Case Study

Case Study

State of Illinois: Self-service Integration Streamlines Government Processes

Getting On Top Of Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Applications

When Tax Credits Get Stuck in the Mud

Businesses are glad to take advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program. This federal program provides tax credits to companies that hire employees from certain target segments such as veterans, public assistance recipients, youths, and ex-felons. With employment, such individuals can gradually improve their economic standing.

To receive the tax credits, businesses have to send in applications for each employee who may qualify for WOTC. Since the economic downturn in 2008, there has been a surge of WOTC applications. Handling this increased volume would be challenging enough for the state agencies that process WOTC applications, but legislation issues have compounded the problem. The WOTC program requires renewal at the federal level each year, but that renewal is often delayed for months. While renewal is pending, all application processing comes to a complete halt. The result, when renewal is finally granted, is a backlog of tens of thousands of applications.

In the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), this backlog – plus all the new applications continuously being submitted – was traditionally the responsibility of a handful of over-extended employees and a few summer interns. The manual, paper-based process being used was too cumbersome and time-consuming to clear up the colossal backlog. IDES was feeling pressure from state businesses, all of whom were anxious to know if their tax credits would be approved. There was an urgent need to automate the WOTC application process.

Challenge

IDES was faced with manual processing of thousands of WOTC applications, delaying businesses from receiving valuable tax credits.

Solution

Adeptia created a fully-automated platform for receiving and processing WOTC applications, dramatically reducing processing time – from months or even years down to days – without adding staff, eliminating a huge backlog of applications, and saving Illinois employers millions of dollars in tax credits.

Benefits

Adeptia’s automation solution provided IDES:
• An online platform for electronic WOTC application submission
• The ability for employers to perform bulk uploads for multiple employees
• Elimination of data entry and human error
• Automation of the application validation process
• Seamlessly integrated manual error handling processes
• Complete visibility into the status of applications
• The capacity to process 10x as many applications with the same number of staff

Net Result

  • 174,393 WOTC applications processed in the 2nd quarter of 2015
  • $256 million dollars saved in the form of tax credits

By eliminating data entry and manual validation, the majority of applications are processed in less than a minute. Individual applications can be tracked from the point of receipt to final approval or denial.

Automation is the Name of the Game

IDES considered a custom-coding solution for WOTC application processing, but the capital expenditure required to hire programmers plus the time required for custom programming posed too great an obstacle. Instead, they reached out to Adeptia as a proven integration provider in the public sector. With a flexible, easily-configurable integration product capable of automating complex business processes, Adeptia assured IDES that a solution could be implemented swiftly to address the application backlog.

Within just six weeks, Adeptia put in place an automated solution using the Adeptia Integration Suite. First, Adeptia established an online platform for employers to submit WOTC applications. This was critical, as applications to date would come in by mail or by fax, requiring IDES staff to enter the data from them manually into the backend systems. With an online platform that was fully integrated with IDES’ backend systems, data could flow freely, eliminating the time for data entry and the potential for human error.

Second, Adeptia automated the application validation process. Rather than have interns check the qualifications of each employee – requiring data lookups from multiple governmental agencies – business rules were set up to query internal and external systems to automatically validate the data on the WOTC applications.

Subsequently, in 2015, Adeptia used Adeptia Connect to enable an option for employers to bulk upload applications for multiple employees. This was highly convenient for employers who might be submitting dozens or even hundreds of WOTC applications.

Processing Applications Instantly

The entire WOTC application backlog was eliminated within days following the initial launch of the Adeptia Integration Suite, and IDES is now set up to process 10x as many applications each year than they could before – with no increase in staff.

With the additional of Adeptia Connect, IDES was able to process 174,393 WOTC applications during the second quarter of the 2015 Federal Fiscal Year (FFY), saving Illinois businesses $256 million dollars in the form of tax credits.

By eliminating data entry and manual validation, the majority of applications are processed in less than a minute. On the occasions when an application contains incorrect or problematic data, the system flags it for error handling. Because human workflows are integrated seamlessly with automated process flows, the flagged application never leaves the system. The application can be monitored through the entire error handling process, and reports can be generated to show errors and resolutions.

The system also opens up visibility into the status of applications. Previously, there had been no way for IDES management or state businesses to check on the status of an application that had been submitted. Now, individual applications can be tracked from the point of receipt to final approval or denial. Employers are notified automatically via email when applications are approved.

With an online platform fully integrated with IDES’ backend systems, data can flow freely, eliminating the time for data entry and the potential for human error.

No Future Backlogs

Because funding for the WOTC program has to be renewed on an annual basis, there will often be a “hiatus” period – whether of two months or of ten months – where processing credits is suspended until legislation has been passed to continue and/or adjust the program.

Business rules are set up to query internal and external systems to automatically validate the data on the WOTC applications.

Applications, however, will still roll in from state businesses. But instead of collecting in huge piles of paper, these applications will come in electronically and be automatically entered into IDES’ backend systems. There, the data will wait until federal renewal of the WOTC program.

The moment renewal is approved, IDES can flip a switch and all the accumulated applications will be processed automatically within a few days, rather than the months required for manual application handling. There will be no more backlogs!

Expanding Automation in the Public Sector

The solution and benefits experienced by IDES can be replicated across the public sector – not only for other states struggling to contend with WOTC application backlogs, but for any local, state, or federal agency charged with processing forms that are governed by a strict set of rules, from tax records to property deeds. Adeptia’s integration solutions can connect agencies, applications, vendors, and businesses. Complex workflows become simplified through automation, error reduction, increased control, and total visibility. In the final analysis, automation allows public sector organizations to focus their most valuable resources – their people – on the core objectives that will generate the greatest return for all stakeholders.

Complex workflows become simplified through automation, error reduction, increased control, and total visibility.

Conclusion

With Adeptia’s new approach to end-to-end B2B operations, you can eliminate the obstacles to business growth and scalability. Would you like to see for yourself how Adeptia can help fast-forward revenues and reduce costs, all while saving your precious technical resources for more strategic work?

Sign up for a free trial, or call us at 312-321-1926 to see how we can benefit your organization.

About Adeptia Inc.

Adeptia Inc. is a software company that enables business users to create connections with customers and partners in minutes. Adeptia is a revolutionary social cloud application for digital business connectivity that enables business users to respond quickly to business opportunities and get to revenue faster. Adeptia helps Corporate IT manage this capability while retaining control and security.

Adeptia’s unified hybrid offering — with simple data connectivity in the cloud, and optional on-premises enterprise process-based integration — provides a competitive advantage to 450+ users, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, USA and with an office in New Delhi, India, Adeptia provides world-class support to its users around-the-clock.

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