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Member Case Study #7 – Implementing Intelligent Automation

Introduction

Since launching our Intelligent Automation research area in late 2017, every month we have delivered insightful Peercasts featuring member companies’ experiences, sometimes using a panel format with multiple member companies discussing the pros and cons of available solutions, and at other times with one member company featured on a specific topic.  During the past year, seven of these Peercasts have followed an open format, best described as “Our Story – Implementing Intelligent Automation”, where the feature company shared their experiences, including lessons learned, with Peercast attendees, where attendee questions were answered candidly and honestly. 

Because Peercast attendance is restricted to member practitioners, there is never any reason for bias or restraint, with all attendees able to talk openly about their experiences.   Best of all, members can easily follow up privately with the feature presenter for a one-off conversation, or exchange comments or questions privately with other attendees using Peeriosity’s integrated Peer Mail capabilities. 

Company Experience

A recent PeercastTM in our Intelligent Automation research area featured a global technology company with over $50B in annual revenue, discussing their story for implementing Intelligent Automation within their Financial Operations Shared Services organization.  Their Finance digital transformation focused on the following areas:

  1. Financial Analysis & Reporting
  2. Strategy & Forecasting
  3. Business Process Automation
  4. Risk Management

Within the category of Business Process Automation, the feature company shared experiences about deploying Robotic Process Automation in 5 areas, including bots for SAP reports, bots to create 1,500+ financial management reports, bots to assist with the royalty contract process, and a multi-lingual chatbot to help automate procurement and payment support.

Here are some additional details regarding their experience for business process automation related to FP&A reporting.  The process change was to automate the refresh and preparation of over 10,000 monthly queries from various source systems to create 1,500+ unique financial reports, which reduced Shared Service delivery costs and eliminated human error.  When implemented, bots refresh report data, perform manual slicer tasks and prep reports for human operators based on a daily work schedule, notifying when jobs are completed and ready for analysis using a built-in resolution workflow.  The results were impressive:

  • A 20% reduction in the FP&A back office team
  • Elimination of human errors in the data refresh process
  • A 40% reduction in data refresh time

Additional details regarding the efforts of the feature company can be found on the Peeriosity member website, exclusively for members of Peeriosity’s Intelligent Automation research program.

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to provide supporting data for the Peercast by asking members to comment on the business problem the Peeriosity member company was hoping to solve when initially implementing Intelligent Automation, with details for the primary long-term objective of the program.

Regarding the initial business problem, 71% of member companies indicated that cost reduction was the primary reason.  Of the remaining 29%, 13% reported the primary reason was undefined, with 8% focused on creating capacity, and 8% focused on digital transformation.

When looking at the primary long-term objectives the emphasis shifts, with 40% selecting cost reduction, 28% focused long-term on capacity creating, and 16% focused on digital transformation.   Here are the details:

Here are some of the added comments from members:

  • Our primary goal is creating value for the business by decreasing manual work. At times this value may be realized through cost reduction and at other times it is realized by being able to do more with the same resources.
  • It’s hard to pinpoint just one problem we were solving for because there are other factors we considered, such as capacity creation, quality improvement and even job enrichment. But it all began with our goals of including digital transformation in our strategy.
  • I’ve only responded from an HR SSC perspective. Indeed, our aspirations are driven by several reasons, but the primary ambition is to do a better job for our (internal) customers.
  • It was tough to narrow down to one selection per question as we aim to: reduce costs, enable job enrichment by redeploying time to more strategic efforts, create capacity within a given G&A footprint, and further enable compliance and quality through standard, repeatable processes.
  • Cost reduction was the initial goal, but then we learned all of the benefits of automation. We’re still developing our RPA strategy and long-term objective.
  • Primarily cost reduction, but we are continuing to explore and add to our RPA/AI functionality.

Closing Summary

Every month Peeriosity members participate in private and exclusive discussions with Peers as members of a practitioners-only research community that delivers primary, “from the source”, research with details for how leading companies are evaluating and implementing Intelligent Automation.  Each Peercast is supported by member research, using Peeriosity’s iPollingTM capabilities to highlight the range of approaches followed, with the ability to see details by company, and with the option to follow up directly with peers for additional discussion.

When considering the reasons member companies are implementing Intelligent Automation, for 71% the primary driver is cost reduction.  When taking a longer-term view, the emphasis on cost reduction continues to be the largest objective, but with a shift to include capacity creation and digital transformation as significant objectives.

What approach does your company take to access primary research for how leading companies are implementing Intelligent Automation?  If you have already started your Intelligent Automation journey, what is your primary objective today, and do you expect that to shift over time?

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

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“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. 

“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.



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