As a company grows larger, adopting a shared services model can offer valuable benefits: lower costs, improved quality control, and enhanced service levels. With its market- leading business growing from strength-to-strength, Arteris— Brazil’s largest toll road operator—determined that the time was right to make the move to a new shared services model for delivering digital back-office services.
Márcio Rogério de Lima, IT Manager at Arteris, explained, “We are owned by Abertis—the world leader in toll road management—which has been championing shared services initiatives at its subsidiaries to unlock efficiencies and standardize on best practices. As a large company, operating nine different concessionaires, we recognized that we stood to gain significant value by consolidating administrative and accounting services such as accounts payable and receivable, records management and reporting. Moving these functions out of individual companies into a Shared Services Center [SSC] would help optimize our use of resources, reduce costs and deliver more consistent, high-quality services.
”While the shared services model offered clear advantages for Arteris, it also created new challenges.
Márcio Rogério de Lima continued, “As we moved back-office functions out of individual companies, we would also be removing the specialist knowledge that teams had about each company’s unique processes and ways of working. While an SSC could operate more efficiently, its people wouldn’t automatically have the same awareness of the ins-and-outs of different group companies.
”To make the SSC a success, we needed to arm teams with deep insight into service-level agreements, key performance indicators and other metrics that would allow them to understand what is happening with each company from the get-go. Armed with this information, operations staff would be able to work accurately and productively, and management would be able to make informed decisions about how best to optimize processes and deliver top-quality services.”
To underpin its new SSC, Arteris worked with longstanding partner TR Process to design a smart process application and analytics platform, built on Kofax TotalAgility, Kofax Insight and TR Process Smart Process Applications.
“Our shared services project builds on several years of investment in technology from Kofax and TR Process,” commented Márcio Rogério de Lima. “We originally introduced Kofax TotalAgility to automate invoice processing, then recently extended the solution to cover our entire accounts payable area.
“Having gained first-hand experience of TotalAgility during these projects, we recognized that it gave us an ideal foundation for our new shared services initiative. And we decided to introduce Kofax Insight as it would enable us to integrate data from multiple sources—not only Kofax TotalAgility, but other strategic enterprise applications such as Microsoft SharePoint and SAP ERP—and analyze it from a single platform.”
Driving a successful implementation
Alongside the deployment of its suite of Kofax and TR Process solutions, Arteris worked simultaneously to optimize its existing accounts payable processes to meet the demands of the SSC—configuring around 160 new processes. The company successfully completed all this work and got the SSC up and running in less than five months.
Márcio Rogério de Lima said, “This project has gone very smoothly, and credit for that has to go to the excellent support provided by TR Process. Their expertise helped us to ensure that the new environment was properly configured and deployed, and they were right there with us at every step along the way making sure that we stayed on track.“
It also helped that we were building on a very well-designed and tightly integrated set of Kofax solutions. Extending our Kofax TotalAgility landscape was a seamless process, and rolling out Kofax Insight was very quick and easy.""
He added, “The fact that we have gone live with the SSC in just under five months is a great accomplishment, and I think it has far exceeded all our expectations. With a change of this magnitude, we were expecting to have some problems to iron out, especially at the beginning, but we have hit the ground running. The platform has been working well from day one, and our users were quick to embrace the new approach.“
Our success has not gone unnoticed either—our executives and other Abertis group companies are taking note. In fact, there is one organization manager at another Abertis subsidiary who is planning to replicate our work at his own company, and use us as a reference for best practices, because of how well this project has gone.”
Today, solutions from Kofax and TR Process are driving highly digitized, automated processes in the SSC at Arteris, and giving teams deep visibility into end-to-end operations. The company relies on Kofax Insight to easily monitor and analyze processes and keep shared services operations running efficiently.“
Kofax Insight gives us a powerful tool for capturing data from all our business processes and using the information to optimize our workflows,” noted Márcio Rogério de Lima. “We actually started taking advantage of the Kofax solution before we officially went live with the new platform to check that the new processes we had configured were all functioning properly. Thanks to the insights we gained, we were able to make improvements to certain workflows and fix issues. This meant that when the new platform went into production, everything ran smoothly and our users were able to get down to work right away.”
Not content to rest on its success, Arteris is already looking to take the next step in its business process transformation.Márcio Rogério de Lima commented, “The work we are doing now is paving the way for even greater automation. Soon, we plan to take advantage of Kofax Kapow to automate even more of our business processes—freeing our staff from repetitive tasks, eliminating the risk of human error and enabling more accurate and reliable process outcomes.
Moving core business support services to a shared center is helping Arteris to achieve valuable efficiencies through greater economies of scale. The company estimates that it has halved the size of the workforce supporting its key business services. What’s more, the company believes its center is running with a workforce that is 40 percent smaller than other comparable SSCs in the Brazilian market handling similar volumes of work.
The new approach is also helping Arteris to ensure that critical financial processes, such as month-end closing and supplier invoicing, are completed in a timely and accurate manner.
Márcio Rogério de Lima explained, “Since introducing the SSC we have been able to complete month-end closing much faster—a benefit we had not anticipated. Usually when a company performs this kind of centralization and changes processes, it takes a few months for everything to stabilize, so financial consolidation can be a bit of a nightmare in the first few months of following the new approach. For us, it was exactly the opposite: in the first month after we went live with the SSC, we closed our books well ahead of our deadline, and only needed to reprocess seven documents. And by the second month, we finished month-end closing ahead of schedule once again, with zero issues and no need for re-work.”
He continued, “It’s been the same story for processes across the board—Kofax solutions are helping our shared services teams to work in a very controlled and efficient way. Take accounts Payable, for example, which is arguably the most critical function in our company. We handle a huge volume of invoices every month; many of these are for very large amounts of money and are linked to very important contracts with government bodies. We can’t risk making any errors or late payments as these could potentially jeopardize our public-sector contracts. With Kofax solutions driving streamlined, accurate invoice processing, we can make sure that our suppliers are paid on time—helping us maintain good working relationships with vendors and keeping vital civil works on track.”
On the road to success
Crucially, Arteris has gained the end-to-end process visibility it needs to ensure that operations at the SSC run in the most effective way.
Márcio Rogério de Lima stated, “The clear traceability and understanding that Kofax Insight provides across all our business processes is very important to us. We have nine different operating entities, all scattered across the country and generating very large volumes of information, so keeping a close watch on content and processes is a must for us. Thanks to the analytical insight that Kofax delivers, we can track how documents move through our systems and how our people are working from the very first mile of business right through to the end.“
With this kind of traceability we can pinpoint where bottlenecks or quality issues are occurring, and take targeted action to speed up and refine operations. Similarly, we can see if certain employees are making repeated mistakes or taking longer than normal to handle certain tasks, and provide additional training or guidance to help them work more effectively. By making better- informed decisions about how to best manage our processes and people, we are helping Arteris to run more cost-effectively, productively and with better governance.”
He concluded, “One of the most important benefits that our new approach gives us is complete confidence in our end-to- end processes. Everything is digitized, highly automated and totally traceable—and we are constantly refining our delivery model to unlock even greater efficiencies. With shared services underpinned by solutions from Kofax and TR Process, we can deliver very agile, cost-effective and high-quality support to the business, helping Arteris run in a more productive and profitable way.”