Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Business Process Management
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is based in St. Louis, Missouri, and runs approximately 6,900 branch offices around the world. Enterprise routes all of its information system requests through its information systems group housed in the home office. Until recently, Enterprise used an outdated process for managing corporate requests. The Enterprise Requests Online system assisted the Requests department in handling product and service requests. The system automated everything from setting up a new laptop to opening a new Enterprise Rent-A-Car office. To make a request, Enterprise employees would navigate to a corporate Web site where a system request from was located. Fifteen categories of requests were provided for employees, who entered the details of the problem into a text box. The Web form generated an e-mail to the Requests department that managed its job queue from its e-mail inbox.
While such a system was considered state of the art ten years ago, it has inherent problems that more modern systems have addressed. For one thing, e-mail is a difficult communications medium to manage. Individual messages must be opened to examine details of the request. Messages are also easy to lose. Those seeking help cannot see how or whether their request is being handled. Maintaining a history of work requests over many years is next to impossible with such a system.
Enterprise decided to revamp and improve its work request process to streamline the process and improve service to its branch offices. The information system that Enterprise wanted is called a business process management (BPM) system-an automated method of streamlining business process. Enterprise turned to APPIAN, a company that specializes in BPM systems. The two worked together to produce a powerful BPM system for managing incoming information system requests.
Enterprise's new Request Online system provides users with detailed options to narrow request to ne of 200 request types. The system recognizes the user and lists only options for that particular branch office. For example, the system detects software. This focuses the options to those that interest the user, saving time. The software also fills in the user data, such as name, phone, and location, saving even more time. Once submitted, users of the system can view the progress of their request in a job queue page.
On the back end, Requests staff uses an executive dashboard application to keep track of their work. The system tracks all jobs in the queue and produces useful reports, which provide graphical information to the dashboard that indicates how smooth operations are running. Using these visual cues, employees can tell if they are keeping up with the work, and managers can decide how many workers are required to meet the load. Using other reports, managers can determine which months of the year are busiest and which weeks, days, and hours require the most or least amount of staffing.
The new system is expected to save Enterprise between 15 and 20 percent in costs and time in administrative data entry activities. Already the savings are being felt. Enterprise has redeployed its staff from maintaining the old legacy system to jobs that are more "strategically valuable."
1. What is the purpose of business process management systems? What benefits do they provide?
2. What problems did the original Enterprise Requests Online system have?
Critical Thinking Questions
1. What attributes do you think make up a system that is optimized for the greatest convenience to users?
2. What factors would lead a business to decide that it is time to improve its business processes with a new MIS?
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