To my guidance counselor who told me I’d make a great lifeguard…
I like to fancy myself an efficiency expert. I believe that I am organized and spend most all my time finding how to make processes faster, easier and more efficient. Don’t get me wrong … I am really not boasting because, unlike regular survival skills (math, geography, history, cooking, walking and chewing gum at the same time), this is probably the only thing I am good at. I’ve made a career out of taking complex technical items and making them easy to follow and navigate. My first book Teach Yourself SAP in 24 Hours was my first formal foray into breaking things down and making them faster and easier to do.
Today at work, I was evaluating the termination processes for a large North American company. This company currently sends letters with attached forms to a terminated employee with a cc: to their specific manager and a cc: to HR management (some snail mail, some email) each time a termination occurs. That sounded like a simple enough promise to automate and they laughed when I said that, but it turns out it is a bit trickier than it sounds. For starters, the language in each letter varies based on the type of employee they were. Former union employees, for example, received one letter directing them to their union rep, executives received another letter that detailed what becomes of their stock options, traditional salaried employees received another letter, etc. And that just describes the letter “category” or the first few paragraphs of the letter. Then the letter would go on to detail information about their salary and benefits (COBRA, continuance, etc.) depending on their unique enrollments and include the appropriate forms for the appropriate vendors. Next, there are specific requirements and forms for each state that need to be filled out and sent along with the letter to assist the employee in filing for unemployment (if eligible).
The company detailed this in-depth process into decision based flowcharts for each type of employee, each type of termination (voluntary and involuntary), benefits eligibility and state of unemployment processing, etc. It is a huge document and an even huger process manually managed by a large department who creates letters, looks up forms, sends email, prints letters attaches forms etc. This time consuming and expensive process was my task to make faster and easier.
Luckily for me, SpinifexIT’s Easy Documents is designed exactly for processes such as this. In just a couple of hours yesterday, I was able to build this complex process into an Easy Document that runs live inside of SAP HCM. Now the entire process is organized, automated and requires no user interaction! I did it all with no technical skills, no customization and no ABAP – just by simply making a source report in Easy Reporter (essentially a termination report that included the characteristics of each employee) and building a document in Easy Documents. The document uses dropdown boxes to determine where in the letter to insert and on which conditions, which forms to attach, and to whom documents should be sent (simply by reading the org structure in SAP).
Now, that is what being faster and easier is all about! Turns out I am indeed an efficiency expert. Now if I could only remember where I parked my car at the airport.