Driving Efficiency with Intelligent Automation

RevGen helped a telecommunications client implement RPA to enable a more accurate and efficient cost reconciliation process

Project Overview

A global telecom company faced issues reconciling offnetwork inventory assets which created delays in dispute resolution and monthend financial close. This significantly impacted their ability to accurately allocate millions of dollars of monthly costs.

These delays resulted from an inability to correctly match inventory because of missing invoice data. RevGen was engaged with the goal of leveraging emerging technologies to more intelligently identify missing data and implement supplemental feeds to improve the match rate in an automated and sustainable manner. 

Client Challenge

Each month a material amount of inventory items could not be automatically matched to vendor invoices. It was an unsustainable, highly manual process that left many issues unaddressed. Additionally, inventory asset classes were frequently misidentified causing confusion between fixed, shared, and capitalizable items. This created a need to hire additional resources to manually research and resolve each exception, which equated to higher costs.

Contract negotiations

The group responsible for the negotiation of vendor agreements had limited leverage with the vendors and could not always negotiate client-specific data formats to ensure an automated back-office process. Vendors also used different terminology to describe equivalent products and services, adding to complexity when normalizing and analyzing vendor-supplied data.

Legacy systems

A multitude of legacy ordering systems did not represent purchase orders in a consistent manor. Efforts to ensure consistency across systems would take considerable resources, time, and cost. For this reason, full system refactoring was not feasible for this client, so alternative technology approaches were necessary.

Lack of automation

To date, approaches to address these challenges were handled by adding more personnel. The client realized that this was unsustainable, inefficient, and costly.

Approach

RevGen worked with the client and identified the vendors responsible for most of the monthly exceptions and data needed to resolve them. Each vendor was prioritized by the client based on value and volume. We decided RPA technology was ideal for addressing these issues as it automated virtually any process by mimicking user interactions with applications. RPA ran on demand, required no additional staff, and was independent of the technologies used by vendors.

Solution

The overall goal was to increase the automated match rate for vendor data, thereby reducing manual research and cutting costs while improving timelines. To do this, we leveraged Automation Anywhere’s RPA technology.

Supplemental data

We determined that most of the identified vendors had supplemental data available through various reports in their portals. Using RPA, we had to source that data, standardize it, and load it into the existing vendor invoicing data.

Automation Anywhere

Leading RPA technology Automation Anywhere was used to build the bots that gathered this supplemental data and loaded it into Oracle. Leveraging the web recorder, database, logging, and regular expression modules, RevGen was able to deliver bots that gathered the needed data faster, more accurately, and more reliably than the old manual processes.

Regularly scheduled updates

The unattended RPA bots were used to ingest the various vendor attributes needed to complete our client’s invoices regularly. We built the bots to replicate the actions staff had taken to research and resolve exceptions, automating what had once been an extremely labor-intensive process.

Results

Not only was the client able to reduce the number of monthly exceptions, but they were also able to better identify and classify expenses, leading to fewer manual adjustments. This led to improved accuracy of the monthly cost accounting in the range of millions.

Exception reduction

By acquiring supplemental descriptive data not available in invoice-based data feeds, the client was able to quickly reference the repository to address and prevent future inventory exceptions.

Fewer manual adjustments

The repository was also able to address issues identifying shared and capitalizable expenses, allowing them to book items more accurately and reducing manual adjustments.

Cross-department collaboration

The repository allowed stakeholders from other areas of the business to look at the same vendor-sourced data, which provided better visibility of the products and services utilized. Information from this repository also aided in additional contract-related adjustments, saving the client money.

Proven benefits of emerging technology

The use of RPA technology Automation Anywhere proved to have significant business benefits for the implementing group and the organization overall. They realized the power of leveraging technologies like Automation Anywhere to address organizational inefficiencies and to achieve intelligent productivity gains. RPA will no doubt continue to be a key technology used by the client to deliver additional value in the future.

Success Stories

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