Use cases demonstrating the successful merger between robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) are scarce today, but some fast moving companies are changing that. Hollard, South Africa’s largest privately owned insurance group, is one such audacious organization where the transformation journey has not only begun, but is already showing the benefits.
One year ago, Hollard mandated LarcAI, an intelligent solutions provider, to come up with a way to help the company drive new efficiencies in an area where complex, non routine business activities were being performed.
“UiPath is a great technology for gluing together various systems such as databases, information systems, web and client interfaces and legacy systems through API’s, web services and application user interfaces. The open platform allows for development of automation robots that are not only quick and accurate, but also intelligent, with learning capabilities to mimic humans and become smarter as they progress.” (Jannie Strydom, CEO LarcAI)
Hollard was faced with a volume 1,5 million emails per year coming in from the broker community. The content of this communication, including attachments, needed to be interpreted and classified in order to carry out the instructions required to process each case. Mounting backlogs represented a big problem, along with the challenge of completing the workflow in compliance with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and specific regulatory and statutory provisions.
LarcAI turned to UiPath, chosen for its uniquely open architecture and ability to integrate AI services to meet the intelligent processing requirements of end-to-end automation at Hollard. The solution involved machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), intelligent OCR, and analytics capabilities, blending into a single user interface the accuracy, speed and scale of the UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform with the expert capabilities from Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit and IBM Watson.
“In the AI field where we are employing robots to do the work of humans, open architecture tools may prove very valuable as communication between robots, humans and systems will be vital. The open platform and architecture of UiPath allow for communication between legacy and newer systems that was previously not possible without many hours of analysis and code. An AI and robotic solution is the way forward and UiPath allows us to pave that road.” (Jannie Strydom, CEO LarcAI)
The results were outstanding. Not only did the automation remove backlog risks, but processing is now performed in real time, with 98% of cases being dealt with autonomously by the software robots 600% times faster than before, saving around 2000 work hours per month. As part of the objective, the intelligent RPA solution managed to lower the cost per transaction by a whopping 91%.
The UiPath Robot accesses the email source, interprets the content contextually, classifies and files all the necessary documentation, extracts relevant data and updates necessary systems, interacts with the human users to complete specific instructions and finally delivers confirmation once the process is complete.
Thanks to the Robot’s ability to process data with more-than-human accuracy, the workflow error ratio is now drastically improved, guaranteeing full compliance.
“The adoption of UiPath technology into the Hollard document flow has made substantial differences in the way data is being processed. UiPath allowed Hollard to implement intelligent robots with the ability to learn as people do - only faster in order to become invaluable assistants in the document processing flow. The data that is passed between systems is more accurate. The wait time for document processing has been reduced. There is great satisfaction in adopting the automation by staff because of the easy nature in which UiPath is used.” (Uven Pillay, Head of Strategic Projects at Hollard)
Both the relationship with brokers and Hollard’s own employees have improved significantly. This was particularly owed to the staff’s positive attitude towards automation. They were the first to attest to the benefits: their work experience flourished as the pressure posed by the high volumes of processing have diminished considerably.
In The Economist's latest issue focused on AI, it's estimated that while 85% of companies think AI will offer a competitive advantage, only one in 20 is “extensively” employing it today. In a sense, AI is everything that RPA is not. AI requires more thoughtful consideration, takes longer to implement and is costly, often involving extensive configuration. That is why RPA’s ability to quickly and easily integrate with other digital competencies and rapidly scale business processes needs to be paired with AI’s ability to emulate human judgement. And that is why our strategy is to build a thriving ecosystem of expert RPA and AI capabilities around–and into–its core Enterprise RPA Platform is the way to go.
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