CareerBuilder.com powers the career sites for more than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL. Needless to say, its business is heavily reliant on its website. The development team at CareerBuilder was getting a slew of requests related to supporting the website as well as ongoing operations. They needed help with channeling, prioritizing, and delivering on those requests. After an evaluation of several solutions, the team chose the Micro Focus BPM offering, Micro Focus Solutions Business Manager to develop a “ticketing system” that would meet the needs of both its development and its internal operations teams.
The ticketing system was a success and very soon, the development team discovered that they could use the same BPM platform to automate and optimize processes that connected their web front end to their operations teams. For instance, the team was able to expand the use of SBM to manage processes around:
Order entry management
Quality assurance (QA): For instance, the QA department was able to cancel a large contract with a QA software provider that was charging for every change made to the QA process. It replaced this solution with a flexible, process-based application using SBM that helps monitor the quality of the various departments within the company.An example of a QA process involves picking out one random recorded phone call per customer service representative per day from the system that houses these recordings. This is then routed with the other relevant information to the QA team. When the QA team receives the ticket, members simply click on a button on the ticket to launch a media player that has been incorporated using Micro Focus BPM’s mashups capabilities to review the recording.
Site issue management: The team has also automated the process for handling website issues that get reported by the business or by website users.
Idea management: A process is now in place that takes suggestions from business users into bi-weekly team meetings to prioritize them and then create projects that get farmed out for different technical teams to work on.
Customer care management: CareerBuilder now has an entire customer care operations department with individuals spread globally who can take various customer requests. These range from posting jobs, to creating job skins, to branding requirements for website pages. Responses to these requests have been automated using SBM.
Sales operations: The sales operations team has benefited from SBM as it can now track and rapidly respond to requests that come in from the sales force.
Project management: The technology team now manages all tasks related to changes, problems, and projects using SBM.
Help desk: CareerBuilder has also built a help desk solution using SBM.
New product/product change requests: CareerBuilder’s product group supports the job seeker and job poster divisions of the company. This group now relies on an automated process that manages requests for new products or changes to products related to these two divisions.
For instance, CareerBuilder offers its clients custom job skins as a product. The sales teams work with large corporations such as Coca Cola to gather the style sheets, graphics, logos, and mockups of how they want the job skin to look. The team then routes this information to a work request group that puts together the specifications, creates the job skin, activates it on the account, and then notifies the sales representative to take a look at the product to verify that it meets the client’s requirements.
The team either launches the product or makes updates based on the sales representative’s feedback. This process of rolling out new products and updating them is now being managed using SBM.
Brian Speagle, application administrator at CareerBuilder, says, “On average, it takes us five business days to build out an application using SBM. Very often, I have groups coming to me saying that they are looking for a solution to manage all the business requests that are currently hard to track via email.
They don’t realize that they need a process for this; it starts with a need for a place to store these requests centrally so that everyone can see, track, and be notified when there are updates to a request. We typically rapidly prototype their process using SBM and adjust the process based on their needs as the process matures. All new processes typically start out in SBM."
Departments within CareerBuilder need the flexibility to tailor processes to meet their changing business needs. As Brian Speagle explains, “We have another workflow offering that we use to manage processes that are ‘solidified’ and that are not likely to change in the next couple of years (wellness or tuition reimbursement processes within the HR department, for example). However, any time we look at using [SBM], we ask the question, ‘will this process change or expand?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ then we absolutely use [SBM] to automate the process. We have evaluated other tools and we cannot find anything that is as flexible to let us make changes to processes on the fly like [SBM].”
For instance, as the business model changes, the sales force’s requirements for new products change quickly. The business might demand that stand-alone products be rolled into bundles, and that processes need to be adapted almost immediately to support the sale of these new offerings. In one instance, a 30-40% change of the product creation work flow was completed in five business hours! In addition, there are requests for information from auditors that need to be provided quickly. With SBM, changes can be made to a process rapidly to visually present that information to the auditors and meet compliance requirements.
There are instances where the criteria for evaluating various departments changes midstream, requiring that the QA department’s processes and the underlying scoring criteria be changed quickly to reflect these updates. SBM lets the team quickly make the changes in under a day and brings the QA program back online prevents backlogs.
All two thousand employees at CareerBuilder can now submit tickets that are then processed by 200 individuals in the technology department using SBM. The requests range from building out a new product, to handling an issue on the site, to making changes to platform configurations. Most requests are funneled through a “contact us” form that the requestor completes by selecting the task type, the area that they want to submit to, and the type of problem that they want addressed. Based on the request, SBM routes the information via email to the right individual for processing. The long-term goal is to use the SharePoint portal as the single point of access for submitting all requests that get processed using SBM.
When CareerBuilder heard about the Business Manager Connect for SharePoint preview program, they were excited to participate, as the company was considering the use of SharePoint for managing projects. While creating a project site on SharePoint allowed the job seeker and job poster product groups to move documentation, attachments, and meeting notes out of their personal computers into a central store for all project-related information, this previously meant duplicating the content on the SBM side and making sure that the right attachments were being stored back in SharePoint. The new SBM Connect for SharePoint solution ensures that teams are working off of the right versions of the project documentation at any given time. As soon as a process is kicked off to manage a project, a new project site is automatically created by SBM in SharePoint, and attachments to tasks in the process are automatically stored back in SharePoint.