This large, independent mail and logistics services company has evolved significantly since their inception 40 years ago. In recent years, their business experienced significant growth as a result of increasing Internet sales, and they wanted to institute a finance & operations infrastructure that could handle significantly higher data and transaction volumes. To keep up with the growing business and deliver their trademark innovation and superior service, they selected Aptitude Software to help them modernize key finance applications.
In the organization’s previous finance architecture, data was stored in multiple source systems that were not sufficiently integrated. Pricing and invoicing applications lived in separate systems and a complex user interface made it difficult for the business and IT to make changes to applications and understand what was happening behind the scenes. They needed a way to process significantly more transactions, in a more open and timely fashion. They envisioned bringing all of their financial processing into a single place, allowing them to cope with present and projected future demand.
A Platform for Development
The company was aware that Aptitude Software had a powerful technology platform for building applications and were unique among software providers for having finance domain expertise. The Aptitude platform offered a single graphical environment on which they could design, develop, and maintain both their pricing and invoicing applications. The nature of the environment meant that smaller development teams could manage the design and development of complex business applications, without needing a range of different skill sets.
Project Aspects: Delivering Finance Engines
First, the organization used the Aptitude platform to rebuild their legacy invoicing application. The current application was strained by the rapid growth of the business and was not flexible enough to accommodate new business models. Invoicing runs were taking 24-36 hours and the application lacked transparency. Since billing speed and accuracy are critical differentiators for them (and other operators in this competitive industry), performance and reliability of the invoicing application were critical for success.
In just 3 months, the Aptitude Software team used the platform’s integration and standardization layer to bring together customer, contract, financial and product data to create an enriched invoice processing capability. Aptitude’s significant processing power meant that invoicing processing time was more than 12x faster, falling from 24-36 hours to less than 3 hours while a web-based application interface for data maintenance and invoice workflow management provided the business team with control, transparency and the ability to audit operations.
Rules Based Pricing Engine
A year and a half later, pleased with the results of the invoicing application, they wanted to address other areas of the business and again approached Aptitude Software. This time they used the Aptitude platform to build an engine to calculate consignment pricing. The platform allowed them to define complex rules using a graphical interface and then integrate reference, market and financial data to calculate pricing. Processing time was 2x faster with the new application and gave the team more transparency into the previously ‘black box’ of pricing rules. One key benefit of the Aptitude platform was the ability to easily calculate rules and processes within one platform, rather than an assortment of other technologies. This flexibility helped them respond to market changes with innovative products, like offering seasonal pricing during holidays.
Following the success of both the invoice processing and pricing applications, the organization built a Credits and Debits Note Generation application and may use the Aptitude platform to rebuild additional legacy applications. Aptitude's easy integration with various in-house source systems makes it much easier to rebuild legacy applications and attain the company vision of a more consolidated application landscape.
Summary of Results Delivered
Having flexible finance engines that could be integrated into existing business processes allowed this large logistics provider to deliver the following results:
- Invoice processing time now 12x faster, pricing processing time now 2x faster
- Enabled the rapid processing of high volumes of data and complex calculations
- Sped response to market & regulatory changes
- Delivered improved business transparency and enhanced audit capabilities
- Seamless integration with various in-house source systems
- Encouraged continuous business improvement and faster innovation, allowing them to implement new pricing elements and new applications.
Regardless of how the business changes, this dynamic and forward thinking Finance team will be able to quickly adjust to new opportunities and scale to meet new business objective.
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