CubeSmart Streamlines New-Hire Processing & HR Audits with Workflow Automation
- OpenText .Net Workflow Server from OpenText, Inc.
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CubeSmart (formerly U-Store-It) is a self-administered self-managed real estate company that focuses on the ownership, operation, acquisition, and development of more than 400 self-storage facilities across the USA. When a new employee is hired at any of these locations, steps need to be taken to give the new employee access to the appropriate company resources (such as hardware, email, network, applications, and client data).
Formerly, these human resource steps were completed using a time-consuming manual process. Typically, the hiring manager would complete a paper user-access request form detailing the company resources the new employee would need to access. This form was then mailed or faxed to the CIO at the corporate office for approval. Upon arrival, the form was then sent to IT and/or applicable business application owners to grant the new employee access. Finally, the IT department would contact the hiring manager when all tasks on the form had been completed.
As in most manual paper-based processes, documents could sometimes be held up on desks or in mailboxes, which prevented the new employee from being given access in a timely manner. Additionally, Sarbanes-Oxley audits were time-consuming for CubeSmart. “Auditors would sometimes request information on specific employees and what company resources they had access to,” says Jennifer Bridgwater, IT project manager at CubeSmart. “With the manual method, this meant pulling those employees files, letting the auditors leaf through them, and then refilling the documents.”
Accelerate Forms Routing With Workflow
On a previous project, Ajai Nair, CIO of CubeSmart, had worked with integrator BizTech, and he suggested the Company contract them to create a workflow solution to automate its forms request process. OpenText .Net Workflow Server was chosen by BizTech and CubeSmart for the implementation because the software is based on Microsoft .NET technologies and would enable the team to quickly develop and integrate new workflows. BizTech is an OpenText authorized reseller and has been integrating the product into custom solutions for over a decade. All in all, it took just two months to develop automatic workflows for user-access requests.
Once the solution was implemented at CubeSmart headquarters, the Company’s education department trained employees using a combination of online and remote methods to walk them through how to access and use the new electronic forms. “The new electronic form mimics the paper form the managers were used to, and they access it via the Web, so it was an easy transition for them,” says Bridgwater. The forms can also be accessed and approved from a smartphone.
Today, when a hiring manager needs to complete a user-access request, they log on to the Web interface, complete the electronic form, and click ‘submit’. The form is automatically sent to the CIO for approval. From there, it is sent to IT and/or business application owners, who grant access. Once this is complete, a notification is sent to the hiring manager to confirm request fulfillment. The form is now on the CIO’s desk from the hiring manager within seconds, rather than days.
The new forms processing solution has also streamlined CubeSmart’s audits. The application creates an audit trail for each form, which details when a form was created and by whom, as well as a log of each person who acknowledged/approved the form. Electronic audit trail records can be pulled up for the auditor in seconds. “The integrity of our data is much improved,” says Bridgwater. “We no longer have to worry about the possibility of forms being misfiled or incomplete.”
Since the initial deployment of OpenText .Net Workflow Server, CubeSmart has been working with BizTech on additional workflows to streamline processing at the company. Besides automated forms routing for user access, the company has created online forms for user termination, financial system requests, returned checks, hardware requests, change management requests, and incident reporting.