To enhance its operational efficiency, Pakistan State Oil wanted to move away from time-consuming, paper-based workflows. How could it digitize its business processes cost-effectively?
Pakistan State Oil used Domino applications to build enterprise-class digital workflows for everything from procurement to legal reviews—supporting 2,000 users across the business.
Improvesprocess visibility, enabling Pakistan State Oil to identify bottlenecks faster
Offersmobile access, helping field sales teams stay connected to the head office
Minimizesthe use of paper, shrinking operational costs
Business challenge story
Targeting a digital transformation
Through its 3,600 retail outlets, Pakistan State Oil supplies petroleum products to businesses and consumers across the country. Like many state-owned enterprises, Pakistan State Oil relies on centrally defined workflows to manage everything from the procurement of office supplies to complex legal reviews for new business contracts.
Syed Moinuddin Balkhi, Head of Information Technology at Pakistan State Oil, explains: “It’s crucial that we run every part of our business in a consistent and transparent way. In the past, we relied on paper-based processes to drive practically every approval workflow in the business—whether it was a vacation request to our human resources department or a proposal for a multi-million-dollar construction project. As well as increasing the amount of time it took to get things done, this way of working drove up our operational costs significantly.”
To enhance its efficiency, Pakistan State Oil decided to digitize its workflows, beginning with its approval processes.
Balkhi continues: “We saw digital business process management [BPM] as an opportunity to transform the organization. From the outset, we decided we wanted a flexible, intuitive solution that would be easy for all of our front- and back-office employees to use. Initially, we considered deploying an enterprise-class ERP solution, but the capital and operational costs of these platforms were a major barrier—and we looked for an effective alternative.”
Driving the business on IBM Domino
For many years, Pakistan State Oil has used IBM Notes® and Domino to deliver email and calendaring capabilities to more than 2,000 employees. The company realized that building on its investment in the IBM platform would empower it to create powerful BPM applications at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise-class solution.
Ahmer Faraz, Senior Executive IT at Pakistan State Oil, comments: “One of the most compelling reasons to develop our BPM applications on the IBM Domino platform was the fact that we already had practically all the infrastructure we needed in place. Because we’d been using IBM Notes for a number of years, we were confident that our employees could get started with our BPM applications with minimal training.”
Balkhi adds: “When we first selected IBM Notes and Domino as our email platform, one of the biggest advantages we saw was its high level of security—and we feel this aspect of the IBM solution remains one of its core strengths to this day. Based on our positive experiences with IBM over the years, we had no reservations about building our workflows on the Domino platform.”
Today, Pakistan State Oil uses IBM Domino applications to drive its approval workflows. Once an employee opens a new workflow project via their IBM Notes client, the application automatically prompts the relevant decision-makers for their approval. Decision-makers also have the option to delegate approval to their colleagues—and the solution accommodates complex review chains of as many as 50 individual approvers.
“We have developed IBM Domino applications that support almost all of our business processes,” says Balkhi. “Anything from the procurement of a box of pencils to the approval of a billion-dollar contract now goes through a highly structured and automated digital workflow. If we ever need to retrieve historical data during an audit, we have the peace of mind that it’s available in our IBM Domino applications—even if the data is more than 12 years old.”
Pakistan State Oil’s IBM Domino applications are tightly integrated with its other business systems. For example, the company created a system based on IBM Domino to enable customer-facing sales teams to request approval for customer discounts via their mobile devices. After the head office has approved a discount, the IBM Domino application automatically updates the customer’s pricing data in the company’s ERP system.
“In all the years we’ve been running IBM Notes and Domino, it’s never let us down,” says Faraz. “We’ve never experienced a single hour of unplanned downtime or any loss of data, and we couldn’t be happier with the reliability of the solution.”
Cutting costs, increasing efficiency
With IBM Domino applications delivering BPM capabilities across the business, Pakistan State Oil has achieved its goal of replacing its paper-based processes with efficient digital workflows.
“In a complex project, delays are inevitable—but if you can see where the work is stuck, you can take action to keep things moving forward,” explains Balkhi. “When we were managing our business using paper, it was very difficult to identify where bottlenecks were happening. Today, that’s completely changed. At a glance, we can see the stage each project is at and how long it’s been there, which makes it far easier to resolve issues quickly.”
By digitizing and automating many of its processes, Pakistan State Oil is reducing the need to shuffle paper between its departments and offices, reducing its operational costs significantly.
“Every month, we receive around five requests from the business to automate a process, and we’ve rarely encountered a use case we can’t address with IBM Notes and Domino; it’s an incredibly powerful platform,” says Balkhi. “Today, we have IBM Domino applications to drive processes for business travel authorization, employee performance appraisals, annual budget requests and many more. Even though our IBM Domino footprint is so large, the platform is extremely easy to manage, and we only need one full-time equivalent to develop and maintain the environment—helping us to contain our operational costs.”
Looking ahead, Pakistan State Oil is extremely interested in harnessing the enhanced mobile capabilities of IBM Domino 10, enabling employees to access even more of its applications on the move.
“We see that IBM Domino V10 has the potential to transform our approach to mobile service delivery, and we’re working with IBM to arrange a proof-of-concept,” concludes Balkhi. “We are confident that Pakistan State Oil is one of the only companies in the region to have driven a digital transformation of this scale, and we couldn’t imagine being on any other platform. IBM Notes and Domino is at the heart of everything we do, and we’re extremely excited to continue to develop on the platform and add value to users across our business.”
About Pakistan State Oil
Pakistan State Oil is a state-owned multinational petroleum corporation involved in marketing and distribution of petroleum products. With a network of over 3,600 retail outlets, the company serves public and wholesale customers across the country.