Transformation, by definition, implies that the new replaces the old. For most organizations, the path to digital transformation is hardly a straight line. But with the right partners and the right attitude, things fall into place. This has been the experience of one of the world’s premier providers of data center services and interconnection, operating across more than 30 countries.
This organization’s Strategy and Transformation team began exploring Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in 2017 as the initial component to their digital transformation strategy. Starting from a single automation, their program has irrefutably delivered value.
Their automation program has not only delivered concrete cost-cutting and efficiency gains, but also expanded to include more facets of intelligent automation including the talent required to run and operate AI. What this organization did right, was build with a scale-ready mindset. This client was open to bringing in partner support when they reached the natural inflection points of a wholesale transformation. We continue to be honored to partner on that success.
Avoid Early Challenges – Bringing in The Right Partners at the Right Time
A new automation center of excellence is often challenged with “where do we start?” The natural answer would appear to be that building capabilities in house would be the most cost-effective approach. Most times, however, that is not the case. Intelligent Automation is shaping up to be a complete Business Unit in a modern day organization. The truth is, it’s harder than it may look and software vendors have done a great job marketing the ease and “low code” nature of Intelligent Automation.
While development isn’t usually the challenge, infrastructure setup, procuring new automation ideas and evangelizing the inevitable change management component to a transformation is the part that will scale or fail the program.
This team’s initial automation efforts resulted in some successes, but seeking more budget required demonstration of bigger wins and a more transformative lens on the program. It’s a program, not a project.
Team leaders spent 6 months evaluating the program and identified key components that needed to be present for the digital transformation strategy to be successful. Team Leaders reached out to WonderBotz to help drive the transformation journey once they realized there was a necessary blend of process improvement, design technique, development discipline and stakeholder alignment.
WonderBotz joined the Digital Transformation team bringing deep expertise and experience in automation strategies and technology. There is not one way to approach digital transformation. WonderBotz’ experience across diverse transformative use-cases cemented our client’s trust and allowed us to become a true extension of their team, inheriting our lessons-learned and avoiding costly rookie mistakes.
WonderBotz brought the expertise as well as the attention and dedication a boutique firm could provide.– Sr Director of Finance Strategy and Transformation
Designing Automation Processes The Robot Way
After many years of experience, WonderBotz has created a solution design philosophy that embraces what’s known as the “Robot Way” of process optimization. This approach ditches inefficient manual steps only required by human knowledge workers in favor of a straight and reimagined process path. It is a cultural and mindset shift to understand that the “new” way must lean into the inherent strengths of a digital workforce. Another sure way to fail fast is to automate the “as-is” processes.
Components are designed to be resilient and reusable between automations, which are built using frameworks. These frameworks can then be used to rapidly deploy automations in other departments, ultimately shortcutting development time and increasing the margins of the program.
Bespoke automations can be costly, resource-intensive, and time-consuming especially when there is an alternative way of approaching automation. Leveraging the WonderBotz reusable frameworks and prebuilt solutions allowed the Transformation team to scale at unprecedented speed and expand the digital transformation program globally.
Reusable frameworks are the basis for each of the WonderBotz Prebuilt Automaton Solutions suite for Finance and Accounting. Configuring these ready to go solutions is fast and can be implemented at most organizations in a couple of weeks. This particular client leverages one of the first prebuilt solutions in the WonderBotz solution stack, ReportBotz.
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Doubling Speed to Value with WonderBotz Podz
By the end of 2019, the company had 8 enterprise-scale automations in production and the Automation COE now included a WonderBotz Developer Pod in the IT team to support its multiple platforms and the added scale from the program’s momentum.
The Transformation team hosted workshops across the Finance department helping evangelize the value of automation and beginning to procure suggestions for new builds across the organization. This exercise validated the power of a digital workforce and generated excitement- especially after the organization began to receive outside recognition for automation excellence.
With a keen focus on applying the Robot Way approach, WonderBotz helped determine frameworks for each team. Business units became internal clients to the COE and the excitement continued to generate demand. The flexible nature of WonderBotz Podz allowed for incremental augmentation allowing for a real-time budget understanding and to flex up or down as needed. ReportBotz+ contains a framework that, with minimal configuration from the business user, automatically generates and distributes reports for any team. This made for an easy-to-consume automation for business users who may have been intimidated by the program’s ask of citizen developers.
Focusing on a frameworks approach enabled the Transformation team to quickly reuse RPA implementations to scale quickly and speed time to value.– Head of Finance and Accounting
Crafting Company Culture through Digital Transformation
A digital transformation strategy is but one part of a larger corporate culture, and should support continuous improvement and growth across all areas. A Transformation team not only invests in optimizing processes, but should also look to upskill and augment the skills of their people.
One approach sometimes used is the addition of a citizen development arm in an organization. This speaks to the strategic decision around operating a federated or centralized COE model.
In late 2019 this client’s Transformation team launched a community to encourage citizen developers. The initiative upskills employees with digital competencies that they can use to optimize their workflows. Participants could learn RPA development and, under the mentorship of an experienced team member, produce proof of concept automations for their department. The program launched with an initial cohort of 29 members and now has over 170 enrolled participants. They leaned on WonderBotz to help advise governance to ensure processes were followed and that the initial discipline of the central team was adhered to.
The Transformation team has been recognized by Gartner and other publications for the success of their citizen developer program. Their program has been recognized in multiple RPA platform Customer award categories. The future looks bright for these digital transformation experts and there is no sign of slowing down.
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The Intelligent Automation Journey Continues…
This digital transformation success story is a testament to the power of investing in employees, focusing on people, making data-driven decisions, and leveraging the right technology partners. Change is a never-ending process, and the Transformation team is now focused on replicating the process optimization mindset across the entire organization.
The Transformation team is continuing their innovation as RPA strategy evolves. They have added OCR, document understanding and other AI functionality to their Intelligent Automation program. They now have 58 automations delivering the work of 48FTE’s. After each implementation the teams reported their own results, achieving ROI’s ranging from 35% to 1,500%.
By applying these keys to success, any organization can set itself up for a successful digital transformation journey that will drive tangible results, optimize processes, and prepare for the future.
- Optimization of the work performance of 48 FTE by automating processes within the organization
- Returned over 175,000 hours back to finance team year over year
- Eliminated $5M in unneeded accruals by automating the entire source-to-pay workflow.
- Saved $2M in tax penalties
- Received awards from the leading RPA platforms more than once
Check out more Digital Transformation RPA Case studies
Learn more about the challenges and outcomes of Digital Transformation for each of the Finance and Accounting teams and how WonderBotz is uniquely suited to help you start and scale.