As global digitalisation increases, more and more enterprises worldwide are turning to emerging technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to streamline their operations, improve customer experience and reduce costs, which can drive scalability and innovation. In fact, enterprise adoption of RPA reached a 105 per cent growth rate from 2016 to 2017, according to research firm, Everest Group.
Optus Wholesale is no exception, having embarked on an RPA journey 3 years ago. Currently Optus Wholesale uses RPA as an alternative solution to traditional IT processes such as to process new nbn™ connections
Michael Raines, Senior Manager - Digital Innovation & Automation, Optus says “Optus Wholesale have truly embraced RPA as a tool for internal transformation and sharpened focus on customer experience. We also believe in RPA as a way to genuinely foster greater engagement with our employees. For us, this is one of the most exciting parts as it not only brings our people on a journey, but also increases their capabilities and frees them up to do more value-added services, which in turn provides a better customer experience”.
The link between emerging technologies and attracting talent
There are more benefits to RPA than just business efficiency. It also helps bring people together to collaborate and innovate, and frees them to achieve business goals in new ways so they stay engaged and interested.
Often a disconnect exists between employees' mission-driven tendencies and the transactional work those in entry-level positions are tasked with, particularly for millennials. People want jobs where they can innovate, create, and work with the latest tech. Employees are generally eager to reduce repetitive tasks, like dealing with the daily deluge of emails, so they can spend more energy building new skills and adding meaningful value.
With a recent study by Udemy showing that 46% of employees cite limited opportunities to learn new skills as the top reason they're bored in their roles. Technologies like RPA can help create the meaningful work experiences and the skill development workers crave.
How Optus entices new talent and upskills existing employees
To attract new talent, bolster our current employees' abilities and scale up automation, we launched the Optus Automation Academy – a capability development program that upskills our people for future technical and non-technical automation roles. "We actually take our people on the journey to do everything from ideation to documentation to delivery, including development, and then certify them to be change managers," Raines says.
Enhancing employee engagement with RPA
Many employees report that they're excited at the prospect of working side-by-side with disruptive technologies like RPA. They want to learn new skills in this burgeoning field, and forge pathways into new roles that involve more value-added tasks. They view it as a way to create better relationships with customers and stakeholders and improve their overall work-life balance, leading to improved job satisfaction and retention.
RPA's role in improving customers' experiences
Customers benefit from the efficiencies created by RPA too. Faster turnaround times mean they don't have to wait as long to get what they want, which means they can serve their customers’ needs faster, better and cheaper.
It means customers also receive more consistent service, improved accuracy, and get to engage with innovative technology. It all adds up to higher customer satisfaction and improved net promoter scores.
How RPA can improve your business
- Increases throughput - Increasing throughput allows your business to identify bottlenecks and eliminate them through automation. By reducing cycle times it can decrease the turnaround time back to customers. The manual processing of orders & tasks are also reduced with 24/7 utilisation of a robot. As a result your throughput increases alongside accuracy and quality of data.
- Revenue generation + early turn on - Customers are onboarding quicker than normal and services are switched on at faster rates, allowing businesses to receive early revenue generation.
- The customer experience - Customer expectations can be met and exceeded by improving the integrity and reliable transfer of information. Customer problems are resolved faster and with higher accuracy, improving the overall experience.
- Your employee engagement - Employee engagement is improved by utilising time and effort toward more value added tasks. Repetitive work and processes are automated to allow employees to focus on other pressing or strategy focused tasks. This in turn gives employees an opportunity to grow and up-skill themselves.
Achieving objectives and avoiding pitfalls in an RPA rollout
A number of factors can make implementing RPA a challenge. Integrating legacy systems. Adhering to government regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Overcoming communication barriers between siloed departments.
You can give your RPA rollout the best chance of success.
By carefully considering your implementation plan and following a few key principles:
- Get buy-in from stakeholders – engage early and often with all the people who are going to be involved or affected by an RPA rollout, and demonstrate the benefits. By clearly spelling out the vision and advantages of automation, you'll bring them on the journey with you. After all, they're probably already automating with tools like Excel macros, even if they don't realise it.
- Keep in constant communication – successful change management means maintaining a top-down approach to communicating and preserving consistency in your vision. This demonstrates a transparent sense of direction, reinforces that leadership is across the latest technology and trends, shows that changes align to both employee needs and business goals, and helps set and manage expectations.
- Provide 'freedom to fail' – success depends on taking chances, so create a culture that’s not risk averse and encourage a 'test and learn' approach. Empowering your employees so they can test and try new things will create a sense of achievement, upskilling and satisfaction.
- Look beyond the bottom line – Don’t start out with a cost reduction objective. Rather, seek to shift your business activities to those that add more value to your customer. The savings will follow.
For a successful RPA implementation, look to Optus Wholesale
As part of our commitment to enhancing customer experience, Optus Wholesale has embraced RPA as part of our digital transformation. We see automation as essential to:
- Staying competitive in an increasingly disruptive entrepreneurial culture where innovative companies can transform an industry overnight.
- Attracting the best talent, especially digital natives and millennials, who want to work at innovative companies that use the latest technology.
- Appealing to increasingly tech-savvy customers who expect much more from their experiences in the digital world.
- Helping our people find more and better ways to add value in their working day to both our business and our customers.
Learn more about how Optus has embedded a culture of innovation through automation, read more about the Optus Automation Academy