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Seamless Business Continuity thanks to Cloud-Based Digital Document Management

Amey plc is one of the UK’s largest and best-known facil­ities management, civil engineering and infrastructure management companies, with a large project footprint in the UK public sector. Today there are around 16,000 people working for the organisation, though numbers can peak at much higher than that depending on the vol­ume and type of contracts the company is managing at any one time. All of this adds up to a vast administra­tive workload, from both a finance and HR perspective.

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Amey Achieves Seamless Business Continuity in HR & Accounts Payable throughout the COVID-19 Lockdown

They give us everything we need and support us fantastically. And to have achieved such a smooth upgra­de and have had no issues during the peak of the lockdown – when HR had so many other things to deal with – is priceless.”

Stephen Butler Senior Application Support Manager at Amey plc

In 2002, when Amey first implemented SAP as its fi­nance and resource management system, it invested in EASY SOFTWARE’s SAP Packaged Services (Capture and Archive) to capture and manage incoming Accounts Payable (AP) documents electronically. With 12,000 in­voices coming into the business each month, on aver­age, Amey needed a means to capture, store and access these without reliance on paper.

When Spanish facilities management group Ferrovial acquired Amey the following year, this newly streamlined AP process helped support the move to a Financial Shared Service centre at Oxford Science Park. As further comple­mentary companies joined the organisation, bringing in large government contracts, the business deployed EASY Capture in a number of regional offices.

Fast forward to today, and 95 per cent of all invoices come into the business digitally with progressively less reliance on an external scanning service to convert incoming paper doc­uments into scanned files.

Project information

On-boarding new contractors is fast and paperless

Even more transformational for Amey has been the use of EASY SOFTWARE for capturing and organising HR documents. Each time Amey takes on or finishes a new major contract, it has to bring in or phase out what might be 500 people at a time, involving a lot of red tape. “The nature of the work we do means there can be a massive turnover of staff, and extraordinarily high numbers of documents to process under TUPE [transfer of undertakings] obligations as people come into our operations and leave again,” explains Stephen Butler, Amey’s Senior Applica­tion Support Manager.

For over a decade now, Amey has used EASY-enabled electronic document archiving to provide a HR document management solution that integrates with the company’s SAP HCM (Human Capital Management) and vFire Case Management systems. This supports HR professionals in administering Amey’s critical talent pool, providing ready access to confidential documents over a secure web client.

Moving with the times – and into the cloud

With content and process digitisation high on its agenda, and a cloud-first strategy now a business priority at Amey, the company implemented a significant upgrade to EASY SOFTWARE’s latest technology in 2019. As well as providing access to the latest functionality and features, this has meant that all software and records now run in the cloud, on a secure Microsoft Azure platform – supporting Amey’s ambition to reduce reliance on its own on-premise data centre infrastructure.

Amey also took this opportunity to separate its HR and accounts databases, so they could each run on their own server – for greater resilience and scalability. “Our aim is to move everything – all of our applications – to the cloud,” explains Jono Cook, Amey’s Applications Manager who oversaw the latest EASY upgrade.

Pandemic-proof processes with built in compliance

The timing of the transition could not have been more fortunate. By the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 95 per cent of Amey’s accounts payable documents and 100 per cent of all HR information was being captured digitally and made available securely via the cloud to authorised staff. This meant that these departments could continue working, uninterrupted, from team members’ respective homes.

“Users can now simply ‘Save to EASY’ using their laptops or other devices from home, which meant the sudden call to work from home didn’t affect their workloads,” Stephen notes. “With the latest EASY software, we are not dependent on having people in the office to print attached documents and scan them into our core systems. I think a lot of other businesses will have been caught out without that facility.”

End-to-end document digitisation boosts compliance with regulations like GDPR, too. “The risk of mis-filing or failing to shred documents is removed once you can capture the content straight to the intended secure system,” Stephen explains. “In HR, that’s invaluable. Each time someone joins the company they have to send in a copy of their passport, for instance. Now these documents can be captured without paper. When you consider that we operate a number of contracts for the Government, you can appreciate how important that kind of assurance is.”

The efficiency gains, meanwhile, have been so substantial that Amey doesn’t even attempt to quantify them. “The fact that we can track down any document at any time and from anywhere is transformational, and made the difference between critical business functions being able to maintain continuity during lockdown or not,” Stephen says. “That’s on top of the saving we make on having dedicated people who otherwise would have spent their days scanning paperwork.”

A robust solution from a reliable partner

Having the people from EASY SOFTWARE close at hand continues to be a huge source of reas­surance, too, Jono says. “They are brilliant. There is always a quick turnaround if I ever need them; we’re never left waiting in a queue for assistance. The software does everything we need it to do, it saves us money, and is very intuitive and easy to use – and the maintenance costs are extremely low.”

“I can honestly say that we extract every bit of value we can from the system,” Stephen con­cludes. “The fact that we can bring in documents digitally and view them on the screen without any form of paper being involved gives us end-to-end efficiency gains.

“Although we always consider competitive alternatives, we have never yet seen a reason to move away from EASY SOFTWARE. They give us everything we need and support us fantastically. And to have achieved such a smooth upgrade and have had no issues during the peak of the lockdown – when HR had so many other things to deal with – is priceless.”

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