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Marafiq Company: Employees’ Vacation Request Process Case Study

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Updated: Jun 10th, 2020


Marafiq Company is one of the leading water and power utility companies in Yanbu and Jubail. The firm has experienced impressive growth over the past years, but it has come a time when it is necessary to implement new systems based on emerging technologies. To improve the performance and level of satisfaction of employees, SAP ESS will be necessary. For the managers, SAP MSS will be needed. The systems will improve communication, eliminate misunderstandings, and ensure that individuals are assigned tasks as per their interests and capacities. In this paper, the researcher focused on describing employees’ vacation request process, from the first step of action by the employee until the final step by the HR department


The business environment is getting increasingly dynamic, and players are forced to find ways of dealing with this dynamism. According to Rao (2011), technology plays an important role in defining this dynamism. The emerging technologies have transformed almost every aspect of the business, and only those firms with the capacity to manage these changes are able to remain competitive in the market. Business entities are now relying on these technologies to address various problems that may exist in various business processes. The researcher has been working at Marafiq Company as a supervisor.

Three processes that the researcher has identified as being problematic is the slow pace at which employees can access their data, the complexity that the Human Capital Management faces when following up various processes in the process of managing employees, and set of actions that taking by employees and their management when they are applying for vacation. It was realized that employees struggle to update their data, follow-up various benefits, and many other services that were centralized. A lot of time was always wasted as they queued to get various details from the relevant offices. On the other hand, the Human Capital Management unit also wasted a lot of time and resources, making calls, and waiting for relevant data that was due to him from various offices. It was necessary to find a lasting solution to this problem. It is on this basis that the researcher considered using SAP ESS for the employees and SAP MSS for the managers to address the above problems.

Literature Review

As mentioned above, emerging technologies have redefined the approaches that business entities take to address various processes within their system. According to Laudon, Laudon, and Laudon (2010), SAP is one of the software that is gaining popularity among various organizations because of its unique solutions. In this paper, the researcher will look at the case study of the waste of time by the employees and managers at Marafiq Company because of the analog systems and how the use of SAP can help address this problem. Marafiq Company is a water and power utility firm that currently operates in Yanbu and Jubail.

This company is very critical to the current population it serves, especially given the importance of power and water to the livelihood of the population living in these regions. According to Laudon, Laudon, and Laudon (2010), in the current competitive business environment, firms are forced to find ways of saving time by eliminating unnecessary movements, speeding up various processes within an organization, and enhancing close coordination of various stakeholders within a firm. The first business process that this research focuses on is the management of employees’ data within an organization.

According to Rao (2011), in the past, all the data of an employee, including issues about compensations, holiday packages, training, and even impending promotion, were found at the Human Resource Unit. The employees had to queue in order to get access to this information. This is a massive waste of time both for the employee and the people responsible for releasing the information at the HR office. In such systems, it was also not possible for the employees to update their own data.

They had to do this through the help of the officers at the HR department. As Mereddy (2012) says, organizations in the modern-day business environment cannot afford such a sluggish business environment. These employees need an IS system that can allow them access to their own data right at their workstations. Anything concerning them should be availed to them using the system. To address this problem, Laudon, Laudon, and Laudon (2010) say that SAP ESS may be necessary. This software enables the employees to access their own data at any time when they are in the workplace. As its name suggests, it is a self-service application that eliminates the need to go to the HR offices when looking for information.

The Human Capital Manager also had a problem in getting the relevant data in real-time. The manager would be forced to leave the office and visit other offices to get various pieces of data needed to make specific decisions. According to Rao (2011), the role of the managers is slowly transforming. Their role now has more to do with forecasting the future and developing strategies that can be used to deal with it, than following up little details about who failed to perform a given duty.

However, Mereddy (2012) says that this does not mean their role as the coordinators and supervisors of the ongoing activities will become irrelevant. They still need to monitor the current activities to determine if everything is working within their expectations. This means that their time is becoming very limited. They have a lot to do within a very limited timeline. This means that they cannot afford to waste time.

These managers need an IS system that will enable them to get relevant information needed to make critical decisions within the workplace. SAP MSS is appropriate software that can be used by the management to have access to relevant information that is due to the manager at any time. This means that constant phone calls and movements from one office to the other will be eliminated. The manager will be allowed more time to focus on issues about forecasting, coordination, and controlling. As Mereddy (2012) says, it is only through this that a firm can achieve success in its operations.

According to Laudon, Laudon, and Laudon (2010), managing the cost of operations has become a critical issue that the management must consider in all the departments. Having a lean is what every organization seeks to have. This means eliminating redundant workforce that is not needed. However, many organizations still find themselves struggling with a large workforce that cannot achieve the set targets because of the time that is wasted. In such blotted departments, the cost of operation will always remain high while the output very low. SAP ESS helps in getting the real capacity of a given workforce.

Once the unnecessary movements have been eliminated, the management can now get the real capacity of the employees. Their efficiency can be managed, and any redundancy is eliminated. As Rao (2011) observes, implementation of this technology does not mean that some employees will automatically lose their jobs. On the contrary, this new system may help in hiring new employees. When implemented, the management will be able to identify the gaps within the workforce and find the relevant individuals to fill in the gap. Redundancy is eliminated by transferring some employees or assigning them different tasks when it is established that their work was redundant within a given department.

Efficiency and accuracy in handing employees is a critical issue that managers must give proper emphasis in order to retain talent. According to Laudon, Laudon, and Laudon (2010), retaining talent is an important but very challenging task for many employers. Losing a talented employee may mean that such an organization will be left with a gap that may take time to fill. It becomes even worse when such talent is lost to a rival firm.

For this reason, the management will need to make an effort to ensure that it eliminates any issue that may lead to the loss of an important employee. Rao (2011) observes that one of the main reasons why some firms lose their talented employees is because of misunderstanding. A firm where misunderstandings are common is bound to experience higher employee turnover. A manager may end up dismissing a very committed employee without any good reason in such circumstances. An integrated SAP ESS and SAP MSS system seek to address such problems. It enhances the communication system within the firm.

When an employee is accused of any error of omission or commission, such an employee will be the first to have the knowledge about such allegations. By the time the top authorities have the information that may inform their decision, the employee will be aware of the allegations and the people making them. If they are innocent, then they can seek ways of addressing such a problem by proving their innocence. The fact that they have access to the information at the right time makes it easy for them to organize their defense. This does not just benefit the employees who will be enabled to plan their defense, but also the employer who will have comprehensive information on the issue to avoid making decisions on charges that are made up. This will also discourage individuals who may be interested in making false allegations against fellow employees because of selfish reasons. This, in effect, will reduce employee turnover rates, making it easy to retain highly talented individuals.

Analysis of Models, Technology

As mentioned above there are three processes that will help in describing the application of SAP EMMS and SAP MSS. The first process is meant to enable employees to have access to their own data and even update their details with time. The software responsible for this task will be the SAP ESS. This software can undertake various activities. The following diagram shows the benefits that this software offers in terms of empowering the employees.

SAP Employee Self Service.
Figure 1: SAP Employee Self Service.

This software enables the employees to access their personal information at any time as long as they are in their workstations. The need to move from their workstations to the HR offices to get such information is eliminated. They only need to log in to their account and they can then access any information they consider relevant. This system allows employees to know their benefits. These include their salary, allowances, or any bonus. Whenever they have a pay rise, this information is availed to them through the system. According to Laudon, Laudon and Laudon (2010), one of the most important benefits of this software is that it eliminates time wastage. Instead of moving from one office to the other, these employees are able to get any information they need at their desk by simply logging into their account.

The software also helps in skill development and appraisals. Through this system, employees are able to advance their knowledge on how to handle various tasks using technologies. Whenever an employee has added value to their skills through education, they can adjust their profile to reflect their new skills. This makes it easy for the appraisal process. This system also helps the employees to manage their life and work events. It provides a detailed calendar of the specific dates when an employee may not be permitted to take a leave unless it is because of an unavoidable circumstance. It also specifies dates when the employee can take time off work. This way, balancing the work and personal activities becomes easy. The figure below shows such a calendar of activities that helps the employee in planning.

ESS Calendar of Activities.
Figure 2: ESS Calendar of Activities.

The second process was to find a way of making the work of the HCM easier by availing relevant information in time. The software that has been identified to be appropriate for this process is SAP MSS. This software offers the managers a series of benefits as shown in the figure below.

SAP Manager Self Service.
Figure 3: SAP Manager Self Service.

According to Laudon, Laudon and Laudon (2010), SAP MSS enables managers to make relevant reports on their new findings, new acquired credentials, or any other relevant information that may needed to enhance operations of a firm. It also makes it easy to communicate such reports to the relevant authorities within the firm so that appropriate decisions can be made. Laudon, Laudon and Laudon (2010) say that one of the most challenging tasks for the managers is the recruitment processes. Sometimes the managers are presented with a list of highly qualified individuals seeking various positions.

The ultimate aim in such circumstances is to recruit the most qualified individuals for every task. The SAP MSS enables the manager to rank the applicants based on the strength of their profiles. This way, it is easy to select the most qualified candidate out of the choices presented. This software, as Mereddy (2012) notes, also helps the manager on issues about compensation. Issues always arise on who deserves a given percentage of pay rise or bonuses. Through SAP MSS, the manager can determine the employee who deserves a given pay rise after a given period.

An internal operation such as allocation of various activities to different employees is another issue that may be very challenging to the human resource manager. According to Laudon, Laudon and Laudon (2010), it is always in the interest of the firm to assign tasks based on the capacity and interests of the employees. In order to achieve the optimum income, it may be necessary to assign the most qualified individual to every task.

However, sometimes it may not be easy to determine who is most qualified for a given task. Mereddy (2012) says that SAP MSS helps in addressing this problem. It helps the manager to understand the profile of the employees and their past performances at the firm. It then matches these profiles with various tasks, easing the work of the manager. The system also facilitates monitoring the attendance of the employees. The manager can set the system to give a notice whenever an employee is absent for a given period. The system also facilitates review of employees’ performance. As a manager, it may not be possible to supervise every activity that an employee does. It is not being possible to be present at all the departments simultaneously. This means that at a given time, a section of the employees may go without direct supervision of the manager.

SAP MSS makes it possible for the manager to determine the performance of the employees even in circumstances when he or she cannot be physically present. This can be done in various ways. The first will be to determine the output of the employee per given period. The manager will not be concerned about what an employee does at any given time. The only concern will be the results. The manager will expect results at the end of the day. The other option will be to use special software to determine the amount of time an employee takes in addressing issues that are not related to their assigned tasks. Finally, this system can be used to manage the assets (Rao, 2011). It will enable the manager to know issues about purchase, maintenance and sale of assets.

In order to develop a practical example of how SAP ESS and MSS can be used in an integrated approach, we will look at employee vocational request process. This is a detailed process that starts with employee’s vacation application to the management approval within short time and in an efficient manner. The process requires the use of both types of software SAP ESS & MSS. The process starts by employee opening an ESS system, selecting the type of leave required and entering the appropriate date. For instance, the date may be from May 4, 2015 to June 1, 2015. The employee will then specify if he requires a salary advance or not in this application.

When all these steps have been followed, he will review the request form and then send it to the supervisor for review and approval. The entire process done by the employee will be supported by SAP ESS. Once the supervisor receives the request, he will review it, giving consideration to issues such as the date for the leave and any other additional request. The supervisor will leave a comment and then send the form to the superintendent. The superintendent will make his approval and send the request to the manager, especially if advance salary is requested. After making the approval, the manager will send the form to the HR secretary, who will make necessary reviews before sending it back to the HR supervisor. The supervisor will then post the approval based on the recommendations of the management. This second process is done with the help of SAP MSS.

Survey and Results

According to the employees and other supervisors working at Marafiq Company that were interviewed, there was a general feeling that the three processes discussed above needs some modernization in order to improve the efficiency. There was a general agreement that the employees needed a system that will enable them to monitor their own data. They needed a system that would allow them to get information from the management whenever this was necessary.

They also needed a system that would allow them to initiate the vocational request process. From the interview, the participants stated that it was necessary to have SAP ESS implemented because this would improve their efficiency. These participants, especially the supervisors, also noted that SAP MSS was necessary for the people in the management. They felt that this system will make the work of the managers easier than it is currently. SAP MSS is also important for the managers in processing vocational requests of the employees.

Conclusion and Recommendations

From the above discussion, it is clear that SAP ESS and MSS are solutions that the management of Marafiq Company can no longer ignore. They need the software to enhance the work of the managers and that of the employees. As shown in the discussion, the SAP ESS system does not only improve the efficiency of the employees but also boost their morale. Similarly, the SP MSS is beneficial in improving the performance of the managers. In order to achieve optimum results, the management should consider the following recommendations.

  • The management of Marafiq Company should encourage its employees to use SAP ESS system when they want various services such as requesting of leave.
  • The management should ensure that the system is able to capture all the basic needs of its employees at the firm
  • SAP ESS and SAP ESS should then be integrated to ensure that the communication system within the firm is integrated
  • All the stakeholders who use the system should be subjected to enough training to understand how to use the system
  • In order to reduce the maintenance cost, maintenance services should be outsourced instead of hiring permanent employees for the job.


SAP MSS is very important in enhancing management processes. The following figure shows various activities that heavily rely on this system.

Human Resource Process.


Laudon, K. C., Laudon, J. P., & Laudon, K. C. (2010). Essentials of MIS. Harlow: Pearson Education. Web.

Mereddy, R. (2012). SAP Basis administration handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill. Web.

Rao, U. (2011). SAP NetWeaver MDM 7.1 administrator’s guide: Don’t just manage–excel at managing your master data with SAP NetWeaver MDM 7.1. Birmingham, UK: Packt Publishing. Web.

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