Ultimus Client: Cuatrecasas Law Firm
Industry: Legal Services
Solution: New Employee Process, Human Resources
With a team of more than 1200 people, Cuatrecasas is one of the leading legal firms on the Iberian Peninsula specializing in the various areas of business law. By associating commercial legal practice and litigation with financial and tax practice, Cuatrecasas offers their clients comprehensive legal advice with a special emphasis on personalization and results. Cuatrecasas offer their services through a solid network of integrated offices, providing cooperation, knowledge and know-how with the "single office" system. The development of office automation and knowledge management technology provides the possibility of substantially improving traditional management tools and complementing the intellectual work of the attorney.
To further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the company, Cuatrecasas started looking into solutions that would help them to not only optimize their business processes, but automate them as well. After evaluating several vendors and deciding on Ultimus, they aimed to:
In a fast growing company like Cuatrecasas, human resources was accounting for many major inefficiencies in administration as their processes were not very transparent nor were they traceable. They therefore realized they had room for improvement. Broken flows within the set up process for new hires were causing frustration, and were also preventing newly hired employees from being productive due to missing login information, computers, telephones, etc. In addition, they discovered employee vacation requests held potential for optimization as well.
The IT department was therefore the key driver of process definition and automation as they realized the large benefits regarding greater efficiency, standardization and quality assurance. Without a proper process automation system in place, new starters would have to be added manually to every system they would be involved with, which used to be particularly time-consuming. Therefore, application integration and maximum automation was the main requirement, integrating Ultimus with META4, their HR Application, Hummingbird DM, their document management system, ELITE Enterprise, their Marketing and Contacts Module, and Unicenter, their service desk application.
Once a new employee is hired by Cuatrecasas, their personal information is entered into the system and a process is started. This then kicks off a number of parallel flows that manage the set up of the new user in the various systems, the assigning of computers, telephones, working space and a secretary to the new hire. Another flow ensures that different departments are notified about the new employee. Once all steps are taken, the process comes to an end and the employee is ready to start working on the first day.
Moreover, the HR department is now aware of the status of the various procedures at any time and is therefore assured that everything will be ready at the first working day of the new employee. At the same time, manual errors are eliminated, since plausibility checks are included and synchronization with the various applications is conducted automatically without human interaction. In case of overdue steps, a notification is sent out that allows employees to be aware of any unforeseen events.
Especially for the new employee process, the big challenge Cuatrecasas was faced with was its horizontal complexity. To overcome the challenge of having to synchronize data coming from several people, departments and organizational units, there was a need for application integration with Ultimus. This could be easily performed with the help of either the respective application's standard Web Services (as in the case of ELITE) or in-house developed Web Services.
Ultimus' ability to define responsibilities and to facilitate coordination across parallel flows and different levels of the Cuatrecasas' organizational structure has proven very useful with regard to its integration capability with their HR system META4. For example, one part of the new employee process was the integration between META4 and the Ultimus OrgChart so that the new employee is immediately a new user and part of the OrgChart. In this case, the use of the Ultimus OrgChart enables faster process design, better coordination between departments and optimization of process lag times.
Apart from fully integrating and automating the new employee process, another critical aspect was to implement additional rules to manage special conditions and errors. Therefore, the integration code is configured so that it sends a notification to Ultimus whenever an error occurs. By giving exact information about what exactly failed, Ultimus then notifies the user who then has the opportunity to correct the error manually. Sending and receiving notifications through Ultimus then allows for fast and efficient information and correction management of errors and special conditions.
Not only for the new employee process but especially for the vacation process, Ultimus' capability to interact with external applications was extremely important. The automatic launch of the workflow from an external application (for example META4) and the notification capabilities via email (integrated with MS Outlook) was crucial, especially for the assignment of tasks within the new employee process. As far as the vacation process was concerned, this capability proved even more useful as it is launched from a web page of HR services and moves through policies inside Cuatrecasas' portal. Appropriate form design was important for the proper approval of the vacation request because the forms also included information about the vacation situation of the global team. As a consequence, Ultimus' capability to interact with external applications enables Cuatrecasas to centrally manage vacation coordination for the global team.
From a business perspective, there are numerous advantages due to the automation of the processes: