T-Systems South Africa automates and transforms Accounts Receivable function with AR Accelerator from Linxus
- T-Systems existing processes were highly manual, time-intensive, and prone to inconsistencies and errors
- AR Accelerator enabled a 29% reduction in debtors days and a 20% reduction in Accounts Receivable staff costs
- T-Systems’ clients enjoyed a more seamless and interactive experience – encouraging the prompt payment of invoices
T-Systems South Africa has an established, almost 20-year history in the local market. In this time it has become one of the most successful T-Systems companies outside of Europe – combining global best practice with local expertise, to provide clients with unrivalled ICT services.
Employing 1300 technology professionals, T-Systems South Africa is headquartered in Midrand, north of Johannesburg. It has a second major office in Cape Town as well as representative offices in locations throughout the country.
Its technology solutions open up new opportunities for local clients to embrace the digital future – to create exceptional, real-time experiences for their own customers. This gave rise to the concept of “zero distance”: a principle that informs every aspect of T-Systems’ solutions.
T-Systems was using SAP-based systems to produce its invoices, but the actual delivery of those invoices to customers was a laborious and manual process (largely involving email and follow-up telephone calls).
Customers would often claim that they had not received invoices, documents would get lost; and many hours would be spent – on both the customer side and within T-Systems’ – on searching, matching, resending and chasing documents.
Customers had no simple way to validate an invoice against supporting material – such as a timesheet or a contract, for example.
To gain better control over the delivery of invoices and related documents, T-Systems selected the AR Accelerator from Intervate, powered by Linxus, to enhance the engagement with clients’ Accounts Payable teams.
Linxus is a local software solutions company founded on the basis that simple solutions should be the link between people, processes and technology. AR Accelerator from Intervate is a Linxus solution that provides an easy and fast way to implement smart document delivery and access in any business process.
Linxus MD Russell Glover explains, “When applied in a transactional engagement, AR Accelerator allows for immediate access, response and interaction with documentation, removing the need for archaic and expensive portals, helpdesks or manual processing environments that can degrade and frustrate the customer experience”.
AR Accelerator allowed T-Systems to map invoices and statements, to relevant purchase orders, contracts, timesheets, service level agreements, and other related documents. With all the necessary information available at with just a couple of clicks, clients were empowered to validate, approve and process payments.
An initial beta trial with a handful of customers provided useful feedback and proved the success of the solution, and AR Accelerator was then rolled out to every line of business within T-Systems SA.
As a comprehensive, packaged offering, AR Accelerator required minimal customisation to fit within the T-Systems environment. Small customised features were created to cater for specific reporting needs, and to integrate into certain pockets of its SharePoint infrastructure.
For those clients that had traditionally received physical paper invoices, migrating to the AR Accelerator required that certain annexures to master service agreements be re-signed. With this completed, the solution quickly became the single way of managing invoices and statements across the company.
T-Systems saw both immediate and ongoing benefits from introducing the AR Accelerator:
29% decrease in debtors days: T-Systems SA’s debtors days fell dramatically. For a company of this size, this translated into considerable improvements in cash flow and allocation of resources. Its provision for bad debt could, in fact, be reduced considerably.
20% saving in workforce costs: 20% of the Accounts Receivable staff was redeployed to other areas, as the effort required by the team was significantly reduced. With greater levels of automation and smoother processes, following-up on invoices became simpler and less time-consuming.
Greater levels of accuracy: As the team transitioned from a manual to an automated approach, invoices and statements were more accurately received and processed by clients, and documents never got lost. This enabled faster interactions and turnaround times.
Better customer experience: The Accounts Payable team on the client side can now access all relevant documentation online, whenever they may need it. For quick queries or requests for further information, clients have made use of the chat windows – enabling T-Systems to immediately respond and resolve any issues.
Watertight security, compliance and governance: With AR Accelerator complying to all the applicable information security standards, all parties are guaranteed that sensitive financial information is transmitted securely and in-line with governance requirements.
Andre Strydom, Head of Corporate Finance at T-Systems South Africa notes that AR Accelerator had an almost-immediate effect on the business’ operations: “We’ve seen significant improvements in the way our billings and collections processes function. We’re now in the position to make optimal use of our capital – to grow, innovate, and explore new solutions for our clients.”
Looking further ahead, the next step is to integrate billing requests into the AR Accelerator platform – to enable teams to see an end-to-end lifecycle view of any T-Systems client accounts.
Over time, further customisation and refinement will ensure that T-Systems’ clients continue to receive first-class experiences from its Accounts Receivable department.
About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with around 151 million mobile customers, 30 million fixed-network lines and more than 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2014). The Group provides fixed network, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV products and services for consumers and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries and has approximately 228,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 62.7 billion in the 2014 financial year – more than 60 percent of it outside Germany.
Deutsche Telekom considers the European business customer segment a strategic growth area. Deutsche Telekom offers small, medium-sized and multinational companies ICT solutions for an increasingly complex digital world. In addition to services from the cloud, the range of services is centred around M2M and security solutions, complementary mobile communications and fixed network products, and solutions for virtual collaboration and IT platforms, all of which forms the basis for our customers’ digital business models.
With approximately 47,800 employees worldwide, T-Systems generated revenue of around EUR 8,6 billion in the 2014 financial year.
Since the inception of T-Systems in South Africa in 1997, the company has cemented its position as one of the most successful T-Systems companies outside of Europe. A leading ICT outsourcing service provider locally, T-Systems offers end-to-end ICT solutions in both the ICT Operations and Systems Integration markets. Their extensive portfolio of services covers the vertical, horizontal, IT and TC space. T-Systems South Africa’s head office is located in Midrand with another major office in Cape Town, and 20 further representative offices in locations throughout southern Africa.
Intervate, a T-Systems company in South Africa, is an enabler of digital transformation, delivering digital workplace solutions and customer experiences that drive business value and improve productivity. We have over 14 years’ experience in delivering innovative solutions that enable digital transformation including Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Information Management, Customer Relationship Management, Business Process, Cloud solutions and Enterprise Application Integration. Our technical expertise is supported by an understanding of the strategic drivers and challenges that enable us to provide our customers with professional guidance regarding the best practices proven to deliver successful projects and business benefits.