Leveraging Mendix platform we reduced the time needed to manage 1 business trip by 51%.
The Objectivity travel team supports the planning, booking, authorisation and reconciliation of travel trips for Objectivity employees; all business travel was managed using spreadsheets. The entire process was manual and some of the steps were time-consuming, requiring input and document sharing between multiple stakeholders, such as the travel team, finance and quality.
For our employees, we set out to create a travel app which would enable employees to manage their expenses for all business travel. Automation and data integration were our main motivators behind the travel app. The app had to provide both overview and detailed views of expenses for individuals employees, clients, trips and time periods including all outstanding or settled expenses for trips.
For our travel team, the app had to provide appropriate security privileges to enable the business travel team and finance and quality to organise, authorise, manage and audit business travel for all employees.
The app had to be user-friendly and intuitive and to support the teams involved in managing expenses. It had to provide reconciliation of the costs and store supporting documentation for audit purposes.
What we did
We assessed the packages available on the market but there were none which fulfilled our requirements, so we investigated developing the app ourselves.
We compared the cost of developing the app in Angular to developing it on a low-code platform, Mendix. The Mendix estimate was one-third of the cost and one-third of the time of the Angular estimate. Even though the low-code option was so much quicker and cheaper, it is important to recognise that applications built using the Mendix framework are full stack applications, consisting of data, pages, logic and security.
One of the advantages of using a low-code platform is that it creates collaborative environment for all team members, no matter the background. Business analysts, product owner, accountants, UX experts and project managers were all able to provide feedback and contribute even at early stages of development.
Within three weeks, we were able to develop, test and release the alpha version of the app.
The travel team can now register all trips and expenses in the app and assign them to specific employees and clients. The various parties responsible for processing this data can be granted different level accesses to the application and can use it simultaneously.
The application can automatically convert currencies, calculate the amount of daily allowance to be reimbursed to employees and assign any expenses to be invoiced to the client. It also generates monthly reports for our clients and our internal teams.
The application was deployed on the Mendix cloud and we used the responsive web design approach for desktop use.
Easy logging of trips for travellers including consolidation of all costs associated with trips.
We have a streamlined process with no overlap and no duplication.
Communication between stakeholders is clear and timely.
Data is protected from loss or overwriting.
Data protection and confidentiality is provided within the app, which allows various access levels (Business Travel User, Business Travel Admin, Controlling User, Finance User).
Process automation has realised 30%-40% time saved in settling accounts.
Each travel team user has saved 2 hours manual process per day.
Reports can be specified and generated within 1-3 minutes in 2 simple steps.
Integration with internal systems (Jira, Outlook) has removed manual keying of data.
Using Agile in conjunction with low-code has delivered a cost-effective way to solve our problem and future changes will be similarly quick and easy to deploy.