One of the many ways Local Authorities are adapting to an increase in population and a decrease in funding, is through the implementation and adoption of digital technologies. For many, taking the first steps can be daunting as new technology brings with it new challenges, but can also bring new opportunities.
There are broadly three areas that digital technology can make a positive impact:
- Improved access to services for citizens
- Providing a digital workplace
- The ability to work smarter
By focusing on the last of these areas, the services executed by a Local Authority can be improved by providing employees modern tools to use.
I have worked with many Local Authorities over the years and there is one scenario that is common throughout - the applications and tools provided to employees at work do not provide the same experience that they have become accustomed to in their private lives. Couple this with outdated processes that hinder mobile and flexible workstyles and eat into valuable time that could be used more productively - you are then left with disgruntled employees and poor service levels.
If you have, however, made the decision to modernise your workplace and workforce – your next steps should include:
- What area of the business should be tackled first?
- How to build a solid business case to support that decision
The process of claiming and approving expenses may seem straightforward, until that is, you scratch beneath the surface and uncover a process that is taking up considerable time, may require staff to travel to the office specifically to claim expenses, requires a great degree of manual intervention from back-end functions, doesn’t provide the option to easily and digitally store receipts, leaves interpretation of the organisations’ expense policy down to the employee and doesn’t provide visibility into spend from a reporting and compliance point of view.
The clear advantage of taking a process like expense management as one of the first areas to move into the cloud is that it effects many people in the organisation, can be implemented quickly, provides a rapid return on investment but is also a relatively distinct process. There may be a need to link it into a finance or ERP solution to provide end-to-end automation, so the solution needs to have options for all scenarios.
Barnsley Metropolitan District Council recently implemented SAP Concur early in their Digital First programme.
David Robinson, Service Director at Barnsley, commented “If we want staff to feel comfortable working remotely, we have to remove the reasons for needing to come to the office. We’re implementing projects to roll our Office365 and SAP SuccessFactors, with Concur Expense being another part of that transformation.
This is having an impact on frontline service delivery. Our Social Care teams, for example, don’t need to return to the office to submit expenses as the entire process can be managed from their work issued mobile phone. Less admin, more caring.”
Some of the benefits that Barnsley Council has seen since implementing SAP Concur include:
- A platform which provides full visibility as to where employees are spending public funds
- A full digital audit trail to ensure compliance (including mileage expenses)
But the biggest benefit that the Council has seen since implementing SAP Concur is that Council employees’ time has shifted focus from “less admin, more caring”.
Find out more about how SAP Concur is driving digital transformation for organisations like yours.
Blog author: David Hipwell, Public Sector Lead at SAP Concur
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