Orion Registrar Inc. provides auditing and certification services for companies within a variety of industries. They are experts in several industry standards, including aerospace, medical, telecom, health and safety, environmental management, recycling, sustainability, energy management, and IT service management.
Using K2’s SmartObject data-abstraction layer, Orion Registrar’s new solution integrates its complex line-of-business customer data stored in a custom-built relational SQL database. The solution employs a K2 blackpearl server to access data that’s viewable in SharePoint Online via embedded K2 smartforms. As a result, Orion has an all-in-one solution for business process and document management.
ISO 9001…TL 9000…OHSAS 18001…These are some of the numerous system standards which companies must receive certification to bring their solutions to market. As a certification body, Orion Registrar is a leading internationally accredited provider of auditing services and is just such a company to meet these needs. Paul Burck, President at Orion Registrar explains, “Companies require recognition that they have a fully validated management system in place and Orion provides technical auditors as well as project administration for this. We have to facilitate all the checks and balances so when we say a company meets a certain standard, they indeed meet it.”
Originally the company managed the end-to-end certification process using a Microsoft Access database as well as a custom CRM system for document management. It became quite apparent though that if the company was going to maintain its growth trajectory, they were going to hit the ceiling as to how they could continue to provide high-quality service. After doing a bit of research, they concluded that they needed to find a low code business process management solution that would be flexible, scalable, easy to update, and could be supported for years to come. Key to the new system would be visibility for their clients into the auditing and certification process, facilitating better communication by enabling users to work with their documents and data all in one place.
To achieve their vision of a scalable workflow enabled solution, Orion turned to leading business and technology consulting firm Catalyte to provide technology recommendations as well as develop and maintain the system. “Our goal was to develop an all-in-one solution,” said Clark Pope, Director at Catalyte.“The system would need to onboard new customers, draft contracts, facilitate signatures through DocuSign, and archive them in a SharePoint Online library.”
As well as recommending K2 as the heart of the system, Catalyte recommended much of the infrastructure be cloud-based using Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange Online. Burck went on to say, “The proposal to leverage cloud-based services as part of our overall BPM solution made a lot of sense to us, as we wanted to minimize our on-premises footprint to ease our administrative overhead.” By the end of 2019, Orion plans to be 100% in the cloud.
The end result of the Orion Registrar/Catalyte project is an end-to-end certification workflow application the company has called Hunter, which provides not only internal processes to manage auditing, but also an externally facing portal where customers and auditors can gain a real-time view as to status and issues with their pending certification. “It’s a remarkably comprehensive system involving a cloud infrastructure, content management system, a collaborative work environment, extensive document management, and business application integration,” states Pope.
Using K2’s SmartObject data-abstraction layer, the solution integrates Orion Registrar’s complex LOB (line of business) customer data stored in a custom-built relational SQL database. The solution employs a K2 server to access data that’s viewable in SharePoint via embedded K2 SmartForms.
The end-to-end workflow of Hunter is as follows:
- The initiation kicks off when either a customer requests an audit, or if their certification is up for renewal as determined by the scheduler workbench which tracks the need for annual re-certification.
- Schedulers talk to the client about their availability and match their needs to potential auditors based on the type of certification. Part of Hunter is a calendar that auditors are required to keep up to date so schedulers can match client and auditor availability.
- Once an appropriate auditor is selected based on expertise and availability, DocuSign is used to manage the paperwork process of signing off on agreed upon start and end dates of the project so a valid contract can be put in place.
- Auditor preparation is then initiated via a workflow that opens the appropriate documentation stored in SharePoint for the customer project, providing all needed details.
- When the audit is completed, a report is uploaded for all parties to review.
- If during the audit non-conformance is discovered, there is a distinct workflow that tracks and reports back the specific issues to the customer. As issues are addressed, the auditor can check off compliance issues as they are resolved.
Once the audit starts, billing is notified to charge the client. Once the paperwork is all done, Orion reviewers check the paperwork, the non-conformance issues and decide whether a company should be certified. If they decide the company should be certified (and once the client has paid their invoice), then it goes to a subprogram to produce the certificate and make it available to the client for their records.
Orion Registrar has seen significant time and cost savings with the implementation of their K2 based certification compliance system. A primary objective was to cut the time spent on a given set of audit tasks from three hours to 1.5 hours. In fact, the amount spent on those tasks is now just one hour. Additionally, K2 has helped Orion reduce the management and overhead associated with old processes, resulting in a resource cost savings of 25 percent. They’ve also been able to reduce their mailing costs significantly now that all documents are digital.
Ultimately, Paul Burck sees this as the beginning of a fundamental shift in how they function as a business. “One of our goals has been to change Orion from an emotionally driven company to a data-driven company. If we didn’t have the workflows and if we didn’t have SQL Server and K2, we would continue to be emotionally driven.” To realize this Orion is planning to implement Microsoft Power BI. Through the years the company has amassed immense amounts of data around their auditing consultants and customers, and by leveraging deep analysis will be able to perform more intelligent forecasting and job monitoring to further improve customer satisfaction.
Today, with K2 in place at the core of their Hunter application, Orion has a predictable, reliant and scalable workflow solution, and with partner Catalyte they have the resources in place to grow the system as the company moves to the next level.