Bentley frees up HR and procurement processes with mobile

Software firm Bentley has mobilised its procurement and HR processes to improve senior management’s acceptance of SAP and allow users to work on the go.


Software firm Bentley has mobilised its procurement and HR processes to improve senior management’s acceptance of SAP and allow users to work on the go.

The engineering design software company, whose services were used for London 2012 Olympic’s infrastructure, has mobilised its SAP HR and procurement processes for 1,500 users so that they feel they are using “current” systems while on the move.

“We have a lot of people all over the world and because we are a software company, we are heavily sales-driven. Our employees and consultants are on the road all the time. Access to workflows on any device ensures timely approval and reduces overall approval cycle time,” Bentley’s SAP ERP manager Jim Frick told SAP’s SAPPHIRE Now conference in Florida last week.

“The senior management approval and perception of SAP is important and mobilising SAP processes, whether they are updates from sales on the CRM side or purchasing approvals, really helps to show how SAP can be current.”

Bentley, a private company with offices in over 45 countries, has over half of its employees reporting to a manager in a different region. As a result, its HR systems deal with the extra complexity of multiple currencies and up to 20 different languages.

Mobile apps are here to stay

The HR and procurement systems were deployed via a mobile app on tablets and mobile phones six months ago. This followed a successful rollout of a mobile app, developed with appsFreedom, to Bentley’s sales teams so they could update SAP CRM while out of the office, over a year ago.

“Mobile applications are here to stay people are going to want simpler things and we know we have to support that regardless of what any kind of dollar value is,” said Frick.

The firm decided to outsource the application development to appsFreedom due to limited resources. The company has just 12 SAP team members working on a wealth of IT projects across the company.

“It is good to have a vendor come in and do the heavy lifting for you so you stay current. As we only had 1,500 users on ERP approval, we didn’t want to spend a huge amount of internal development on it,” he added.

Bentley will be upgrading to version 3 of appsFreedom’s hybrid application service so it can design its own applications for its customer base, but rely on third-party support.

Frick describes Bentley’s infrastructure as taking a “hybrid” approach, with the classic on-premise SAP CRM 7.0, ECC 6.0 with SAP Business Intelligence, SAP cloud-based Sales ondemand.

On the ECC side, the company has also gone live with modules including SuccessFactors, which it is “aggressively” rolling out. It also uses some third-party add-ons, including Concur for travel and expense management, Projector, a tool in the process of developing for project management. On top of that is, the internally developed software used to deliver tools, solutions and marketing presence to its customers around the world.

SAP mobile applications Fiori will now be free for existing SAP customers, following harsh criticism from users who felt they were paying twice, Bill McDermott announced, which the SAP UK User group said would lead to a higher uptake of SAP software.

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