Appian Forum: Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Pat Steinmann and Dion Beuckman of Enterprise Rent-A-Car presented on their Appian implementation; I didn’t realize that not only are they the largest rental car company in North America, but are family-owned. Steinmann is from corporate IT, and Beuckman is with an operating unit in southern California, and they talked about two independent implementations of Appian within Enterprise.

Steinmann started off the presentation, discussing how the focus of their implementation was on the requests for IT services. Originally, they had an AS/400-based request system that was highly manual and error-prone, and they often could not meet the requirement to have a request successfully submitted to IT within 3 days from the original request. It was costing them $212/request in administrative overhead, or $600k/year, any increase in volume required a linear increase in staff, and the time required to train a new employee could stretch to 9 months. Over 200 services were available for request, with the work executed by 60 teams.

They created their Request Online system with a vision to automate the workflow and task execution where possible, allowing the human participants to just do the value-added activities; provide more visibility into the process; and reduce training time for new employees. This led to two basic design goals:

  • Translate a submitted request into specific, actionable tasks
  • Ensure that submitted requests are acted upon

Not only did this require automated processes, but also integration with other systems, rules to define what type of requests could be made by specific users, and process agility.

Four of their own developers and 3 Appian resources created their implementation in 6 months, using joint application design (JAD) sessions with business and IT for what Steinmann described as a very agile development environment: so much so that they had only one design change after they went live.

They have been able to be more proactive with their support of users, for example, by collecting a list of users who were interested in Outlook-iPhone integration, then automatically notifying them when new information was available. They’ve also made the portal easy to use so that users don’t need much (or any) formal training on how to use it, since it’s available across the organization.

Beuckman then went through another implementation that they did, for the vehicle maintenance payables process. They process over 18,000 invoices per month, all paper-based and manually processed, and have a geographically-dispersed workforce that might be involved in approving invoices before payment. Since there are rarely purchase orders for the invoices, there are some fairly complex business rules required for validation of the invoice.

Their aim was to automate non-value-added tasks, expedite cross-departmental (and likely geographically distributed) workflow, centralize A/P processing while maintaining distributed decision-making, reduce error rates, increase process consistency, reduce handoffs and touchpoints, and increase productivity.

Their Appian implementation, used by about 60 employees, deployed their first process about 6 months from the start of development using 1 internal and 1 Appian resource. They did an 8-week pilot with one region, then rolled out the remaining 12 regions over 12 weeks so that now 100% of their maintenance invoices are processed through the application. Their second application, body shop payables, then only took them 6 weeks.

They reduce the human steps in the process from 9-19 down to 1-6, with 40% now auto-approved and loaded directly to PeopleSoft. They have real-time visibility into the process, and can easily identify system bottlenecks and locate missing invoices to determine process problems.

On the surface, this is a pretty standard A/P imaging and workflow application, with one major difference from most similar implementations: they had it up and running in less than 6 months.

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