Value Creation Award 2016 – Read Unisys' Winning Application!

Winner: Unisys Global Shared Services Travel and Expense

Unisys Global Shared Services created value for the Unisys business in 2015 through creatively leveraging global travel and expense to meet the business needs. Using data analytics, the Global Travel department identified 7 steps that would drive more value through the process. In addition, another way Shared Services created value for the business was through delivering a unique, socially enabled, online, one-stop-shop for users called The Global Travel Community, which has had an enormous impact on user-satisfaction and supports more efficient practices. Find out more, below.

[Note: watch the interview with Unisys' T&E team here]

Key Facts:

Head of SSO: Chris Gunning, Vice President Finance, Global Shared Services at Unisys, Amsterdam, Netherlands

SSO Launched: 1993

Global SSO Model: HR and F&A

Previous Awards:

  • 2011 SSON Winner for Excellence in People & Communications (North America)
  • 2011 SSON Runner Up for Excellence in Culture Creation (North America)
  • 2012 SSON Winner for Excellence in Customer Service (North America)
  • 2013 SSON Runner Up for Excellence in People & Communications (North America)
  • 2014 SSON Winner for Excellence in Process Innovation (Asia)

Total FTEs: 500-1000

Business units served: 3 (Enterprise Solutions, Technology, Federal Systems (US))

Total employees: 20,000

Countries served: 40+


Shared Services was implemented at Unisys in 1993. For 23 years we have continually evolved and strengthened our services, offerings, quality, and scope to support the business. This continual evolution is evidenced by our mantra, "Never Stand Still."

The Vice President of Shared Services and the Global Process Owners report to the Corporate Controller in Global Finance.

For 22 years, Shared Services owned the end-to-end Order Management process. In August 2015, we transferred Order Management to our Technology organization. The complete, end-to-end process of developing and delivering solutions now falls under one area of responsibility, creating an opportunity for Unisys to further simplify our OM processes and applications.

Shared Services is composed of 173 associates in a transaction processing center in Bangalore, India and 164 associates in five regional front offices in Blue Bell, PA; Bismarck, ND; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Sydney, Australia - all captive centers.

In addition, 7 associates in our Global Process Excellence organization are responsible for global process ownership in Account-to-Report, AR/Credit & Collections, Procure-to-Pay, Knowledge Management & Reporting, and Organization Excellence.

Together, we are 344 professionals who provide the Unisys business with efficient and compliant finance, accounting, and transaction processing services at the most competitive cost.      


For the purpose of this application, we focus on how the Unisys Global Shared Services organization created value for the Unisys business in 2015 through creatively leveraging global travel and expense to meet the business needs.

What matters most to our customers is having a straight-forward, reliable, travel and expense experience, backed by the assurance of a dedicated support team to offer exceptional customer service. To our customers, creating value means making our travel and expense tool easier to use, increasing the mobility of the tool so they can use it on the go, and, for managers, gaining insight into associate corporate card spending.

To us in Shared Services Global Travel, creating value means not only improving our users’ travel and expense experiences, but also achieving cost savings for the company, and ensuring strict travel policy compliance through increased visibility and reporting.

The key benefits we were trying to achieve when we set out to transform our travel and expense processes were increased efficiencies, cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction. More specifically, we set out to:

Save Costs

  • Reduce program leakage (card) by 50%
  • Remove the ability for users to hide corporate card transactions in our T&E tool and use data analytics to monitor transactions, so that we can identify spend issues before they become problematic and remove card privileges faster.

Increase Efficiencies

  • Provide the leadership team insight, via reporting, to see the big picture resulting in decisions that positively impact the business and the bottom-line

Improve Customer Satisfaction

  • Increase the number of active users on our Global Travel Community, our internal social media platform, so that we can serve our user base faster, share expert knowledge and travel resources, and empower our travelers to share their knowledge as well.     

Improvement Methodology

Our Shared Services travel and expense value creation journey first began in 2009, when we launched the global implementation of a new travel and expense tool. It has continued to successfully progress since.

A suggested process improvement idea in 2015 was to use data analytics versus individual random expense audits to ensure we had the full picture to better identify corporate card misuse and identify spend behaviors. We pulled the corporate card data and traced it back to the ‘root’. Our exercise was not just about pulling data, but looking deeper into the underlying possibilities. We didn’t stop at analyzing the information. Rather, we dug deep and asked these key questions:

  • What does the data represent – overall?
  • Is this what we anticipated?
  • Are there any anomalies?
  • Is there an improvement opportunity?
  • Can we positively impact the bottom line?

Data analysis revealed that we had an opportunity to centralize the global corporate card program management to one department – Global Travel. This started 3 years ago with Asia Pacific and Latin America and we are continuing to work on Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Centralization has provided a broader view of the overall program. With this all-encompassing viewpoint, we have identified additional opportunities to streamline the program.

We analyzed our strategy, structure, system and processes and made improvements to support better compliance along with an enhanced traveler experience.

Here’s what we did:

  1. We implemented audit rules to prevent expense submissions when employees had unsubmitted aged corporate card transactions.
  2. We leveraged our travel and expense tool’s e-mail reminders to notify users of unassigned corporate card charges and unsubmitted expenses.
  3. We closed gaps by implementing consistent processes globally for several corporate card related tasks (i.e. card application validation, credit limit increases, card cancellations, etc.). In the past there was no consistent methodology on checks/balances for the program related tasks.
  4. We improved travel and expense processes by moving manual tasks on-line, or automating, where possible. Several of the card application processes were handled via paper. We were able to move to on-line application processing, greatly improving the end user experience, saving time AND easing the workflow.
  5. We developed a consistent and standardized corporate card Aging Notification process on a global basis. Data is pulled from the travel and expense tool and corporate card system, imported into an internally created Access database which generates an e-mail notification to the employee and manager of aging detail.
  6. We created a reporting structure that would alert Senior Management of at-risk accounts, enabling them to take steps to proactively avoid credit losses.
  7. We are partnering with the business and working directly with managers on misuse or non-compliance and providing recommendations on next steps – tight integration with our Ethics Department as well.

We continue our journey by managing our own configuration changes, becoming experts in travel and expense reporting. Since we didn’t use external consultants to implement these changes, our travel team now has a very unique and advanced skillset. Another way Shared Services created value for the business was through delivering a very unique, socially enabled, online, one-stop-shop for our users – The Global Travel Community.

It took a team of 5 Shared Services and Process Excellence associates 8 months to implement the SharePoint Global Travel Community. Setup required in-house expertise and knowledge. We used our existing travel and expense and SharePoint tools - no new technology was purchased.

Using SharePoint, the team created a central online meeting place with a cool look and feel which holds important information and alerts for Unisys associates across the globe. Users have a single entry point to accommodate busy travelers on the go. VPN users have the ability to access the community via tablets.

The Global Travel Community offers real-time access to Global Travel team experts, who monitor newsfeed posts and answer user questions.

  • Daily travel alerts from our corporate card provider are available on the home and site pages (localized to their region).
  • Forty country-specific sites are available to assist users around the globe. From the homepage, users simply select their home-country flag, or the country where they hold their passport to access information such as:
    • Locally relevant and comprehensive "Before You Go" and "After You Arrive" checklists
    • Quick links for expense submission and support services
    • Country-specific special announcements from the Global Travel team
    • Travel alerts for our users’ home region, as well as alerts outside the user’s region
  • A single sign-on link to Concur and Concur training resources (in local language, where possible)
  • Quick access to the Global Travel & Expense policy and country specific guidelines

The community’s "I Want To" section contains quick links to helpful travel advice, including how to:

  • Ask the Global Travel Team a question
  • Find Lync conference dial-in numbers by country
  • Reserve a conference room in the Unisys location you plan to visit
  • Convert currency
  • Locate a networked printer at your temporary location
  • View Unisys travel restrictions

The team had the vision and then created a prototype and held focus groups with multiple internal organizations and top travelers to better understand their requirements and suggestions. The result was not only a community where users can quickly identify and find important information related to travel, (i.e. passport, visa, travel approval, policy, consulates, local culture, weather, customs, etc.) but also how to manage their life while traveling – providing directions and suggested transportation methods to and from the airport to the major offices globally, how to ensure their employee badge works at a facility, and how to book a conference room or connect to a network printer while traveling.

The Community allows the Global Travel team to point travelers to a single point of truth. The site continues to get new hits every day.

The team encountered a few challenges while implementing the Community. For example:

  • Getting all local policies on the community in a single location
  • Translating certain documents into the major languages to ensure the travelers were able to use them
  • Working with multiple organizations to understand whether a local policy was a government mandated policy, a works council policy or a country guideline.

The community following continues to grow and has evolved into an interactive experience for users. Users pose questions and receive responses from another follower. Global Travel continually monitors activity but also encourages this involvement from followers.     

Benefits Achieved

With the centralization of the corporate card program and the process controls implemented by the Unisys Global Travel Team, Unisys realized a 132.58% increase in the incentive awarded by the card provider, as compared to 2011. They also achieved a 49.4% reduction in credit losses in the 2014/2015 contract period, as compared to the 2012/2013 contract period.

Greater visibility into their global card and travel and expense programs has also given Unisys the insight to identify inconsistencies, process gaps, and opportunities to improve the end-to-end travel and expense process, resulting in greater efficiencies and cost savings for the business.

For example,

  • Scanned receipts result in time, postage, storage and headcount savings
  • On-line receipts and supporting expense documentation facilitate the manager approval process and aid in travel policy compliance
  • Streamlined audit workflow
  • Ability to track and identify card spend patterns and submittal behaviors, positively impacting incentive and aging
  • Data integration from multiple sources produces meaningful reporting outputs, which are used to improve travel and spend behavior

In addition, the implementation of the Global Travel Community has increased customer service. The Community homepage receives around 1,500 unique user hits per month and continues to climb. There are now 500 active Community members!

The customer response to the Community has been outstanding. The Senior Travel Leader has received positive feedback that users love it and find that it contains helpful information. They also appreciate the traveler-to-traveler interaction that the Community provides. Users have the ability to ask questions through the newsfeed and obtain a timely response. In addition, other travelers often provide assistance. It’s fun to see the interaction and know that others have previously learned and are sharing their experiences with the broader Unisys audience.

These improvements have changed the perception of Shared Services across Unisys. Global Travel is considered to be a true and trusted business partner, particularly with Internal Audit, the Law Department, the Ethics team, and the Senior Leadership team.


Two key challenges we faced were:

  1. Creating awareness of the Global Travel Community and driving membership
  2. Convincing users to collaborate and ask questions in such a public, social forum versus the traditional email or phone call route.

To overcome challenge #1 we used communication outlets such as internal newsletters, push email communications, and news articles on the internal corporate homepage, "Inside Unisys". We also created a walk-through video using Microsoft Lync to step new users through each aspect of the Community site.

We continue to work through challenge #2 – user adoption of the Community. As travelers begin to see, first-hand, how quickly Global Travel experts answer their questions, and how other travelers just like them can offer useful tips and tricks, the site is taking off! Associates are also getting more socially savvy and comfortbale with social media, in general, which is helping drive Community acitivity on this internal social platform.

Three Lessons We Learned

With the value we created through the implementation of the travel and expense tool process efficiencies and the new Global Travel Community, the broader Unisys business now knows they can count on Shared Services as a trusted partner.

However, we learned that

(1) our job is never finished, and

(2) we must continue to listen to the needs of the business to ensure we’re consistently delivering value. And finally, we learned that

(3) perception is reality. How our customers perceive us is critical, so we proactively search for improvement ideas, using our insight and knowledge of the travel and expense tool to aid in our journey.

Final thoughts…

The Shared Services Global Travel Team won the Concur Innovation Award in May of 2015 for our creative approach to implementing new processes that help Unisys travelers. Our organization is extremely proud of this key differentiator.

Unisys was one of six companies to receive this extraordinary honor, including the American Red Cross, General Mills, Adelman Travel, ALPS Organization and the University of San Francisco. Concur conferred the award at the 2015 Concur Fusion Conference in San Francisco last March. Angela Arntz, Senior Global Travel Leader, accepted the award for Unisys.