Improved internal operational processes with the web-based Planning Tool
Technology usedSAP Business Technology Platform, SAP CAP, SAP Fiori, SAPUI5
About our client
As a challenger in the Belgian market, our purpose is to help companies innovate and grow by using SAP technology. We strive to stay a frontrunner when it comes to implementing cutting-edge technology. This is not a customer case but an internal project based on SAP technology that Amista uses in their day-to-day business.
Amista, founded in 2014 as a start-up with a few employees, started growing significantly during the last few years. As a small company, with only a few consultants in the beginning it was very easy to keep track of the consultants’ timesheets in excel. Soon, this manual process became too time-consuming to be efficient and accurate. Punctual timesheet registration is very crucial for correct timely invoicing and financial forecasting. Before the planning tool had been developed, the registration of the timesheets was the responsibility of one single person. A solution was needed so the responsibility/work would be shared by each individual employee.
Challenges & scope
- Create one centralized platform that functions as ‘one-source-of-truth’
- Replace the usage of excel sheets: simplify current process
- Different authorization roles (consultants, admin, managers,…) had to be provided to manage allowed user visibility and actions per role
- User-friendly design and modern look & feel
- Fully responsive on desktop, mobile and tablet
- Integrate filter options
- Support the creation of reports and exports
Creation of an online tool to:
- centralize timesheets and planning of consultants
- enable forecasting of resources
- create a database of customer and non-customer related projects
- enable financial forecasting
- serve as a reliable database for invoicing customers
- serve as a reliable database for financial analysis and reporting
We opted to create a planning tool that is both used by and accessible for consultants, subcontractors, team leads, administrators, HR managers and finance managers. Consultants have a limited view on their own calendar/timesheet, so other sensitive financial data are protected. Consultants can enter their timesheets by choosing from a personalized projects list, which makes the process easy and straightforward. These timesheets form a reliable basis for monthly billability reports. These reports/data can be used to invoice customers in a timely and correct manner. It also gives an estimate on the future revenue generated by customer projects.
The planning tool consists of several applications that were developed with SAPUI5 and in line with the Fiori design guidelines. These guidelines set the standard, ensure a consistent user experience, and remove unnecessary complexity. A Fiori launchpad, to which the apps were added, was created to provide a centralized entry point for end users. The data that is used in the planning tool, is stored in an SAP HANA Cloud Database. Communication between the UI and the database is handled by a SAP CAP (Node.js) application. This app also authenticates the users and authorizes them to access resources depending on their role.
Initially we had built the tool inside the SAP Business Technology Platform Neo environment. This was done with SAPUI5 as a front end and Hibernate (Java) as a backend. As SAP pushed for Cloud Foundry more and more, Amista also felt it was time to move forward and migrate the planning tool to the new environment.
Cloud Foundry Services used:
- SAP HANA Cloud
- SAP HANA Schemas & HDI Containers
- Authorization and Trust Management Service
- Destination Service
- Job Scheduling Service
- HTML5 Application Repository Service
- SAP Build Work Zone
- Document Management Service
- Cloud Identity Services
- Combination of data registration, analysis and reporting in one single tool
- Timesheet registration is a shared responsibility, each employee can contribute
- Clear reporting and financial forecasting: provides insight in current and future income
- Gaps or irregularities are noticed much more quickly
- An overview of timesheets per month/ per project/ per consultant/ per customer
- Invoice generation per month/ per project/ per consultant/ per customer
Thanks to the planning tool we can work proactively and schedule team members months upfront. This helps us to plan our resources as optimally as possible across different customer projects. After scheduling, the performances must also be confirmed, so that we can see whether our planning corresponds internally (e.g. registration of sick days/holidays) but also externally with the customer (by checking supplied timesheets with our internal planning tool), an overrun in a fixed price project is therefore taken care of in time.
After a performance has been confirmed, an additional check can be carried out when the invoice is created. The original purchase order will be compared to the performances stated in the planning tool, both at the level of the resource, as well as the rate, PO number, … Based on the forecasting module, the budget for the both direct costs and indirect costs can be managed.
The planning tool gives us a current view of revenues as well as revenues to come, helping us set the direction for the business in the short and longer term. It also becomes clear whether we need additional resources at a specific moment and under what wage conditions, so that projects remain profitable.
- Internal operations process improved drastically: faster approvals, faster invoice checks,…
- Speed and efficiency of timesheet registration and checks by team leads increased
- High-user adoption of tool by all employees
- Increased transparent communication
- More accurate view on financial reporting and KPIs
- Better budget decisions can be made based on reports and data
Want to learn more about the solutions used in this case?
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