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Capital One Puts ERP At Core Of Work

Just five years ago at Capital One Financial Corp., it took 10 human-resources specialists to sign off on one change-of-address form.

Just five years ago at Capital One Financial Corp., it took 10 human-resources specialists to sign off on one change-of-address form. With thousands of employees worldwide, that's a lot of paper-pushing. Today, address changes are done via a self-service application that has freed HR to devote time to strategic staffing, program planning, and change management.

This example illustrates a big change that has taken place at the $1.5 billion-a-year financial-services company since it began rolling out PeopleSoft applications. "It's a cultural change that has freed people to not deal with minutiae but to deal with business value," says Gregor Bailar, executive VP and CIO. "It really has been transformative." Bailar envisions more automation ahead, with financials following in the footsteps of HR's "lean-process" design to deal with the mountain of data requests the financials team receives and processes within the group.

The PeopleSoft ERP system, which serves as Capital One's backbone for financials, HR, asset-management, and supply-chain processes, supports about 18,000 users, including Capital One's 15,000 associates and some business partners. The apps are accessible via a Web portal based on BEA Systems Inc.'s technology.

Capital One is exploring the possibility of partnering with ERP application service providers, now that the hard work of correcting data and linking processes is done. Running the applications may be more of a commodity job at this point, but the applications themselves serve as a pillar for the company's future-of-work initiative. Bailar describes this as "a very mobile, interactive, collaborative environment" designed to support the requirements of the company's biggest asset, its knowledge workers. It's characterized not only by extensive Wi-Fi access, VoIP-enabled laptops, instant messaging, and BlackBerrys, but also by workflows that, for the most part, come to users electronically. Says Bailar, "Everyone's daily life is kind of drawn back to this suite of apps."

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