Accelerating purchasing and payments for a major city council with a mobile approval solution based on standard SAP software

City Council_case1_desktop


At this large UK city council, with an annual net budget of half-a-billion pounds, cost control is absolutely essential to the authority’s efficient day-to-day running, and measures had been put in place to constantly monitor and control budgets.

Purchase order and payment approvals were a key part of the measures. With government guidelines requiring the council to pay suppliers within ten days of receipt of invoice, managers were under pressure to validate and approve the initial purchase of goods and then sign-off the final received invoices quickly and efficiently.

To manage its vendor and supplier relationships, streamline procurement and ensure timely payment the council had implemented an SAP system. Managers were informed by email when there were purchases or invoices to approve. However, delays were occurring because managers could only approve items when they were logged on to the SAP system in the office.

The council wanted to overcome this bottleneck by providing mobile sign off for both the initial purchase of goods and invoice payment.

The Solution

To assess appropriate technology and suppliers, the council’s SAP support team attended the SAP User Conference and had demonstrations from a number of leading mobile solution providers.

In the end they chose a solution from Pivot. “Pivot’s approach stood out for a number of reasons,” says the council’s Corporate Data Senior Officer. “Rival solutions were full-blown, much more ambitious in their scope, and more expensive to implement and maintain. You could virtually run the whole of your SAP system from your mobile device. We liked Pivot’s philosophy, the elegance and simplicity of its technology, and its cost-effectiveness. Simply, they had specific solutions to meet our specific requirements, offering value for money.”

A key advantage of Pivot’s solution was its browser-based approach, which meant that no additional software had to be added to managers’ mobile devices. Consequently, there were no software maintenance, patch management, or upgrade implications. The solution could also be used on any mobile device and model, which had been a particular concern for the support team. Combined, these two key features ensure the cost of ownership is kept low, as there is minimal need for IT involvement in managing the devices.

Once the project was approved, the modular nature of Pivot’s solution meant that it only took two months to implement and tailor to the council’s needs, which was extremely quick by public sector standards.

Today, managers can approve purchases and payments from anywhere, at any time, which has significantly accelerated the processes involved and meant the council can confidently meet the government guidelines on supplier payment.

In addition, with its modular approach, ease of deployment and scalability, the solution can be quickly adapted to provide other council managers with secure access to critical SAP systems whilst on the move, for example for performance reporting or business intelligence.

“We found working with Pivot very refreshing, especially the ‘can-do’ level-headed attitude of Pivot’s consultants.”

Corporate Data Senior Officer