Challenge

General Motors (GM) products move people and goods on almost every continent on earth. In addition to producing its well-known Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Isuzu, Vauxhall, and Wuling brands, GM actively pursues advanced research and development of vehicle electrification and high-volume, fuel-saving technologies. The company’s 212,000 employees work in 396 facilities, across 23 time zones, on six continents, and speak more than 50 languages combined.

Recently GM discovered that moving people and internal assets could sometimes be more challenging than rolling vehicles off the assembly line. With a large global footprint, over time the company had developed thousands of internal procedures and a range of information systems designed to manage specific types of data and workflows. As the company consolidated operations and moved employees, its internal requisition process was seriously affecting employee productivity. Complex and slow, the process created a deluge of backlogged requests and demanded a new solution.

For employees who were relocating, ordering—and receiving—phones or computers for their new workspaces could take up to five weeks. First, they had to navigate a complex set of back-end systems to find the online requisition form, which could take 10 to 15 minutes. And even though the form was online, the rest of the requisition, procurement, and delivery processes were manual. After the employee submitted the form, a purchase request typically required multiple levels of approval and generated additional documents. Several internal groups usually had to review and approve documents, slowing the workflow. In addition to the employee’s manager, the operations, network, engineering, finance, and telecom teams were often involved, depending on the item requested. Employees were especially frustrated with the process because they had no way to check the status of their requests or know when to expect the items.

Staff members involved in approval cycles were also overwhelmed. If a specified approver was out of the office, nothing happened until they returned. Requests could easily be overlooked in overflowing email in-boxes. The IT team was experiencing the brunt of the problem. Trouble ticket volumes were skyrocketing, with 300,000 equipment requests backlogged worldwide.

“Something had to be done,” said Vish Narayanan, Architect for General Motors. “We wanted to inject efficiencies into the workflow process and allow users to leverage their mobile devices, for anywhere, anytime access.”

GM found exactly what it was looking for with MobileForce Software®.

 

Solution

Because GM’s headquarters and main facilities are in the United States, the company decided to resolve its requisition workflow issue for U.S. employees first. GM chose the MobileForce Unification Engine to connect applications across multiple back-end systems. The MobileForce Unification Engine provided out-of-the-box application connectors and mobile integration plug-ins to GM’s SharePoint, Oracle, SAP, and IT asset management systems. MobileForce gives GM integrated, guided access to multiple requisition workflows, automated form filling from multiple back-end systems, real-time status checks, and actionable alerts—all in one app. GM employees can now access all of the required workflows apps with a single sign-on.

With the MobileForce Enterprise Container App (Native) and Web Apps (HTML5), GM users have native, touch-optimized access to requisition workflows from their iOS, Android, laptop, or desktop devices. The MobileForce Enterprise Container App component unifies and secures GM’s applications for mobile access and use.

The MobileForce solution is delivered as a cloud service with business process orchestration that securely executes any sequence of workflows across cloud and premises-based applications. Apps are managed centrally, and the MobileForce Management Console interface makes it easy for IT to configure and customize apps together in minutes and immediately push changes to all devices. MobileForce analytics also provide real-time information about users, device types, operating systems, and content accessed, as well as reporting for administrators.

GM launched the new app in just six weeks, without requiring expensive custom systems integration.

“We eliminated siloed processes, double data entries, and input errors without complicated, expensive system integration technologies,” said Narayanan.

 

Results

The new MobileForce app has transformed the requisition process for GM’s U.S. employees. Employees can quickly find the items they want, from any device. In just seconds, they click on the item, the app automatically creates a requisition in the SAP system and routes it to the employee’s manager for approval. At each step of the workflow, the integrated form is automatically populated with required data from multiple backend systems, requiring minimal data entry from requestors or approvers.

Each workflow participant is kept informed. After one group approves the request, the next group in the process is alerted to the incoming request. Recipients can act immediately on the alert, regardless of the device they are using, which accelerates the requisition’s progress.

With the MobileForce app, GM reduced request-processing time from five weeks to one. The IT team reduced trouble tickets for non-critical services by more than 30 percent and increased efficiency by 25 percent.

Employees find the app simple to use. MobileForce apps operate as native apps on mobile devices, automatically behaving as they should, whether the employee is using an iOS or Android device. The personalized, role-based interface enables simple, effective usage. Users can check the status of their active workflow requests anytime, anywhere.

The MobileForce dashboard lets administrators easily monitor workflow tasks, report on metrics, fix errors, re-route requests, and fine-tune processes to optimize processing time and maximize ticket throughput. And because the workflow is integrated in a secure, unified app, IT was able to avoid systems integration costs while eliminating the errors associated with siloed applications and manual data entry.

“The MobileForce solution delivered far more than we could have hoped for,” said Narayanan. “Having to integrate multiple back-end systems would have added time and complexity to the project. MobileForce helped us make our internal wheels turn quickly, easily, and with outstanding results.”