Robots go live at MOPAC
ENGIE went live with a billing process at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in October, its first robotic process outside of North Tyneside Council.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a piece of software that can be trained to do mundane, manual, repetitive tasks that would normally require significant man hours to process. The software acts as a digital worker logging into any application with normal credentials, making it incredibly flexible.
ENGIE successfully implemented the technology in 2014, in its first local authority context at North Tyneside Council. The council acted as an incubation site to develop an operational model and train staff culminating in the launch of a Centre of Excellence (COE) in 2016. The COE has over 30 automation projects in the pipeline and the team is growing rapidly to take on more projects. ENGIE estimates that up to 20% of its back office processes could be automated by 2022.
At MOPAC, RPA has been used to automate part of its billing process, an area that handles thousands of transactions every year. The software cleared a four week backlog processing 1,200 billing jobs in its first week. Gerard Archdeacon, MOPAC’s billing manager has welcomed the change, noting that it has released staff to add more value elsewhere: “The RPA billing process automates all the mundane admin work, which enables us to redirect resource to higher value tasks that are often neglected. It ensures that reactive jobs are sent to our quantity surveyor as soon as we have all the costs in, helping us achieve our monthly billing targets and speed up cash flow. Ultimately, we’ve been able to change our focus from reacting to costs suddenly coming in to proactively seeking costs in order to further “feed” the automated process.”
The launch of this process is part of ambitious plans to roll out RPA across ENGIE’s 14,000 UK contracts. The business case is compelling; a digital worker is 80% cheaper than a human equivalent, is available 24/7/365 and will save ENGIE approximately £10m over the next five years. Some processes can be fully ‘industrialised’ i.e. built once and deployed many times, which reduces development lead times and cost.
ENGIE’s RPA programme has been truly transformative for its business and staff across the UK; enabling a scalable automation solution has created more fulfilling work for staff whilst saving money and improving customer service. On an average process the initial payback is less than 6 months with average savings over 80% per year.
If you would like learn more about ENGIE’s pioneering RPA programme, please contact Martin Ruane, Programme Director, on 07772 532101 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.