19 December 2019

Allergan case study

Over the past 70 years, Allergan has grown into a multinational pharmaceutical company with operations in 100 countries. As such, it has extensive needs for travel and entertainment (T&E) and purchasing cards.

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Allergan’s geographical scope in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) means they required a card provider with a strong regional footprint and a highly efficient electronic card management solution. Yasser Ibrahim, Regional Product Manager – Commercial Cards, and Charbel Bacha, Client Implementation Manager from HSBC, explain how Allergan achieved this objective by adopting HSBC MiVision to reach a high level of automation and multi-county MENAT coverage.

For multinational businesses, an effective card programme can hugely simplify the processes of managing T&E costs, while minimising the risk of fraud and avoiding personal security risks associated with employees carrying large amounts of cash.

However, much of the efficiency gain of a card programme can be lost in paperwork. Even for a relatively modest card programme, the client’s card administrator may find themselves having to complete hundreds of paper forms to start the programme, and numerous further sets for each subsequent cardholder (potentially as many as five forms per cardholder).

Further possible delays and inefficiencies can arise during the manual processing of the card programme. Once the paper forms arrive at the bank, they will often need to be physically distributed amongst the individual departments involved in the application process.

Even if no problems arise and all the forms are correctly completed, it can easily take 10 days or more to process a single card application. If there are errors, or if a card administrator is just trying to amend an existing application, this cycle may be repeated in full for each amendment.

Seeking a better alternative

Allergan was keen to improve these inefficiencies. Back in July 2017, HSBC began to assess Allergan’s objectives, requirements and ‘pain points’, allowing both parties to collaborate closely and identify a suitable solution. The process also helped HSBC to gain a better understanding of Allergan’s regional operations and tackle multiple internal roadblocks, including addressing regulatory and compliance concerns.

In March 2018, as part of the ongoing process to setup the credit card programme, HSBC introduced MiVision to Allergan. MiVision immediately appealed to Allergan as a simple, straightforward and user friendly digital tool to improve the management of the programme, meeting their key objective to quickly reduce a significant amount of the paper work involved in the traditional credit card programme.

This demonstration and the implementation of MiVision could not have been timelier. Allergan urgently needed to issue more than 125 T&E cards to employees across MENAT, including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The company also needed to issue purchasing cards for each of its finance teams in the MENAT region to pay office expenses, such as electricity. The combination of MiVision’s digital capabilities and HSBC's regional network in MENAT were the perfect solution to Allergan’s needs.

Allergan’s Finance Team were impressed with the solution provided by HSBC and the process they followed to assess the objectives, tackle the challenges and identify and implement the required systems especially as it took HSBC just two days to setup MiVision.

Thanks to MiVision’s functionalities, Allergan’s card programme process is almost completely digital – with just two paper forms required to get an application processed and up and running. Thereafter all amendments can be made digitally by the card administrator via the MiVision portal. The new system has reduced the end-to-end issuance cycle time from 45-60 days to 20-22 days on average. The data is no longer in a paper format and can flow more efficiently across the relevant HSBC departments, significantly improving operations.

This programme was piloted by Allergan in MENAT with the intention of rolling it out on a global basis.

Visibility and control

MiVision is now fully operational within Allergan. In addition to the efficiency gains, they have benefitted from a variety of workflow and reporting improvements. MiVision offers users greater self-service capabilities such as closing/blocking cards, reporting lost or stolen cards and requesting replacements –
ultimately reducing the number of queries for Allergen's client services team.

The company can also generate and view a broader range of custom reports on MiVision: tracking company and cardholder spend either by country/region, cost centre/department, or supplier. This degree of flexibility and functionality is particularly valuable when it comes to reconciliation. MiVision gives Allergan comprehensive visibility on all transactions; such as transaction value, date, merchant, origin of transaction, as well as VAT information, invoice number, etc.

MiVision will become even more important to Allergan once this programme is rolled out globally; allowing consistency of user experience, irrespective of location. Delegation of self-service One of the draw backs of traditional card programmes is that the programme administrator has to manage the whole process manually.

MiVision addresses this by enabling the card administrator to delegate certain activities to users. A classic example of this is completion of application forms. Rather than the card administrator having to request personal details from each applicant and manually complete a paper form on their behalf, MiVision enables them to email an application form link to multiple cardholders for them to complete themselves.

HSBC introduced new functionalities within MiVision for Allergan, one of the most significant being the ability for users to generate their own PINs online. This is more convenient for users and card administrators, and has the potential to improve card security by making precautionary resetting of PINs straightforward. Another new feature due for delivery in the next 12 months is the option for users to request that replacement cards are sent to a different address from their registered one. This is especially useful if the card user is travelling and happens to be in a different time zone to the card administrator.

Conclusion: results and the future

With the implementation of MiVision, HSBC have met Allergan’s original objectives and made a major contribution to their digital journey.

Demonstrating their commitment to helping clients identify challenges and find robust solutions. "We are very pleased with the way MiVision gives us direct electronic control of our card programme, with the minimum of implementation overheads… The self-service capabilities are an invaluable aid to greater efficiency and we also gain from the transformation from manual paper-based processing to real time STP, which we can further leverage as we roll out our new card programmes globally." Jitendra Tillu, Financial Controller, Allergan Middle East Ltd.

Allergan: About the Client

Allergan is one of the world’s fastest-growing international pharmaceutical companies, with a presence in approximately 100 countries. The company develops, manufactures and commercialises branded pharmaceutical, device, biologic, surgical and regenerative medicine products for patients around the world. It provides leading treatments for the central nervous system, ophthalmology, medical aesthetics, gastroenterology, women’s health, urology, cardiovascular and anti-infective therapeutic categories.

Allergan has 40 manufacturing facilities, 27 global R&D centres and 17,000 employees around the globe. The company is an industry leader in Open Science, a different approach to the scientific process based on collaboration and new means of disseminating knowledge through digital technologies. This approach has resulted in Allergan developing one of the broadest development pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry.

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