TransLink, one of the largest public transportation networks in North America, used K2, a Business-Critical SharePoint solution, to overhaul its enterprise capital processes — ensuring governance, speed and visibility. They are
saving more than $300K per year through new administrative consistencies, centralization, improved reporting, and process integration.
Vancouver’s regional transportation authority, TransLink operates a large, multi-modal and fully integrated transit system, serving a wide range of customers and diverse constituents and stakeholders. The agency is the first North American transportation
authority to be responsible for the planning, financing and managing of all public transit in addition to major regional roads and bridges.
Capital Management Exceeding $250M per year
||With K2, documents are automatically routed, which reduces processing time and prevents information from being replaced.
| Sergio Del Piccolo
Dynamic Management Solutions
To keep this complex transit network in a state of good repair and for future growth in the region, TransLink manages a capital program exceeding $250M per year. More than 250 capital requesters, reviewers and approvers — including project implementation
groups and operating subsidiaries — make for a capital portfolio of some 125 concurrent capital projects under challenging financial constraints. Staff at all levels of the company — from administrative support personnel to executive and board members — collaborate
on all aspects of the capital project lifecycle: initiation, capital approvals, change management, purchasing, capitalizations, invoicing and closeout. Almost 100 new capital projects or change proposals are submitted annually for consideration and approval.
There are also approximately 2,000 purchase order requisitions and 20,000 invoice submissions that need to be processed every year.
Dominance of Manual Processes
Manual processes and reliance on paper documentation were leading to delays, lack of visibility and an increased risk for lost information. Staff reported too many manual steps in the capital request process and observed a lack of process governance and
a lack of accountability.
Siloed Systems and Teams
TransLink wanted to ensure pieces of work didn’t fall behind and that bottlenecks were being identified and addressed. Their objective was to increase efficiency across its large enterprise, raising both the transparency of the process and the accountability
of everyone who takes part in it. But with no consistent document version control and no central repository for completed documents, collaboration across the enterprise in a virtual team environment was extremely challenging for project managers and sponsors.
Significant manual effort was spent re-entering various data points across multiple disparate systems, which led to data entry errors, lack of automatic validation and long cycle times.
No “single version of the truth” existed, and project managers spent considerable time having to “walk documents around” for approval.
Dynamic Management Solutions, a trusted K2 Partner in Vancouver, collaborated with TransLink throughout the initiative and designed, built, and deployed a Business-Critical SharePoint solution where line-of-business systems are connected with SharePoint
to improve business processes. This project was sponsored by Cathy McLay, CFO and executive vice president, TransLink Finance and Corporate Services who established the enterprise vision and provided executive oversight throughout all phases of the engagement.
In this solution, eleven highly complex K2 applications automated the entire capital project lifecycle — from project initiation to closure:
Capital development: capital approval in principal submissions, capital approval in principal authorizations, specific project approvals, project change authorizations
Capital asset cost control: asset capitalizations, capital project closeout
Purchase order requisitioning
Supplier management: supplier performance reviews, corrective action request management
Progress draw payments
The solutions integrate with TransLink’s line-of-business systems (e.g., an automatic funding check with the accounting system), provide extensive capabilities to report on process bottlenecks, allow users to quickly and efficiently view the status of a
particular submission, and support collaboration through easy-to-use e-forms.
SharePoint / K2 blackpearl Integration with TransLink Line-of-Business Applications
The following are examples of the line-of-business applications integration with SharePoint which was accomplished during the foundational K2 blackpearl project at TransLink.
Purchase Order Requisitions – Real Time Funding check against Enterprise Financial System
According to Dietmar Doerschlag, Asst. Manager Technology PMO and full cycle PM for this initiative, TransLink utilizes Infor SmartStream FMS for
core enterprise financial functions including AP, GL, Fixed Assets, Capital Project Management, and Purchasing. Budgets for all capital projects are established in SmartStream and tracked throughout the project life cycle. Purchase Orders and contracts are
established and tracked against these budgets in SmartStream. Prior to the implementation of K2 (which runs on a SharePoint UI front end, see 2.3 below) there was limited rigor with respect to enforcing capital budget limits when submitting capital purchase
order requisitions (i.e. contract requests). Project Managers submitted purchase requisitions and it was left to the Finance Department to ensure that sufficient funding exists which lead to extended processing times, risk exposure and user frustration. With
K2 blackpearl, SharePoint, and InfoPath e-forms in place, an automatic real-time funding check is now performed on all purchase order requisitions (5,000 processes per year) at the time of PO requisition submission (K2 process initiation). Complex web services
are triggered by the user when entering certain data sets on the InfoPath e-form. The web service call goes into SmartStream, validates available funding, and returns, if applicable, a message to the user that the PO requisition workflow can proceed. If insufficient
capital project funding exists, the user is then prompted to remedy the situation and - to enforce process governance - is not allowed to submit the workflow. This always ensures that funding is available before any contracting request is submitted and a new
contract is awarded to any supplier. Process governance is enforced, processing times are reduced, and policy compliance is achieved.
Invoice Processing - Supplier Data Integration
TransLink’s uses K2 blackpearl and SharePoint to process 20,000 invoices received from up to 7,500 different suppliers per year. Supplier data (new, remove, change) which is entered into the Infor SmartStream FMS system is batch-uploaded into a SharePoint
list nightly. The K2 workflow system and the Financial System are therefore always in sync with respect to supplier data. When users submit a new invoice into K2 workflow, they can then select the supplier, which was updated from the SmartStream Financial
system from the InfoPath e-form. A unique SharePoint site is then automatically created for each supplier which allows TransLink to manage all invoices throughout the entire capital project life cycle. Today approximately 450 users are actively participating
in this process.
Integration with Microsoft Outlook
The business-critical K2 blackpearl solution was built with significant email messaging through Microsoft Exchange. Examples include:
Email messages with embedded links notify task owners of new and overdue task assignments.
Email escalation messages notify managers of overdue tasks for their staff.
“FYI notifications” are generated when certain events are completed in K2.
The “front-end UI” users interact with, primarily consists of SharePoint and InfoPath.
Each workflow application contains one InfoPath e-form. In the future, TransLink will be moving towards K2 SmartForms for workflow opportunities.
A Workflow Collaboration portal was built on SharePoint - to launch new workflow instances.
Project and Supplier specific SharePoint sites were developed to manage all workflows related to the same multi-year capital project and / or supplier
SharePoint lists and libraries were built to manage workflow process status, and to store all related documents and e-forms in a central repository.
According to Dietmar Doerschlag, process governance is enforced, processing times are reduced, and policy compliance is achieved at TransLink with the K2 Business-Critical SharePoint solution.
Reduced Cycle Times
These applications not only reduced the overall cycle time per process but also created a collaboration portal and document repository by taking advantage of TransLink’s existing SharePoint platform.
Annual Savings over $330K
Through new administrative consistencies, centralization, improved reporting and process integration, TransLink expects to save more than $330K in the first year and every year after.
Improved Return-on-Investment (ROI)
The ongoing financial and collaboration benefits of the Enterprise Capital Process Workflow System are expected to be significantly larger than the initial one-time and ongoing costs. The custom solution streamlines TransLink’s process, brings together all
operating entities and unifies hundreds of people.
Process Governance and Accountability
“With K2, documents are automatically routed, which reduces processing time and prevents information from being misplaced,” said Sergio Del Piccolo, partner at Dynamic Management Solutions. “Duplicate data entry has been eliminated and process governance
enforced. The solutions we implemented will be a win for TransLink and their customers.”
Business-Critical SharePoint (BCSP) is a Microsoft partner program that includes top solution and service providers
who focus on LOB integration with SharePoint.
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