A global leader in facility management services wanted to improve efficiencies and save costs by streamlining back-office manual processes. It implemented a global robotic process automation (RPA) platform to increase productivity, improve consistency and boost scalability opportunities across geographies.
The company wanted to deploy the global RPA platform to help automate time-consuming back-office manual tasks. A well-structured, centrally managed automation platform would deliver business benefits such as improved service quality and reduced operating costs.
Based in Copenhagen, this customer is one of the leading workplace experience and facility management services companies in the world. With a focus on providing a clean and safe work environment for its customers, it supports more than 40,000 customers in 30 countries. Enterprises rely on it to create, manage, and maintain work environments that make life easier, more productive and enjoyable.
Successful facilities management involves a significant amount of back-office functions such as reporting, invoicing and, in this case, managing a global workforce of more than 400,000 employees. The customer focused on implementing a corporate-wide automation initiative that would deliver many operational benefits, including relieving the workload on its back-office staff.
The company sought to establish an automation practice in its Denmark office, then extend that to enable it to do automation on a global scale. The company's head of global big data says that the company was very decentralized. “We had a bit of a siloed IT, data and process landscape. We started with key strategic accounts and aimed to use and share best practices to deliver the same service and have the same processes to be more effective. We looked at automation as a way to free up some of the time spent on manual elements.”
In 2020, the company launched a strategy with an emphasis on creating an integrated facility services delivery model focused on improving consistency across global operations. Part of those automation-first efforts has been to increase the use of automation for back-office processes. An automation initiative that could reduce employee time spent performing certain processes, such as reporting, would free up operations professionals to focus on value-added tasks such as customer care, new sales and internal development.
The power of RPA: Better efficiency and quality
Enterprises worldwide are deploying robotic process automation platforms to automate routine tasks that would normally be performed by humans. RPA platforms deliver tremendous business value because they not only eliminate the need for employees to engage in time-consuming repetitive work, but they also provide improvements in key areas such as service quality, consistency and efficiency.
The company’s earlier automation initiatives were scattered across different functions and countries, lacking governance and a structural approach. It sought a well-structured, centrally managed as-a-service automation platform, based in the cloud, that would be highly adaptive and easily scaled. The customer says, “Our goal was to spend less time on architecture and infrastructure. Anything we can get as-a-service that matches our best practices in a secure manner is welcome. If that means we are going to spend less on overhead and on managing extra suppliers and extra servers, that's a benefit.”
The customer turned to DXC Technology to help lead it on its automation journey. Initially, DXC worked closely with the company to create a global Center of Excellence (CoE) for RPA, where tasks and responsibilities could be easily shared between the customer and relevant stakeholders. Starting with the company's Denmark division, new operating models and business frameworks were implemented, along with the IT infrastructure needed to support them.
Once the governance and work methods were in place, the first automations were built on the global RPA platform. As more countries were added to the global initiative, the solution was also migrated from on-premises to cloud. In the first year, the company gathered promising data on cost savings and on the return on investment (ROI) achieved from the first countries included in the global initiative. DXC led the integration of technical assets from on-premises to a hybrid cloud solution and facilitated the expansion of the automation platform to other countries.
Automation where it makes sense
DXC is providing end-to-end robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) capabilities that support the company’s automation-first approach. Back-office tasks that have been automated include work order management, procurement, and accounts payable. Many of the manual tasks that used to take a significant amount of employee time are now performed by bots. In some cases, a transaction that took a human 10 minutes to perform can be completed by a bot in less than 30 seconds.
DXC has helped the customer take on business process challenges faced in different countries, some of which can be solved by an RPA-driven solution and others with non-RPA technology, such as process redesign or a customized solution. The customer says, “We only automate processes where there is value. If we look at processes end to end and say OK, this is not valuable, we don't want to touch this because it doesn't make sense.”
An example of how automation is streamlining an important task is the onboarding of new employees. DXC created a solution that enables a supervisor to fill out one simple web-based form when a new employee is hired, with automation handling everything else in the onboarding process. Previously, it took a supervisor around 45 minutes to perform onboarding tasks for each new employee, such as arranging access rights and ordering a computer. That work is now automated, taking less than a minute per new employee; this has saved the company more than 2,500 supervisory hours annually in one country alone.
The global RPA CoE has been instrumental in helping the customer's operations in individual countries identify and build automation solutions to fit its specific needs. DXC has also engaged with the company in delivering country-based awareness and training sessions to stimulate demand for RPA services.
Improved global alignment
The RPA and automation initiatives are closely aligned with the company’s global strategy of improving operational consistency across geographies. DXC is helping the customer achieve standardization and improved global alignment of business processes through the centrally managed automation initiative. Business processes across geographies are much more consistent, compliant, and manageable. The customer says, “We wanted to be able to scale without needing to make architectural changes. Upgrades can happen without us needing to do too many tasks, and new features can become available in a more streamlined manner.”
Other benefits of automation have included reducing the chance for errors and increasing overall business process efficiency. There has been a vast improvement in employee satisfaction in the countries that have implemented automation. “Our colleagues now spend their very precious time on more value-creating tasks rather than manual tasks,” the customer says. “We also have a lot of other benefits such as better compliance, improved time to market and fewer errors.”
The customer says moving to a cloud-based automation platform has had a positive effect on the overall business. “We are in a huge transformation at the company, and we are seeing that as you create one process or automate that process, you start getting an engagement discussion, you start getting visibility, you start maturing the organization and understanding what automation is actually delivering. We've been through a journey the last 12 years, and we have a journey in front of us. But the slope we are on is not slippery.”