Case Study | Financial Reconfiguration with RPA

Implementing Additional Intelligent Automation Tools & Processes

Published: 25 January 2023

One of Africa’s largest distributors, manufacturers and service providers of engineering consumables and components is currently undertaking an ambitious growth strategy. Pragmatically, this business has opted to integrate technological solutions to support this strategy, one of the areas being Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

At the start of its RPA journey, this business utilised the services of an offshore automation provider. However, the outcomes did not effectively support the business goals as expected. Moreover, this resulted in long-term challenges within the intelligent automation environment.

As such, Tangent Solutions was contracted to improve the RPA environment’s functionality. The business required further assistance in developing additional RPA tools and technologies to integrate into daily functions.

The Business Challenge

Overview of the Existing Challenges  

  • The implementation of additional tools and processes was not feasible. 
  • The business was unable to scale automation processes and capabilities effectively. 
  • Human intervention was still required in the form of manual reconciliations, leading to decreased productivity, and ultimately costing the business more.

The existing RPA processes were insufficient and required extensive reconfiguration. The automation systems in place lacked the ability to scale and further integrate within the business, preventing growth. The time meant to be relieved due to automation efforts ended up being spent on manual intervention to reconcile the unstable RPA process. 

Tangent’s Comprehensive RPA Solution

The original scope required Tangent Automation’s team to 

  • Reconfigure and improve the existing RPA processes with an experienced, skilled and knowledgeable team
  • Automate the time-consuming manual invoicing process, which required data extraction and RPA to speed up invoice capturing
  • Mitigate human error in the manual invoicing process
  • Restructure the disparate automated invoicing process
  • Provide expertise to scale the existing automation processes to support group business operations
UiPath and Capture Bites OCR was implemented for automated invoice processing. These technologies, when utilised and integrated correctly, deliver the ability to capture and extract supplier invoices 
Tangent implemented Orchestrator Managed Services was utilised to manage and monitor the live RPA environment.  
Custom Development was required to ensure the necessary systems and software integration. As all businesses have a preferred internal technology stack in use, there is often a requirement for a level of coding and development to ensure effective intelligent automation integrations. 
Tangent assisted with strategic guidance and high levels of proactive service through a dedicated support structure. Tangent’s experienced automation team re-engineered the RPA foundational architecture, allowing the organisation to fully benefit from existing automation processes. 

As a specialist in intelligent automation solutions, Tangent offers a variety of tools, practices and processes in this area. This includes Business Process Automation (BPA), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation Processing (IPA). However, the initial project was predominantly focused on RPA and required additional software development.  

Tangent did a complete overhaul of the existing RPA technologies to ensure integration into business processes, which enabled the desired scalability.  

Tangent’s Delivery Approach & Methodology

  • Tangent initially followed a Waterfall methodology. Clearly defining the scope and specs needed, the project was customised to the client’s requirements as well as processes. This approach was imperative to overcome the original challenges of the existing automation environment. Congruently, this methodology was complemented by Agile elements, allowing for the continuous improvement and scaling of automation processes. Meaning the business benefits from additional enhancements and support along its automation journey.  
  • Tangent defined a clear set of guidelines and practices to ensure success based on previous projects. Throughout the process, the solution design, development and implementation encompassed Tangent’s internal set of guidelines and best practices, referred to as the automation Centre of Excellence (CoE).  
  • The business has prioritised automation as a central business function by adopting the CoE. Thus, ensuring the programme has a team lead to drive and manage large scale automation implementation. As a result, the team has strategically surfaced additional automation processes to introduce into the business as part of its intelligent automation strategy.  
  • Tangent provided a highly skilled and diverse team of analysts, engineers and developers, competent in multiple automation technologies, across a diverse range of industries. The team’s experience across business functions and technology platforms ensures an understanding between the organisational requirements and the viability of processes to be automated.  
  • Our experienced team ensured the integration of proven and repeatable automation solutions, alongside a purposefully selected tool stack, offering the most efficient capabilities and features. This combination allowed the team to strategically reconfigure, design and pragmatically deliver a future proof automation environment. 

The Outcome of Tangent's RPA Solutions

Broken down into an 8-hour day at full capacity, this company can save up to 6.4 hours a day.   
The finance department’s productivity has significantly increased since implementing and reconfiguring the RPA invoice processing system. The business now processes between 3 000 and 5 000 invoices a month, depending on the number of invoices submitted by the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The automation bots take 2 minutes per transaction, compared to approximately 10 minutes when processed manually. 

Since the RPA updates and improvements, the business has noted a substantial amount of time saved in the invoicing process resulting in a productivity improvement in relation to invoice capturing for the finance department.

Teams have been able to shift focus to more human-centric tasks, spending less time on repetitive and tedious processes. This RPA implementation drastically improved the overall work experience and job satisfaction for all employees, as well as improved the company’s productivity levels. 
There has been an 80% increase in time saving on each transaction utilising automation bots compared to manual invoice processing 

The Next Steps

As a result of effective automation implementation, the business has identified the following operational areas for Tangent to automate. 
  • Foreign invoice capturing for the group  
  • Integrate the reconfigured bank reconciliation automation process to incorporate the current company and its holding company  
Additionally, Tangent will implement an analytics dashboard to constantly monitors the live automation environment. As with all solutions, we recommend a live dashboard to enable the tracking of efficiencies and productivity in an automation environment. A dashboard ensures the continuous delivery of business outcomes and expectations through proactive management of issues, allowing for timeous problem-solving. It also surfaces relevant business metrics for analysis, optimisation, and potential automation opportunities. 

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