What Cynthia had to say about her experience…
Capabilities and Needs
“Most of the forms we use require multiple signatures – so the ability to authenticate users and provide electronic signatures was a critical aspect of our decision. Equally important was the ability to delegate approval, encrypt data and send email notifications to approvers.”
Benefits of Process Director
“As people are moving to smart devices, being able to approve documents on-the-go without a physical piece of paper is invaluable. I think moving towards mobile devices is the way companies will remain competitive – and we are a service-oriented company.”
About Memphis Light Gas and Water
Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW) is the largest three-service municipal utility in the U.S. with more than 420,000 customers. Owned by the City of Memphis, MLGW has provided electricity, natural gas, and water service for residents of Memphis and Shelby County since 1939.
Business Challenge – Manual Routing of Forms and Approvals
MLGW launched its intranet to provide employees with information ranging from forms, policies and “how to”s as well as enterprise web applications. After recognizing how well the intranet had been received, the IT team decided to automate the workflow and forms used to manage MLGW’s business.
The team’s initial idea was to eliminate the sheer volume of paper documents that the company used – and to put an end to the delays caused by routing forms to multiple approvers across multiple locations.
According to Jones, “An average form that MLGW uses has three signatures – and could have a maximum of eight. We typically wait a minimum of one day for documents to transfer between locations. As a result, one form could take two weeks to get all the signatures from the approximately 20 locations – and, at any point in time, we could be routing 100 different forms. The need to find a more effective and efficient solution was obvious.”
The IT team identified the features needed to facilitate a company-wide initiative to become “greener.” The new product needed to:
- Integrate seamlessly within MLGW’s existing environment
- Support both internal and external users
- Provide electronic routing and approval at multiple levels
- Use LDAP authentication
- Facilitate electronic signatures
- Be web-based with no client install
- Allow electronic templates to be easily converted
- Send out notifications via GroupWise
- Provide a publication process
- Reside on MLGW’s hardware and be competitively priced
IT began with web searches, Googled electronic forms software and contacted twelve companies to request demos. By eliminating hosted solutions, the list of twelve was narrowed to four and a Request for Proposal sent to the short list.
The competing products were evaluated based on the feature list and Process Director was subsequently selected.
Within 90 days of training, the IT team rolled out a number of forms and workflows simultaneously.
The new workflows are addressing flaws in current processes, allowing users to quickly address and fix them.
- Routing, review and approval times have significantly decreased as users can approve electronic documents on their mobile devices.
- There is greater alignment between IT and business users.
- Being a municipal utility, MLGW must consistently comply with federal regulations. Now that its forms are automated, documents are more easily accessed and audits are faster and smoother.