Cisco has started selling a services and software bundle to improve office efficiency, which it claims has helped to slash $50 million off its own annual organisational expenses. The Workforce Optimisation scheme includes offerings from third parties such as Peoplesoft, Ernst & Young, and KPMG, to help firms coordinate and speed up office processes such as expense reporting and human resource management. Barbara Beck, Cisco?s senior vice president of human resources, said: "The financial impact of using workforce optimisation applications at Cisco now exceeds $50 million annually through expense reduction and cost savings. Cisco has the added benefit of significantly increasing its employee productivity and their ability to contribute in a meaningful way." The service comprises four components. The first deals with overhead reductions, by, for example, automating the finance department?s processing of expense claims forms, while the second helps employees create and fill out expense forms online. The informed employee module ensures workers have the right information at the right time. For example, expense details can be downloaded directly from an employee's credit card company onto an expense claims form. The learning component enables employees to learn from the other modules. For example, using predefined rules, the system can inform employees of the maximum amount they can spend on hotel and travel expenses. Steve Bernstein, Cisco's solution product manager, dismissed suggestions that Workforce Optimisation was merely a late 1990s version of workflow, although he said workflow was part of the service.
"Workflow Optimisation makes for a knowledgeable and more empowered employee and takes these concepts onto the Internet," he attested.
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