Professional staffing firm Kforce provides contract, contract-to-hire, and permanent employees primarily to companies in North America. To increase the availability and performance of its time-and-expense system, the company worked with software developer AgileThought to create a new application based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and the Microsoft platform, including a database with 4 gigabytes (GB) of data. As a result, Kforce has increased system availability to 100 percent, reduced the average logon time by 83 percent, shrank the hardware footprint by 50 percent, and cut IT expenses by 50 percent.
Every week, Kforce depends on its time-and-expense system to process payroll for approximately 10,600 people. Any outage jeopardizes the company’s ability to pay employees on time and impedes customer relationships.
In March 2009, Kforce decided to either redesign or replace its time-and-expense system. After evaluating seven different options that included custom and off-the-shelf solutions, the company ultimately chose to use the Microsoft platform to build a new system based on a SOA. Kforce determined that the new solution could not only increase performance and availability but also scale easily and interoperate with existing technologies, including Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise applications and Oracle databases.
||Our new time-and-expense system built with the Microsoft platform is 83 percent faster than our old system. And since it has gone live, we’ve not had a single outage.
Director of Application Services
To help design and implement the solution—and train IT employees in Microsoft development technologies—Kforce engaged Microsoft Gold Certified Partner AgileThought. Between June 2009 and February 2010, AgileThought and Kforce used Scrum development practices to create a new time-and-expense system that runs on virtual servers based on existing HP server computers. It includes the following key components:
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise data management software. Supports two databases that store 4 GB of data, including more than 1 million timecards. IT personnel use the change data capture security model in SQL Server 2008 to help protect information from unauthorized access and to provide an audit trail of all database changes.
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services. Generates a copy of every timecard in PDF format and attaches it to the corresponding payment request.
- The Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition operating system. Provides the foundation software for the SOA.
- Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2. Facilitates communication between SOA components.
- The Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite development system. Provides an integrated environment with built-in tools for web testing, unit testing, and database development and deployment.
- The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5. Gives developers a comprehensive environment for creating websites and web services and for simplifying access to data and data services. IT personnel also used this technology to develop a custom adapter that connects the SOA to Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise applications.
Business Pain Points Addressed
Consistently recognized by numerous business journals as one of the nation’s best companies to work for, Kforce strives to maintain efficient processes to support its staff and customers. The company pays its employees every week—three days after receiving timecards. The system that facilitates this process must be highly available so that Kforce employees and customers can submit, approve, and process payment requests as scheduled. In addition, customers and employees who help process payroll sometimes need to view current or previous timecards to approve payment. By working with AgileThought to create a new time-and-expense system with the Microsoft platform, Kforce has been able to:
- Boost customer satisfaction by reducing the average time to log on to the system from 29 seconds to just 5 seconds.
- Improve service by providing a PDF copy of timecards with payment requests—and access to previous timecards.
- Save 60 hours in IT labor each week.
- Realize a complete return on investment in 2.5 years based on a 50 percent reduction in IT costs including savings in hardware, software, and development.
Technical Pain Points Addressed
Kforce needs a modular, secure, and customizable infrastructure so that IT personnel can easily maintain and scale individual components, including databases, to meet changing business requirements. Delivering consistently high response times for its mission-critical applications is also crucial to the company’s image and success. To maintain long-term viability and protect investments, Kforce also needs to use existing technologies and know that it can hire IT personnel with the right skill set. With its new time-and-expense system developed with the Microsoft platform and AgileThought, Kforce has been able to:
- Realize 100 percent availability.
- Condense the system’s hardware footprint by 50 percent.
- Simplify application development and deployment.
- Reduce the cost and effort of scaling the system.
- Provide high levels of security.
- Protect existing IT investments.
- Draw from a larger pool of potential IT employees.
Top Reasons Why Kforce Chose Microsoft
Kforce chose to develop its solution with the Microsoft platform because it:
1. Provides interoperable components to support an end-to-end solution from the user interface to the database.
2. Offers a comprehensive suite of development tools for quickly creating highly modular applications.
3. Delivers high levels of performance, security, and availability.
4. Offered the lowest software costs.
By taking advantage of the Microsoft platform and the knowledge of AgileThought, Kforce has created a new time-and-expense system that is faster, easier to scale, and more reliable. As a result, the company has gained flexibility and improved service levels so that it can maintain its leading market position.
Kforce Inc. (NASDAQ: KFRC) is a $1 billion professional staffing and solutions firm founded in 1962. The company’s specialty areas include technology, finance and accounting, clinical research, healthcare, government solutions, and outsourcing solutions. Kforce operates 64 offices throughout the United States and 2 offices in the Philippines. Backed by approximately 2,000 associates and 10,000 consultants on assignment, Kforce is committed to “Great People = Great Results” for its valued clients and candidates.
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