In the organization with an engineering and service profile, focused on providing services to such difficult and demanding sectors as petrochemicals and power engineering construction, the efficiency of access to information in the implementation of complex business processes is crucial for the success of the business. The right tools for document management in the company, which on the one hand shorten the time needed to access information, and, on the other hand, ensure its secure processing, are a key element of the strategy of improving the efficiency at Polimex-Mostostal.
The growing number of documents generated in dealings with suppliers and customers, the complexity of their handling, the need to ensure effective acceptance and the accessibility of the history of the document flow in a specific case were a direct cause of the implementation of the ECM tool, that is, a tool that combines the functions of the document repository and workflow engine, and also ensures tight and efficient electronic document flow throughout the organization.
Tomasz Pierzchała, IT Office Director at Polimex-Mostostal explains the decision to choose the system: “Facing the need to improve the process of concluding contracts with customers and suppliers, we were looking for a system that would be relatively easy to deploy and immediately available to all users, that would not generate the demand for IT resources and would easily integrate with the SAP ERP system. We decided to choose SNP ECM as it had the best combination of the above criteria. It was also important that this solution is delivered as a business service based on cloud computing.”
The key objectives of the implementation of the SNP ECM system in the area of contract handling include:
- introducing a centralized, consistent and complete register of contracts concluded by Polimex and companies from the group,
- providing quick access to the contract documents in electronic form for authorized persons,
- streamlining the process of evaluating contracts, ensuring the transparency of the process, with full access to the history of events,
- ensuring an evaluation of the contract prior to its signing by the units which are crucial for the business security of the contracting process in the organization.
Many types of documents — a single cooperation platform
The SNP ECM solution has covered both the contracts in which Polimex-Mostostal SA acts as a service provider or a vendor, as well as the contracts in which the company acts as a service recipient or a buyer. The system supports also the flow of annexes to existing contracts. As a result of the business analysis conducted jointly with SNP, all contracts handled in SNP ECM have been divided into the appropriate types, including e.g. such categories as implementing agreements, contracts of mandate or non-disclosure agreements.
For each contract in SNP ECM, in addition to the individual attributes that describe it and allow for full-text search in the whole contract base, documents ordering and documenting the process of contract preparation, analysis and flow have been created.
As a result of the pre-implementation analysis, the contract handling process is represented by a graphical map specifying: roles of users in the process, tasks of users in the SNP ECM system, contract handling stages, documents created in the process. The process map is the basis for managing the entire application supporting the system of the contract flow in SNP ECM, including change management. The competencies acquired in the process of knowledge transfer enable Polimex-Mostostal to create new types of documents and to configure the content management repository in line with its own business needs. The whole solution is closely integrated with the SAP ERP system.
SNP ECM integrated with SAP ERP
The SNP ECM platform for handling contracts has been closely integrated with the SAP ERP system of Polimex-Mostostal. The integration covers: downloading data about counterparties from SAP with automatic data entry for contracts in a document repository, downloading project data from the SAP system, including descriptive project information from SAP, and downloading data on orders in SAP.
The contract handling process in SNP ECM can be divided into several basic stages: the creation and registration of a new document, evaluation, preparation for signing, and finally, archiving of the scan of the signed document.
At the stage of registration of a new contract, SNP ECM automatically creates a contract review card and after its completion by the person initiating the process it checks (validates) the completeness of all the information necessary to pass the document to a further stage in the workflow. Individual participants of the process from relevant departments of the organization successively carry out their tasks related to the contract handling. The solution “guards" the order and automatically creates successive tasks.
The tasks generated by SNP ECM are group tasks, therefore at the stage of validation the opinions in individual departments are given by the persons who are first to take up the task from their task list. If tasks are not taken up, the system reminds users about the need to handle a given document and supports escalations according to the defined business conditions (rules). SNP ECM enables also the communication between participants in the process. All arrangements and decisions are recorded in the document flow history.
Upon completing the arrangements, the contract is printed and submitted to all interested parties for signing. Selected users are informed that the contract is going to be implemented. At the end, the document — as a scan — returns to the system, where it is archived.
Additionally, in Polimex-Mostostal, the option of integrating the solution with the SAP system has been made use of. The contract will be linked to the corresponding project in SAP PS.
Benefits not only for the business
In addition to shortening the time needed to gather information about a specific contract, Polimex-Mostostal has achieved also a number of other benefits. One of the key benefits is the access to a set of analytical data, starting from maintaining statistics and ending with reporting of the whole process. Before the implementation of SNP ECM, it took much more time than now to obtain quick and complete information about a specific contract with a given supplier or in a given project, since it required many arrangements made through traditional communication channels. With SNP ECM, all the information about the documents being searched for (including the history of their flow) is now immediately visible to authorized users.
SNP ECM provides a complete, consistent and secure document repository in the cloud, accessible at any time to each user. The safety of the process and blocking of unauthorized access to commercially sensitive information are ensured by an extensive system of authorizations, which allows you to freely configure views and assign authorizations.
As we use SNP ECM in the SaaS model, we do not have to worry about the IT infrastructure. We agreed with SNP that the system should be efficient and available according to the indicators set out in the SLA.
After the implementation of SNP ECM, it takes less and less time to make the arrangements related to the handling of documents, and users work more comfortably because the system manages information from several IT systems needed for processing the contract in accordance with the procedures. The number of circulating paper documents related to contracts is gradually reduced in the company. They are planned to be totally eliminated. This will reduce the risk associated with possible delays (resulting from unavailability of persons, for example) or human errors. Furthermore, financial savings and pro-environmental actions should not be underestimated.
SNP’s proprietary solutions offered in the cloud have the ISO 27018 certification for SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions. BeeOffice, SNP ECM and Edistrada are developed in the SNP Software Factory and offered based on the secure infrastructure of SNP Data Centers. The ISO 27018 certificate is an independent guarantee of security and confidentiality of the customers’ data stored in the applications. The ISO 27018 standard applies to such processes as the data backup maintenance and creation system, data encryption, management of modifications in applications, registration of users’ and administrators’ activities, management of users’ accounts and authorizations. The ISO 27018 certificate extends the scope of the ISO 27001-compliant Information Security Management System operating at SNP.
Describing contracts with (any) attributes allows for easy reporting of all the information in the layout that facilitates and accelerates the business decision making process. With SNP ECM, we also managed to organize a repository of agreements also by organizational units — the documents are uniquely assigned to individual operating divisions and visible only to authorized persons.
The solution enables the migration of the archive of contracts to a new solution, which ensures the availability of both the current and archival contracts from a single tool.
“As we use SNP ECM in the SaaS (Software as a Service) model, we do not have to worry about the IT infrastructure that we would have to administer, monitor, update, secure and replace. We agreed with SNP that the system should be efficient and available according to the indicators set out in the SLA, such as e.g. availability and performance. As a result, we bear the costs of actual use, we do not pay for something that our business doesn’t need. The protection of our data and the entire administration in the technical layer are also responsibilities of SNP, as is the case with the SAP ERP system, where we also decided to choose the services of SNP Data Centers,“ concludes Tomasz Pierzchała.