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Leveraging Open-Source Technology to Automate Shared Services Processes


Rather than going the Intelligent Automation vendor route, some companies have evaluated open-source technology to automate their Shared Services operation.   With a significant number of viable technology providers in this space, the opportunity exists for companies to internally develop their own custom solutions using these powerful programming languages.  This research abstract looks at the steps one of our member companies took to carry out this evaluation and how they are applying this unique approach to robotic process automation (RPA) in their company.

Company Experience

The Peeriosity feature company for this PeercastTM in our Intelligent Automation research area is a large healthcare company based in the United States.  As is the case with most major corporations, this company has recently begun its journey into the Intelligent Automation arena looking for the technology solution that best fits its needs and organization.  One approach that they have seriously looked into is the use of open source technology to create their own RPA/AI related solutions. 

There are a variety of open source technologies related to the automation of process areas that are available, including the following:

1) Databases: CouchDB or PostgreSQL
2) WebKit: Engine for web browser – Developed by Apple
3) PhantomJS: Headless browser (no UI) – Developed by Chromium (Chrome)
4) Json.NET: Library for conversion
5) OopFactory X12 Parser: Specific X12 for Healthcare 837, 276, 277,etc.
6) iTextSharp: Library for creating and manipulating JSON to PDF files for upload or fax  
7) OpenOffice: Create templates, edit PDF properties – developed by Sun/Oracle
8) ReactJS: Toolkit to develop web application – developed by Facebook
9) Tesseract OCR: Developed by HP and Google to process scanned / fax documents

The company has developed an RPA solution utilizing open source technology that is related to their claim status process that took approximately seven months to create and implement, the details surrounding which can be found on the Peeriosity member website, including a presentation of key milestones and the automation framework for the project.  Some of the key design principles included data preprocessing and standardization, credential management, high volume transaction processing, programmatic website data extraction, and file splitting and parallel processing.

The results of the project have been impressive, with over 100,000 labor hours being saved, which results in annual cost savings of over $3 million.  With this extremely successful proof of concept now complete, they are now focusing their efforts on expanding the use of open source technology to additional areas of their Shared Services operation.

Closing Summary

The opportunity to utilize open source technology in developing custom Intelligent Automation solutions is in its early stages of adoption, but, as well demonstrated by the experiences of our PeercastTM feature company, can be a very cost-effective solution that can deliver powerful results in both cost reduction and productivity improvement.   

What is the status at your company regarding the implementation of Intelligent Automation?  Is the use of open source technology a viable opportunity for your Shared Services organization to take its overall performance to the next level?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

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