Home Bots & Business Report: European executives share automation benefits

Report: European executives share automation benefits

by Gary Flood

Last week’s ‘Reboot Work Festival’ featured a range of regional UiPath case study and project updates—here, we focus on the rewards the automation giant’s EMEA clients seem to be reaping through its platform.

At the Reboot Work conference last week a wide spread of real-world RPA customers were willing to go on the record to say the software does really work.  Global (see our Friday Reboot Work story), Americas, and Asia-Pac UiPath users shared benefits and best practice ideas at the event. Six EMEA customers also shared their RPA journeys, including commercial organizations from Germany to Romania, plus a public sector entity, the Irish national health service.

Let’s briefly look at the wins these automation practitioners say their CFOs like hearing about:

KION: ‘Doing RPA in both Finance and IT should be the New Normal’

One of the world’s leading providers of forklift trucks, warehouse equipment and supply chain solutions, KION Group says it has 50 bots live out of a group-wide ‘bot factory’—but that RPA traction at the Frankfurt-headquartered company is better tracked by the size of the whole-company process change requests it is handling.

“What is really unique about our team setup is that we stopped thinking in silos,” its Director Digital Solutions, Janine Stiehl, told the audience. “Now, most of our processes are automated within Finance, which for us really means the whole admin area, but increasingly in IT, too. We really benefit from this setup.” She added that at least 25 more KION Group processes are in the pipeline to be automated, while her new RPA Ambassador structure is also proving to be extremely helpful to fill the pipeline.

Generali Vitality: ‘Our humans and our robots working closely together’

Also in Germany, but down in Munich, this health insurance leader has gone public that it has already saved 80 million euros via automation and is fully confident that it will rise to an additional 125 million over the next two to three years.

This, Diana Kanostrevac, its Head of Operations/Innovation Champion, told the UiPath online community, has been down to a focus on reducing all the manual repetition work for agents. That means they “don’t need to take care” about that side anymore, and so can help customers–opening up what she calls “a bridge between the legacy world and the new world and so huge potential for employees, customers and the whole company to go to the next level.”

The result, she says: an integrated workflow 40% of all Generali Vitality work fully digitalized, 40% semi-automated, and 20% being solely human run.

Health Service Executive (HSE): ‘From our point of view, RPA’s been universally positive’

A lot of focus on positive RPA outcomes tends to be on the commercial space, but government is often even more scrupulous about driving automation until it really delivers concrete ROI. That certainly seems to have been the case in Dublin, where the Republic’s national health system, the HSE, says pilots begun in late 2019 soon evolved from 10 bots in May 2021 to 120 as of January 2022.

“Up to the end of 2021, we completed 2.2 million transactions and avoided or saved Irish clinicians 57,000 hours of manual effort,” stated its General Manager (RPA CoE & Business Services CRM), Kevin Kelly. What makes Eire’s automation success even more important, he added, was the benefit its introduction in both HSE shared services but at the front-line gave the country in terms of its fight against COVID. Policy makers have welcomed how medical scientists have been relieved of manual data entry work so they can analyze patient data after it’s been inputted by their RPA bots and do the more valuable work citizens need them to do to fight the pandemic.

And just like the coronavirus itself, the work’s not over. “Coinciding with the fourth wave of COVID, so far in 2022 we’ve completed 1.6 million transactions and avoided 187,000 hours of work, which equates to 109 working years. That’s seven and a half million euro in salary costs,” he said.

Swiss Re: ‘Moving to a much more targeted approach on RPA outcomes’

After eight years of RPA, this Zurich-based global reinsurance company is benefitting from what its Intelligent Automation Center head Jose Ordinas Lewis describes as the robotic help of at least 110 full-time colleagues, with at least 235 automations racked up so far and over 100,000 hours of robot hours worked over a million separate Swiss Re processes.

In fact, so successful automation at the company has been that one of the first robots turned-on, a Finance robot that sped up reconciliations, has already ‘retired.’ For Lewis, the mission now must be from bottom-up automation to Intelligent Automation—though not at the expense of on-going optimization: “We’ve harvested a lot of the low hanging fruit, so this is an opportunity for us to really push the envelope. We want to enable our business teams to help themselves by building up an automation community practice and democratizing automation so that as the CoE (Center of Excellence) focuses on these bigger ticket activities, we still can leverage the platform to work on the smaller tasks and activities.”

Provident Financial Romania: ‘HR letters that used to take 30 minutes now get done in seconds’

The Romanian am of the British IPF group, a non-banking financial institution specializing in loans, has not been using RPA anything like as long—but says it has already become so popular that one of its three new robots runs two of the biggest tasks in HR, hiring and onboarding.

“In just one year,” confirms the brand’s Human Resource Director, Marius Ciurariu, “that’s around 300 hours saved in my department—hours that my people now can spend doing something which actually brings value to our employees rather than filling in forms.” Similar time wins are being experienced with use of the other two robots, he says, in Finance and Risk.

These early wins are attracting attention, he adds. “My colleagues in Finance are looking forward to more automation of accounting processes, which they say will definitely make their life easier. Marketing is also looking into how they can use RPA when it comes to touching base with customers, especially with repetitive tasks. And I really hope we don’t stop there; IT is an area that should also focus on RPA,” he believes.

Liberty Global: ‘Bill Gates wanted a computer on every desk. Now I think it should be a robot on every one, too’

Finally, over in London, world leader in converged broadband, video, and mobile communications services Liberty Global is also convinced RPA adds value.

In its case, its Director of Shared Service Automation & AI, Shashi Singh, told viewers of his online case study Q&A, after just 3.5 years working with UiPath software over 200,000 hours have been saved in this core company-wide back-office function

“I think that’s a pretty good achievement,” he says modestly, adding the company also highly values softer benefits, like measured improvements in accuracy and boosted employee engagement, as teams no longer have to do some of the more manual, repetitive tasks they did before.

Equally significant, he believes, has been internal automation technology transfer. “We’ve trained over 150 people now within the organization on automation–what it really means, what the tools are capable of doing, as by bringing our people on our RPA journey means that we can really understand what the art of the automation possible increasingly is.”

Go here if you’d like to see more on these six case studies, as well as the regions we are not able to cover, in the ‘Amphitheater.’


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