What is RPA? RPA or Robotic Process Automation leverages software or other technology solutions to automate high-volume, rules-based tasks within an organization. The benefits of automation in an environment such as the Shared Services Center (SSC) are two-fold: First, staff members become empowered to focus their attention on more complex and challenging assignments where human judgment is required. Second, the accuracy and efficiency of high-volume tasks like data entry from one system into another are significantly increased. Automated processes can run twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!
Currently, there are three bots running at the SSC for the accounts payable (AP) team: One bot to assist with triage of incoming work, one to read invoices, and one to create vouchers. As of late November, 46,000 cases were triaged and 3,500 vouchers were created by the bots. The bot reading the invoices can only identify and read invoices from three suppliers currently. The number of vouchers created is expected to grow over the next year, as this bot is trained to read more supplier invoices. Here is a sneak peek at how these three bots work together to support the AP process.
Most recently, the SSC held its first Bot-a-thon. 20 individuals from the SSC, Michigan Medicine, ITS, and Facilities and Operations spent two days learning to build bots. Participants identified a process that would be a good candidate for automation based on the benefits of automation, the complexity of the process, time per transaction, and the volume processed annually. The group then talked through each of these processes giving everyone an opportunity to receive insight into the work and thinking behind automating a process. Everyone walked away better equipped to analyze their own business processes and make strategic plans and decisions on automation.