as
well. A good management dashboard allows managers to view
and act on all tasks from a central location, while detailed
outofthebox reporting and scorecards display how their
processes are performing and helps them identify trends or
efficiency gaps that can improve risk management and forecasting.
An agile business process apps solution with these characteristics delivers value to end users and businesses in days
or weeks, instead of months, and businesses report drastic
reductions in their development costs.

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

Future Proofing with Scalable


Apps You Can Build Yourself
As businesses grow, their business applications must scale
easily to support new and emerging needs. Current shadow
IT applications and processes which exist in organizations far too frequently can be critical to everyday business
workflows, but are unknown to, and therefore unsupported
by, corporate IT departments. These applications and processes may consist of elaborate spreadsheets that have been
built, maintained and passwordprotected by individual
employees over the years, or cloudbased services and applications such as Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive.
Deploying a lowcode business process apps solution empowers employees in every department to replace these shadow
IT applications and processes with scalable frontend applications that integrate easily with complex, disparate backend
systems that they can build themselves!

IFCO streamlines account management


and automates processes
IFCO Systems is an international
logistics service provider with more
than 210 locations worldwide and
annual revenues of more than $735
million. In the United States, IFCO
provides a national network of pallet management services. With
more than 125 million pallets sorted,
repaired, and reissued annually, IFCO
is the market leader in this industry.
IFCO was dealing with siloed information, a lack of process visibility,
and a heavy administrative load.
Our sales teams are constantly
bringing on more customers and
vendors, so our turnaround time for

account processing needed to be


fast, says Chuck Koch, Director
of Information Technology, IFCO
Systems NA, Inc. However, due
to rapid growth over the years, we
were fighting huge inefficiencies in
our processes and suffering from
multiple versions of the truth when it
came to account information.
When a new customer or vendor
was being onboarded with the company, information was typically submitted to an account setup specialist
via fax or email. The information then
had to be validated and checked for
completeness, which sometimes

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Chapter4: DIY ProcessBased Workflows

included backandforth communications to the account originator.


After everything was validated and
approved, the information then had
to be entered into the companys
CRM, financial, order management,
and proprietary operational systems.

Rather than enter information in


three systems, IFCO general managers and account managers can enter
information in a single InfoPath form
(pulled from SharePoint) and count
on that data to be consistent across
all the companys LOB systems.

The manual entry in multiple systems


was time consuming, resulted in mistakes, and led to inconsistent data.
Finding information was sometimes
a chore because different systems
may have held different data on the
same customer. Inconsistencies
in account information were especially troublesome if one system was
updated and another was not.

Now we have one point of entry,


so data only has to be entered once.
The workflow takes care of the rest,
Koch said.

The process also relied on emails


and didnt have automatic workflows in place, so processes were
often inconsistent and provided little
visibility. Approvals and task completion could be slow because people
were keeping their own work lists,
and misunderstandings sometimes
accompanied expectations.
Solution
IFCOs new K2enabled IFCOLogix
system streamlines the management
of customer and vendor information
across multiple LOB applications,
and it provides consistency in data
quality and auditability.
We saw the potential for efficiency
gains with a system that would automate our processes and eliminate
errors and redundant tasks, Koch
said. K2 enabled us to create something precisely suited to our systems
and our business requirements.

35

In the first year of operation, we


automated more than 9,000 new
account requests and updated
approval processes. By eliminating
duplicate data entry, faxing, emailing
forms, manual data validation, and
error resolution for each instance,
we have experienced a substantial
time savings as well as a significant
improvement in overall data quality
across the enterprise. This automation makes us more effective in
where we spend our time by allowing people to focus on more value
driven activities; it improves visibility
and reporting; and the data validation rules significantly reduce back
office administrative issues.
The system automatically routes
documents and forms to the appropriate approvers, and upon completion of the workflow, K2 takes care of
creating or updating account information in all the dependent systems.
The solution provides visibility and
tracking, notifications and escalations, and reporting capabilities.
With the enhanced reporting capabilities of K2, we are able to easily
(continued)

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36

Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 
(continued)

identify process bottlenecks. This


gives us greater visibility into our
account onboarding process while
providing us with necessary data for
identifying potential improvements,
Koch said.
The account management workflow
module of IFCOLogix was easy to
build, Koch said, with K2s simple,
intuitive tools. The solution brings
together technologies the company
was already using SharePoint,
Dynamics CRM, Dynamics SL
and now IFCO is using K2 to bring
efficiency into other parts of the
business.

People think about processes and


information in very different ways.
You can have two products that
do the same thing, yet they may go
about it in very different ways, Koch
said. K2s processactivityevent
approach is in line with how we
think about processes, so the learning curve is short.
IFCO has also implemented new
K2based solutions for credit memo
approvals and is working on an AP
invoice approval process.

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Chapter5

Building the Business Case


for Process Transformation
In This Chapter
Driving revenuegrowth opportunities
Delivering an intuitive and flexible customer experience
Aligning internal and customerfacing processes

n this chapter, you discover how business process transformation can radically improve internal efficiency and
increase revenue opportunities for your business.

Focusing on Revenue Growth


Opportunities
The case for business process transformation is often built on
opportunities for cost reduction and process improvement,
but a far more compelling case for executives today centers
on revenue growth.
This means focusing on processes that accelerate revenue
growth while protecting existing revenue streams. When
engineered effectively, such processes can reduce costs
andimprove efficiency by reducing or eliminating workflow
bottlenecks and manual errors, and net significant revenue
growth through the creation and realization of new revenue
opportunities.

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38

Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

Protecting existing revenue streams requires a business process apps solution with deep integration to corporate back
end systems and cloud applications and services that your
business may already be using. Such integration capabilities
provide a way for businesses to centralize and control the
data in business apps while maintaining the confidentiality
and integrity of the information in its system of record. The
capability to securely route information to the right people
improves business efficiency while ensuring that governance
and compliance requirements are enforced.
Lowcode business apps solutions with draganddrop design
tools are ideal for building agile processes. Business users
who regularly work with, and therefore best understand, the
necessary workflows and processes can quickly and easily
build flexible, customizable work apps and forms that accelerate key processes and increase revenue growth opportunities
without disrupting existing revenue streams.

Improving Planning with Better


Financial Insights
Finance departments can support better decision making
throughout their organizations with data about past performance and financial outlooks. Such deep financial insights
empower managers across all business functions to improve
business resource planning in their respective areas of
responsibility. Creating process-based workflows and forms
that integrate with financial systems can make this data
actionable.
A study by The Hackett Group found that 64 percent of
finance organizations believe that their functional a
nalytics
improve the quality of their decision making and that a
lack of integration [with other internal finance processes or
enterprise planning and operational systems] contributes
to inefficient, ineffective outcomes (Financial Planning and
Analysis: Key Enablers for Improving Performance and Value,
The Hackett Group, August 2015).

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Chapter5: Building the Business Case for Process Transformation

39

Aligning Processes Throughout


Your Organization for
Operational Excellence
Look across your entire organization and value chain for business process transformation opportunities that will drive
innovation.
A business process apps solution that is powerful enough to
solve any processbased need while being agile, flexible, and
easy to use, can be a competitive differentiator for businesses
that use it to transform key processes to achieve operational
excellence.
The right business process apps solution can be the differentiator that helps your organization increase revenue opportunities. Now more than ever before, companies need to view
business process transformation through a lens that captures
more than just the automation of core processes. The solution
you choose should also have the speed, agility, and flexibility
needed to adapt to your organizations unique requirements.

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40

Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

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Chapter6

Ten Keys for Transforming


Business Processes
In This Chapter
Empowering your users
Integrating systems and tools securely and easily
Enabling standardization, mobility, and measurable results

n this chapter, I present ten important capabilities for you


to consider when choosing a business process apps solution for your organization.

Empower Users with Easy,


DoItYourself Tools
A lowcode business process apps solution must provide
easytouse, visual design tools that enable subject matter
experts (SMEs) and business users to quickly and easily
build automated forms and workflows themselves, without
extensive and expensive IT development.

Automate Manual, ErrorProne


Processes
Manual, paperbased workflows and forms are inefficient and
error prone. Automate finance and procurement processes to
eliminate opportunities for costly mistakes and drive greater
efficiency throughout your organization.
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42

Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

Go Beyond Process Automation


with Process Improvement
Automating a poorly designed manual process wont fix your
existing process problems, but finding a solution that provides insight into bottlenecks and other process pitfalls and
inefficiencies will. Choose a business process apps solution
that provides metrics and reporting dashboards that you can
use to look for opportunities to improve all your processes.

Integrate Seamlessly with


Existing Systems and
Reusable Components
Reusable building blocks that connect to external systems like
Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics CRM have been established
and can be reused across any number of interfaces and processes. This way, a new integration point does not need to be
built every time integration to a particular system is needed.
This reuse of the integration point lets you quickly and easily
pull together information from disparate systems into a single
view for easy approval, analysis, and decision making.
Another advantage of reusable building blocks is that all
integration points with external systems look and behave in
the same way. You can use data from disparate systems
such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SAP, Microsoft
SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle, Box, Google Drive,
and more easily without having to learn the nuances that
pertain to a particular technology. Business users can then
access critical information from these systems without ever
having to access them or learn how these systems operate.
Interfaces and process designs can be reused across multiple
applications as well, ensuring that as technical assets are
developed, applications become faster and easier to build.

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Chapter6: Ten Keys for Transforming Business Processes

43

Deliver Information at
the Point of Need
Your business users must be able to easily access data from
multiple sources with your business process apps solution,
thereby eliminating the need to have lots of technical knowledge to access source systems of record, such as customer
relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource
planning (ERP) applications.

Enable Advanced Analytics


and Reporting
A business process apps solution should connect disparate
systems, applications, and data throughout the organization
and in the cloud to enable powerful insights and better decision making. Intuitive, graphical dashboards and reporting
capabilities are a must.

Drive Change with Flexibility


and Agility
A business process apps solution should be scalable in a way
that allows standardization across departments and regions.
It should also be agile and flexible enough to allow processes
across the business to be automated in a short amount of
time and updated just as easily.

Balance Power and Simplicity


A business process apps solution doesnt need to be massive or complicated and longdrawnout to be successful; it
just needs to solve the challenges faced by the business. The
platform should be able to handle a wide variety of process
workflows and complex event handling and rules, as well as to
manage data across disparate sources.

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Business Process Apps for Finance and Purchasing For Dummies, K2 Special Edition 

Provide Secure Mobile Access to


Forms, Workflows, and Data
Todays business users expect to be able to work from anywhere, at any time, on any device whether its a laptop
computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Beyond simply downloading a printable form from Box or
Google Drive, a business process apps solution should enable
a purchasing manager, for example, to quickly and easily
complete an online form, such as a purchase order, on the
purchasing managers mobile phone, and automatically route
it to the appropriate department managers for approval.

Measure and Report


Your Results
A business process apps solution should be able to provide
real process improvement that can be measured. The platform should also provide visibility into the process itself,
immediate insight into the cause of roadblocks, and the capability to actually measure how instances are performing in
terms of cycle time, data expectations, and consistent use.
This approach enables business users to make objective judgment calls and decisions with regard to change.
K2s approach meets all these requirements. The K2 business
process apps solution offers the business process improvements that organizations need. It also provides businesses
with a continuous innovation capability that allows them to
easily change processes in the future. K2 has a set of easy
draganddrop tools that companies can use to build low
code, scalable applications composed of workflows and forms
that automate business processes and easily integrate with
industryleading IT systems. Finally, K2 solutions allow process management to become what it should be: an integral
part of knowledge capture, process improvement, compliance
management, and business agility.

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