Success Stories

With the rise of new technologies, shared service centers (SSC) need to constantly adapt their way of operating. While the goal of delivering cost-efficient, high-quality services will remain the same in the future, the way SSCs perform these services is changing dramatically. A shining example of this trend is Avis Budget Group. Its SSC in Budapest has been supporting the group’s subsidiaries with its expertise for nearly 15 years. In recent times, more and more activities have been automated that previously had to be done manually. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, Avis Budget Group is continuously driving productivity and the quality of its services. Its collaboration with Finmatics is a case in point. By using ArtificiaI Intelligence, the SSC Financial Services department reduced it’s workload for document handling while improving the quality of its data. We talked to Damien O’Kane, Senior Director Financial Services, and Barna Bogdan, Transformation Manager, about how innovative technologies transform the way financial services are delivered in SSCs.

 

Avis Budget Group, Inc. is a leading global provider of mobility solutions, both through its Avis and Budget brands, which have more than 11,000 rental locations in approximately 180 countries around the world. If you now think that operating a business of this magnitude must come with a hell lot of paperwork, you are right. The term paperwork, though, becomes increasingly inappropriate as the group continues to replace paper with electronic data interchanges and automated processes. At its SSC in Budapest, digitalization and AI profoundly change the way of operating. Especially when it comes to financial services, the potential is enormous. “We used to process all incoming documents manually. So, the accounts payable team was first scanning and then indexing the incoming invoices. Obviously, that comes with a lot of repetitive activities”, says Barna Bogdan. Now, with the help of Abacus, invoices can be read automatically and the data is transferred directly to the accounting system for further processing.

 

“The key motivation for our digitalization efforts is to eliminate repetitive, manual and non-value add tasks”, Damien O’Kane explains. “If I receive an electronic PDF from a partner, why would I have to enter that information manually, when actually there are tools that can read that document for me and eventually do 90% of the work?”, he asks rhetorically.

 

There is nothing so useless as doing what should not have to be done at all

Peter Drucker referred to this back in  1963. It still holds true today. “Scanning and indexing documents all day is not always a task that motivates and tests our P2P colleagues. O’Kane says. “Reducing the amount of time spent on those activities frees up  time to focus on value-add activities like providing information to our vendors or resolving discrepancies. That, in turn, enables us to focus on complex queries and provide rewarding roles for our people”, he explains further and touches upon an integral point considering the relatively high attrition rates in the SSC industry.

 

The collateral beauty of working with Artificial Intelligence

Improved job satisfaction is one of the many  benefits of process automation in addition to the uplift in productivity. Introducing an AI-based technology can help to improve the service quality in more than one way:

 

“While a person will try and identify and fix all data discrepancies, our apps will always highlight where there is one. That forces you to keep your data clean”, said O’Kane. “In order to get Abacus to perform at its full capacity, we  acted quickly to improve the quality of our data”, Barna Bogdan adds. So, the positive effect on data quality is twofold: First, working with Artificial Intelligence incentivizes organizations to keep a certain level of data hygiene to be able to leverage the technology. And second, by reading information automatically, the potential for error is substantially reduced compared to manually inputting data.

“By using Abacus we are able to optimize our own processes and help our partners to digitize theirs”, O’Kane says and refers to a supplier portal that the SSC has recently introduced in collaboration with Finmatics. The digital PDF-platform serves as an interface between the SSC and its vendors who can electronically upload their invoices for further processing at Avis Budget Group. “That benefits everyone. The suppliers can move to a paperless way-of-working, removing the need to post invoices and ensuring they arrive with us much more quickly and efficiently”, O’Kane explains.

 

Looking back at the beginning

Having an organizational ecosystem change the way it works may seem like a daunting task. However, “we have a diverse and adaptable team here at Avis Budget Group who are keen to embrace new technologies”, O’Kane states. “ Abacus helps us with this with its intuitive user interface. Two hours of initial training are sufficient to get people up to speed. And once they start using the software, they see the benefits it brings. From my experience, most people gladly work with new technologies as soon as they realize that it makes their lives easier”, Bogdan adds.

“We started to work with Abacus six months ago. We now process more invoices through the tool than manually, and this is where we see bigger efficiencies”, Bogdan recounts. “ Finmatics showed the flexibility to respond to our needs and accommodate them along the way. In the end, our success can be attributed to the way multiple teams  worked together towards a common goal”, O’Kane concludes. And we can only agree to that. Thank you for this enriching teamwork experience!

With the rise of new technologies, shared service centers (SSC) need to constantly adapt their way of operating. While the goal of delivering cost-efficient, high-quality services will remain the same in the future, the way SSCs perform these services is changing dramatically. A shining example of this trend is Avis Budget Group. Its SSC in Budapest has been supporting the group’s subsidiaries with its expertise for nearly 15 years. In recent times, more and more activities have been automated that previously had to be done manually. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, Avis Budget Group is continuously driving productivity and the quality of its services. Its collaboration with Finmatics is a case in point. By using AI software, the SSC Financial Services department reduced it’s workload for document handling while improving the quality of its data. We talked to Damien O’Kane, Senior Director Financial Services, and Barna Bogdan, Transformation Manager, about how innovative technologies transform the way financial services are delivered in SSCs.

 

Avis Budget Group, Inc. is a leading global provider of mobility solutions, both through its Avis and Budget brands, which have more than 11,000 rental locations in approximately 180 countries around the world. If you now think that operating a business of this magnitude must come with a hell lot of paperwork, you are right. The term paperwork, though, becomes increasingly inappropriate as the group continues to replace paper with electronic data interchanges and automated processes. At its SSC in Budapest, digitalization and AI profoundly change the way of operating. Especially when it comes to financial services, the potential is enormous. “We used to process all incoming documents manually. So, the accounts payable team was first scanning and then indexing the incoming invoices. Obviously, that comes with a lot of repetitive activities”, says Barna Bogdan. Now, with the help of Abacus, invoices can be read automatically and the data is transferred directly to the accounting system for further processing.

 

“The key motivation for our digitalization efforts is to eliminate repetitive, manual and non-value add tasks”, Damien O’Kane explains. “If I receive an electronic PDF from a partner, why would I have to enter that information manually, when actually there are tools that can read that document for me and eventually do 90% of the work?”, he asks rhetorically.

 

There is nothing so useless as doing what should not have to be done at all

Peter Drucker referred to this back in  1963. It still holds true today. “Scanning and indexing documents all day is not always a task that motivates and tests our P2P colleagues. O’Kane says. “Reducing the amount of time spent on those activities frees up  time to focus on value-add activities like providing information to our vendors or resolving discrepancies. That, in turn, enables us to focus on complex queries and provide rewarding roles for our people”, he explains further and touches upon an integral point considering the relatively high attrition rates in the SSC industry.

 

The collateral beauty of working with AI

Improved job satisfaction is one of the many  benefits of process automation in addition to the uplift in productivity. Introducing an AI-based technology can help to improve the service quality in more than one way:

 

“While a person will try and identify and fix all data discrepancies, our apps will always highlight where there is one. That forces you to keep your data clean”, said O’Kane. “In order to get Abacus to perform at its full capacity, we  acted quickly to improve the quality of our data”, Barna Bogdan adds. So, the positive effect on data quality is twofold: First, working with AI incentivizes organizations to keep a certain level of data hygiene to be able to leverage the technology. And second, by reading information automatically, the potential for error is substantially reduced compared to manually inputting data.

“By using Abacus we are able to optimize our own processes and help our partners to digitize theirs”, O’Kane says and refers to a supplier portal that the SSC has recently introduced in collaboration with Finmatics. The digital PDF-platform serves as an interface between the SSC and its vendors who can electronically upload their invoices for further processing at Avis Budget Group. “That benefits everyone. The suppliers can move to a paperless way-of-working, removing the need to post invoices and ensuring they arrive with us much more quickly and efficiently”, O’Kane explains.

 

Looking back at the beginning

Having an organizational ecosystem change the way it works may seem like a daunting task. However, “we have a diverse and adaptable team here at Avis Budget Group who are keen to embrace new technologies”, O’Kane states. “ Abacus helps us with this with its intuitive user interface. Two hours of initial training are sufficient to get people up to speed. And once they start using the software, they see the benefits it brings. From my experience, most people gladly work with new technologies as soon as they realize that it makes their lives easier”, Bogdan adds.

“We started to work with Abacus six months ago. We now process more invoices through the tool than manually, and this is where we see bigger efficiencies”, Bogdan recounts. “ Finmatics showed the flexibility to respond to our needs and accommodate them along the way. In the end, our success can be attributed to the way multiple teams  worked together towards a common goal”, O’Kane concludes. And we can only agree to that. Thank you for this enriching teamwork experience!

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