Success Story

BC Hydro

BC Hydro automates HR Business Processes with XFT Personnel File

BC Hydro is a Canadian Crown corporation and the largest electric utility in British Columbia. BC Hydro selected XFT to increase the consistency and reliability of employee files through a records-keeping process that inherently promotes compliance with corporate policies and legal mandates, while creating a system that simplifies administration and also gives employees direct access to their personal employee files on request.

The Challenge

Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, BC Hydro is a Canadian Crown corporation and the largest electric utility in British Columbia. Mandated with providing safe, reliable and competitively priced electrical service to the province’s more than 1.9 million customers, BC Hydro is capable of generating more than 11,000 megawatts of electricity through its integrated system of 31 hydroelectric facilities and three thermal generating plants. BC Hydro also maintains a network of over 75,000 kilometers of distribution lines, 300 substations, 900,000 utility poles and 325,000 individual transformers to deliver electricity to customers. In 2012, BC Hydro reported net income of $558 million and employed more than 6,000 people.

Following decades of tracking employee information using a largely paper-based system, changing organizational needs and regulatory requirements were increasingly straining the limits of BC Hydro’s personnel file management system. In addition to the time, resource and storage challenges associated with handling paper, government mandated rights of access to up-to-date file information and confidentiality highlighted the need for a more flexible and secure records-keeping system.

Convinced that significant efficiencies could be introduced into the file management process, the HR management team at BC Hydro began investigating electronic document management systems (EDMS). Beyond simply replacing paper, they envisioned a highly efficient, end-toend solution that would streamline day-to-day work processes and administrative tasks, while providing the flexibility and scalability required to adapt to changing market conditions. Specifically, they envisioned a solution that would enable them to:

  • Develop a secure, forms-based system whereby employee documents are initiated, tracked, approved and stored without the need to generate a single piece of paper.
  • Construct a comprehensive “digital file” that contains all of a workers employment records, eliminating the need to physically manage files or send highly confidential documents through the company’s internal
    mail system.
  • Leverage the company’s considerable SAP infrastructure investments, including Human Capital Management (HCM), forms management and Self Service software, eliminating the need to duplicate or maintain capabilities that already exist within the organization.
  • Seamlessly integrate more than 650,000 legacy paper documents scheduled for conversion into digital form.

Presented with the opportunity to completely re-think document management practices for personnel records administration, the HR team jumped on the chance to create a much more efficient, transparent and scalable alternative to
its aging paper-based system.

The Solution

In-Depth Evaluation Results in XFT Deployment
Before tackling its massive collection of historical paper files, BC Hydro decided to focus its resources on getting up and running on the new file management system. Recognizing the profound impact initial infrastructure decisions would have on HR operations over the long haul, BC Hydro carefully evaluated its options and decided to implement SAP-based XFT Personnel File. Highly flexible and scalable, XFT Personnel File would enable the HR department at BC Hydro to:

  • Increase the consistency and reliability of employee files through a records-keeping process that inherently promotes compliance with corporate policies and legal mandates.
  • Provide secure intranet access to personnel information — at the file, folder, document or field level — based on SAP Self Service authorizations and user roles.
  • Increase visibility into the document creation and management process through automatic status monitoring, activity logging and comprehensive audit trails.
  • Provide time-limited, secure e-mail links to employee records using SAP Lend, with read-only access based on an employee’s Self Service role.
  • Independently design and implement detailed workflow and approval processes, eliminating the need to rely on IT resources to adapt to changing business conditions.

Backfile Conversion Exceeds Expectations

With its new EDMS in place, the management team at BC Hydro still faced the need to convert more than 650,000 legacy documents, all of which existed prior to the XFT deployment. Ranging from old dot matrix printouts to half sheets of paper, faded documents and sticky notes, these difficult-to-digitize paper records raised significant logistical and legal concerns surrounding the conversion process and subsequent migration into XFT.

Skeptical of finding a workable solution, the BC Hydro team turned to Spectrum Information Services NW, Inc. (SIS NW), a leading provider of advanced imaging solutions, to help solve their conversion challenges. Working in conjunction with Accenture Business Services of British Columbia, which provides transactional outsourcing services to BC Hydro, the team:

  • Identified 27 distinct document types for conversion and developed the methodology required to ensure each document was properly tagged and categorized during the data capture and indexing process.
  • Eliminated error-prone manual data entry tasks by implementing a bar coded system for identifying an employee’s file information by name, ID number and document type during the scanning process.
  • Developed the quality assurance controls necessary to ensure image quality and process integrity, including comparative reviews of all documents pre- and post-scanning for readability, file contents for completeness and to ensure all documents ended up in the right place and under the right employee name.
  • Provided a complete listing of all scanned documents to BC Hydro, with log files, audit trails and metadata information for all documents scanned into the system.

“Given the state of some of the documents in our paper files, we were extremely skeptical that anyone could cost-effectively digitize these records and consistently deliver the image quality we required to confidently destroy the original paper documents,” said Lynne Foster, Managerof HR Systems and Analytics for BC Hydro. “Yet on-time and within budget, SIS NW achieved the hoped for results at a fraction of the cost associated with acquiring comparable skills and technology in-house. With an intense focus on quality and accountability, they really hit the ball out of the park, exceeding our expectations on all fronts.”

“Rather than duplicating existing infrastructure, XFT enabled us to build upon our SAP and FileNet Content Manager investments to put in place a high performance EDMS that is easy to navigate and use. Its structured folder design provides our managers with an intuitive way to access HR information, with drilldown access to individual documents or specific file details. Always up-todate, XFT is a natural fit for our organization, greatly simplifying all aspects of our day-to-day HR operations.”
Matt Horwood Project Manager for BC Hydro

The Results

Today, the HR department at BC Hydro is operating at peak efficiency with its new XFT Personnel File management system. More than ‘simply replacing paper,’ the team successfully executed on its vision of an end-to-end paperless system that automates workflows and approval processes — both routine and ad hoc — freeing up valuable resources for more strategic people management activities.

In the process, the HR team dramatically increased visibility into the document creation and management process, with capabilities ranging from e-mail deadline notifications to ensure projects always stay on track, to comprehensive audit trails for legal- and regulatory-reporting purposes. The days when an employee file had to be tracked down in an approving manager’s inbox or recreated to fill in missing information are happily in the past.

From a security perspective, employee confidentiality is now safeguarded through SAP services, eliminating a significant source of potential liability for the utility. Secure, documented access to personnel information ensures only authorized representatives are able to retrieve all, or parts of, an employee’s file, with indi- nqualified success.” vidual access granted based upon their SAP Self Service authorization or user role.

By eliminating the need to store paper, the HR department also reclaimed sorely needed office real estate, while reducing document delivery times by up to four days — a considerable timesavings that is contributing to efficiencies across all aspects of BC Hydro’s operations — from how long it takes to on-board a new employee, to fulfilling an employee’s request to access their employment file within the government-mandated 24-hour timeframe.

“With XFT, the on-boarding of new employees, updating of existing records or compilation of workforce metrics for strategic planning purposes has never been easier,” continued Ms. Foster. “In this and many other ways, the impact of XFT on our organization cannot be understated. It has allowed us to re-think and re-tool internal HR processes, resulting in best practice solutions that optimize how we allocate people resources for the betterment of our business. XFT and SIS NW played a critical role in helping make this a reality for BC Hydro and ensuring.

Highlights

XFT Personnel File doesn’t just collect personnel documents, it makes them an integral part of HR process management. Preconfigured standard processes increase the transparency and efficiency of processes and ensure that nothing important is lost. And as every process and every change is documented, XFT Personnel File is the safe choice from a legal perspective.

Use of the role-based authorization system of SAP HCM ensures that, despite transparency, confidential information remains confidential. HCM users can access files according to their SAP HCM authorizations, while occasional users’ access is based on their SAP user role. Timecontrolled processes (e.g. for automatic deletion of warnings and reprimands) ensure that personnel files meet legal requirements, while predefined dual control workflows provide the required level of control.

XFT Personnel File is based 100 % on SAP, and seamlessly integrates with SAP HCM. This means that you can use SAP authorizations as well as all SAP standard scenarios, from SAP transactions to portal applications such as MSS/ ESS. XFT Personnel File also works directly with SAP data and not with data duplicates in a separate mirror system. Thus all information is easy to access and always up to date.

Programming of all XFT Products follows a modular design, based on the principle of service-oriented architecture (SOA). Communication with the SAP HCM system takes place via clearly-defined interfaces (service providers). This makes it possible to connect several separate SAP HCM systems to the digital personnel file, even if they are running different releases or custom developments. XFT Personnel File can be used with all scanning and archiving solutions supporting the SAP ArchiveLink interface, among them all market leaders.