Automation in action
Robotic process automation is the use of software that mimics human behaviour to carry out repetitive, high volume administrative tasks.
Cognitive automation – including machine learning and artificial intelligence – will take us much further than where we are today, and give rise to the next generation of business process efficiency.
Are you facing these challenges?
An immediate pressure to reduce costs or increase productivity
Complex, multi-step processes dependent on numerous, fragmented systems
Instances of data errors during transaction handling
Inability of staff to spend time on value-add activities
Process automation benefits
Non-invasive technology overlaid on existing systems allows compatibility with ongoing developments
The right result, decision or calculation – first time round
Identical processes and tasks eliminate output variations
Services are provided 24/7
Allow staff to spend more time on value-add activities
Instantly scale up or down to match demand peaks and troughs
Improved job stimulation can positively impact retention
Fully maintained logs for compliance
There are many potential applications for robotic process automation across different functions. Some examples include:
- Query assignment and prioritisation
- One-touch / simple query response
- Out of hours responses
- Incoming customer information
- Validation checks
- Customer notifications
- Credit control
- Billing / invoice creation
- Statement reconciliations
- Purchase order three-way match
- Trend tracking
- Benefits administration
- Payslip management
- Time and attendance management
- Recruiting process
- Education and training
- Compliance reporting
- File transfer protocol download, upload and backup
- Server application and monitoring
- Synchronising, deleting and emptying folders
- File management
- Email processing
- Batch processing
- Work order management
- Demand and supply planning
- Quote, invoice and contract management
- Returns processing
- Freight management
- Category analysis
- Vendor administration
- Scenario planning and modelling
- Entity account mapping and maintenance
- Preparation of tax provision by jurisdiction
- Discrete item preparation
- Post tax journal entries
Embracing automation: EY’s global journey
Just over a year ago, we took the first steps in our automation journey, with three proof of concepts to help improve customer experience, quality of services and efficiency.
Today we have over 500 internal processes automated which has resulted in enhanced productivity, improved quality, and talent retention and engagement for high value tasks.
Helping a global car rental company use automation to unlock productivity gains
Our client wanted to deliver productivity gains in its shared services centre in Budapest. Tactical automation through Excel and scripting had reached its limits, and they wanted to move to robotic process automation to unlock the next stage of gains.
We quickly assessed customer and commercial support processes to identify improvement opportunities, and used our experience in robotics, data automation, optimal character recognition and digitisation to deliver a holistic business case. We built robots for a proof of value to show that our solution can be successfully integrated into the client’s IT landscape and deliver benefits.
We demonstrated a savings potential of 10 – 20 full-time equivalent (FTE) through a proof of concept, which translates into a saving of €1m over three years, and a 900% return on investment, and highlighted standardisation and automation opportunities with a saving of 200 – 400 FTE over two years.
Helping a premium drinks company drive efficiency benefits through automation
Our client employs over 30,000 people across 80 countries with manufacturing facilities around the globe. They were looking to insource previously outsourced roles and establish a global robotics programme to use automation to drive efficiency.
We undertook a rapid assessment in the order to cash, procure to pay and record to report process areas to identify automation improvement opportunities. We are leading the client through the full robotics implementation life cycle, from process optimisation through design, development and deployment of process automation, to setting up a global Centre of Excellence.
By the end of the programme, we aim to deliver a performance improvement of 15-25% on a base of more than 1,000 full-time equivalent. Work is being moved from outsourcing providers to the captive shared services centre organisation. A self-sufficient robotic process automation capability is being built to maintain and develop future automation opportunities with minimal external support.
Global consumer goods company
Our client’s shared service centres must deliver regular, annual productivity improvements. Their month-end processing was resource intensive and flowed between teams and tasks, so they moved to end-to-end automation to realise significant productivity gains, reduce headcount cost, increase data quality and scale up operations.
We helped capture, assess and automate opportunities from record to report. Using our experience in finance processes and SAP, we developed an in-house robotic process automation capability with integrated data and analytics reporting and workflow management tools.This helped increase process standardisation, improve data consistency and remove multiple process steps – delivering a year’s productivity gains in a 14 week engagement, and saving 75% of reporting headcount. The quality of tax compliance processes was also improved by introducing regular automated validations and new analytical capabilities to spot issues early.