At the time, the Scottish electronic commerce service (eCommerce) was used by 100 organisations and processes an estimated £5.8 billion per year. North Lanarkshire Council employed around 16,000 staff. The council had 5 services using the eCommerce system as well as two partner companies.
North Lanarkshire Council had various problems with its integration between PECOS (an Internet Procurement Management System) and its finance systems. This meant that failures wouldn’t be reported until an end user was not able to pay an invoice within the council’s e-financials system.
The process would then require investigation followed by logging a call with their Purchase to Pay system provider. This process was often time consuming, sometimes with full batches being resubmitted causing duplicate postings which resulted in council staff manually deleting transactions within e-Financials.
Another requirement came from Culture NL and NL Properties. These organisations received POs and invoices from PECOS through North Lanarkshire Council at the time, but needed to isolate this process and receive these directly. This was important to all parties from a financial management and budgeting perspective.
“The problem with the old interface was that the systems team did not have visibility of individual transactions within batches. The daily control reports were not very informative and the PO and GRN reports did not always capture errors. This meant often failures were only discovered when our end users could not complete subsequent stages of the Procure-to-Purchase process.”
—Senior Procurement Officer, North Lanarkshire Council
Using Mule ESB, Integrella was able to harness a consortium structure in order to integrate the council’s multiple finance systems with PECOS. Integrella implemented a dashboard for the council. This allows users to monitor the progress of messages sent through the new integration hub. The dashboard gives a holistic, real-time view, so if an issue is apparent, it is much easier for Integrella to look into than before. Not having to wait to gain access to PECOS cuts down the time it takes for our team to diagnose and get to work on the problem. This process now takes minutes, not hours.
The flexibility of Mulesoft technology makes it highly customisable. North Lanarkshire Council appreciated this value when they commissioned additional interfaces for Culture NL and North Lanarkshire Properties LLP. These were implemented very quickly and cost effectively.”
– Integrella Consultant
The work Integrella completed helped to make eCommerce more usable for the council, eliminating the lengthy manual process for matching POs, invoices and GRNs. North Lanarkshire council now profit from Integrella’s LTS (Long Term Support) service for its integration infrastructure. Thanks to LTS, the council has seen a 50% reduction in support calls and with maintenance very quick to implement, a further reduction of 50% in the time it takes to resolve them.
“We came up with a solution based on Mule ESB open source software. This gave us much more flexibility in terms of integrating the councils’ new systems as well as proving cost effective for the client.”
– Lead Integration Consultant
“We have seen major benefits since we have upgraded our corporate interface between PECOS and e-Financials and in particular the newly developed reporting dashboards, allowing us to monitor the transferring of individual batches of PO and GRN transactions between both systems.”
– Senior Procurement Officer, North Lanarkshire Council
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