Westminster Council Rings in the Changes
Xoomworks team delivers procurement project at central London council and irons out glitches with Ariba system
The Challenge: Westminster City Council is responsible for local services in one of the busiest areas of the UK. In the heart of London, its boundaries include the Houses of Parliament, Oxford Street and Hyde Park.
The council had bought the Ariba Buyer system to improve the efficiency of its £400 million annual spending on goods and services ranging from IT hardware to office supplies to temporary labour.
Procurement executives needed to bring together several processes to create a single streamlined purchase-to-pay system. They needed greater visibility over the council’s spend and the ability to negotiate better deals with suppliers.
The Xoomworks Solution: A team of Xoomworks professionals was called in to progress the implementation of the Ariba Buyer project. Despite external support, the system had been in its implementation phase for several months. With help from Xoomworks, the implementation was complete in just four months.
Throughout the project, Xoomworks consultants played a central role in several key aspects of the implementation:
Xoomworks carried out analysis of Westminster Council’s third-party spend to help them identify commodities and suppliers to enable onto Ariba, such as temporary labour, IT hardware and children services. This information was then mapped into the Ariba Buyer system.
Business process re-engineering
Once the complex task of determining who was responsible for buying goods and services on behalf of the council and what procurement processes they were following was completed, the even more challenging task of influencing people to agree new, more efficient ways of working was supported by Xoomworks through user workshops and acceptance testing to ensure that key departmental staff were happy with the new processes.
A range of technical tasks were identified and completed by Xoomworks. These included adding functionality to the Ariba system - adding an invoicing module, for example - and making changes to the user interface. Some of the business rules covering who is authorised to sign purchases off were changed and a catalogue filtering process installed, limiting those members of staff who could order from suppliers in some areas.
Xoomworks completed two major components of the project before it reverted to its business-as-usual phase. First, we trained the first-line help desk team to deal with everyday enquiries on the Ariba Buyer system. In addition Xoomworks took over second-line support as part of the continuing managed service.
The results: Since go-live, Xoomworks has responded to the needs of Westminster to identify further efficiencies to improve functionality, enabling greater ease of use and an increase in the number of people able to use the system.Xoomworks were able to identify and respond quickly and effectively to resolve a major system interface issue, averting a significant risk to year-end accounting processes.