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The Digital A to Z

Pontoon Solutions Cost transparency, time savings and compliance security account for added value.

Adecco’s recent offer of invitation to a digitization-themed Investor Day in London was met with great interest. One of the highlights presented by the global recruitment agency included the chatbot Mya. The virtual assistant is the result of Adecco’s strategic partnership with manufacturing firm Mya Systems, so far in use at its locations in the US. Mya will soon be available in Europe, too.

Digital sourcing is already in full use across the board in Adecco’s 100%-owned subsidiary Pontoon Solutions. The Swiss branch currently has managed service provider (MSP) programs underway in seven companies. “We have been supporting Swisscom in the full digitization of its sourcing system for external staff and services for more than a year now”, says Roberto De Monaco, Head of Swiss Operations at Pontoon Solutions. “It is a great opportunity for both companies to be able to take this step towards the future together and, in doing so, assume a pioneering role in Switzerland.” As Swisscom’s MSP service provider, Pontoon Solutions is responsible for the migration, roll-out and operational running of the digital sourcing process.

Three topics at the forefront

According to De Monaco, three topics have been at the forefront of the collaboration with Swisscom that have marked the project thus far: firstly, the technological and structural complexity in relation to the IT landscape, secondly, change issues for its own companies and contractual partners and, thirdly, the time restrictions involved in a large project. The last two of these points are key factors in all projects, adds De Monaco.

  • Just like any company, Swisscom has its own unique characteristics. For example, at Swisscom, the IT landscape in particular is relatively complex given the company’s history, ruling out any run-of-the-mill sourcing system solution – both sides of the undertaking faced a significant challenge. New interfaces and solutions had to be found because of a variety of different requirements placed on the system. “This kind of collaboration is really exciting, it’s about growing together and searching for solutions until you find something that fits. We can learn from such experiences for future projects with other companies, too”, believes De Monaco. He adds that every project unfolds differently and that, generally, the length of a project is heavily dependent on the demands of the company, its size, as well as the complexity of its organizational structure.
  • It is known that changes within companies, the start of something new, can be met with resistance from the employees’ side. It may be that, initially, employees do not fully recognize the advantages and possibilities of a new process and will be generating fear that tasks or even their own job may become obsolete.

At Swisscom, the attitude towards change was generally positive with regards to this project. For the company, in essence, the change involved a switch of those employees which were responsible for the sourcing of external staff and their services from what, up until then, had been a semi-manual ordering process to a digital, consistently self-service order process. In contrast to other companies, Swisscom had already made considerable inroads towards digitizing its processes. Individual steps in an end-to-end process had already been automated before its collaboration with Pontoon; all that remained was to complete the full digital set-up. Employees do not, as they did previously, pick up the phone to source a suitable external employee from staffing agencies as an initial step, but instead run through an automated process afresh using an integrated system connection. Employer and staffing agency benefit equally from one common system during the employment or contractual relationship too. Both sides upload all the required documents directly and the individual process steps are clearly documented. This simplifies a cooperation considerably and guarantees transparency at all times throughout the entire process – from the application phase and hiring, right through to the departure of an external employee at the end of a contract.

  • High demands were placed with regard to timescale because Swisscom had very ambitious plans and set itself some high goals: both companies intend to digitize the entire sourcing system for external staff and, in parallel to this, external service sourcing within a period of three to four years maximum. “This is a very ambitious goal – but we are already well on our way to achieving that”, maintains De Monaco.

Now the stage has been reached where the switch to new digital processes for the sourcing of external staff resources which began a year ago is almost complete. Several hundred people at Swisscom now use the new digital sourcing system. Once the switch is complete, over a thousand staff members will work with it.

Added value of digital sourcing

But what is a concrete value on a digital sourcing system offer? This can be best illustrated using Swisscom as an example. “Digitization creates full transparency within companies”, summarizes the Head of Pontoon Switzerland De Monaco. According to him, sourcing costs for external staff can now be viewed in detail, and executive management and line management have an overview of the current situation at all times – something that was only possible with considerable effort before.

He goes on to say that recruitment using digital processes opens doors to candidates that meet all prior determined criteria. One key criterion includes an appropriate target pay band. The new system proposes the best possible candidate to the employer within these parameters and directly compares competitive biddings between application files.

Thanks to company-wide standardized tools, says De Monaco, the company can gain time for other activities, which in turn saves on process costs. According to him, the end-to-end digitized process is enabling a considerable simplification of cost allocations to project or cost centers in the area of service contracts. One final point of added value in De Monaco’s opinion, is the increase in compliance brought about and is given that transparency guarantees at all times. And, he continues, in case changes in legal regulations emerge, in the field of salaries and contracts or security and integrity checks, adjustments to digitized processes for all processes throughout the entire company can be made considerably quicker than was possible before.

Digitized processes in the sourcing system for staff and services boost compliance, but ultimately the reputation of the entire company.

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