coverage by the Global Bot Control Room
number of attended bots deployed
cost savings for countries deployed so far (Aug'22)
countries where EY bots are used
Months to go from 5 to 500 bots
EY is a global leader in consulting, assurance, tax, and advisory services, with over 700 offices across 150 countries.
EY teams are on their way to creating a fully automated enterprise on a global scale. With over 150,000 business automations already in place, they’re adding every day. EY teams have identified what it takes to scale enterprise automation.
EY teams have been supporting its automation strategy since they started working with UiPath in 2018. Their teams have more than 150,000 business automation in use throughout its global organization (up from its initial five), and are adding more automations every day to support the business and client services. Along the way, the automation professionals at EY have learned how to successfully scale automation to continue to drive new efficiencies for its employees and clients.
Like most RPA initiatives, this started with a proof of concept. Once the EY teams saw the power of automation, they knew they had to find a way to scale RPA.
We partnered with our EY Consulting practice to look at what’s best practice for the industry and assembled a joint team to help us get started with development. That also helped us get started with structuring the organization, building out a governance model, creating a CoE, and then pulling together workshops across functions so we were able to understand the processes. We wanted to prioritize those processes and then build a pipeline. And once we were able to do that, we were able to scale from 20 to 30 bots to 500 bots within 18 months, and then 1,000 bots.
John Russo, Director, IT Optimization Service and D&I, Ernst & Young LLP United States
One of the initial projects was automating SAP processes and rolling them out across 155 countries. Some EY professionals would use SAP infrequently, making it difficult to remember the training to use the processes efficiently. EY teams solved the problem by taking the 15 most critical SAP business processes and automating them as attended automations. Users would enter a few pieces of critical information and then the automation would guide them through the data entry process, including offering proactive contextual help prompts.
The program dramatically improved efficiency, freeing employee time, and promoting consistency and stability. This also meant more teams were able to use SAP, improving user adoption and increasing deployment.
Additionally, the automated processes created logs that revealed how people were using the system, which helped enhance the platform, and inform other automation projects.
“When we realized the power of the opportunity we’d created, the next thing for us to do was scale up across the whole organization,” said Simon Constance, EY Global UiPath Alliance Leader. “In EMEA we went through back- and middle-office functions, looking for end-to-end automation opportunities using attended, unattended, and machine learning tools. We created a rolling cycle of development and identified opportunities to scale.”
Along the way, EY teams identified prerequisites for scaling automation and what it takes to extend RPA success across a global organization:
Develop a pipeline — To maintain development momentum, you need to develop a bot pipeline. Otherwise, bot development comes in fits and starts and becomes stalled. Russo’s team maintains a pipeline of 50 to 60 ideas, which helps them stay focused and energized. They also continually reassess larger business goals, engaging with business leaders to determine how they might benefit from automation to prioritize projects.
Design resilient automations —Automation design needs to help ensure that application changes have little impact on the bot, and that proper error controls are in place. EY teams created a production turnover guide for the development teams so they could manage new bots according to set guidelines before they go into production. That includes capturing error controls in the correct places, which helps tune the bots over time.
Understand business impact — Having a business impact assessment tells you which automations are critical to operations and what the consequences are if they fail. Understanding business impact helps prioritize automation updates and maintenance. To help manage the business impact, EY teams maintains a global automation control room in India, that manages performance monitoring, maintenance, upgrades and provides 24/7 support.
With over 150,000 automations in place, this was the largest automation UiPath had to-date. EY was putting the UiPath platform to the test both in on-prem and now in EY’s Cloud environment. They worked very closely with the UiPath engineering team, to ensure the platform was able to meet their needs. Across the automation lifecycle, UiPath performed as an enterprise-class platform, enabling rapid time to automation, easy scalability, high availability, and reduced IT infrastructure requirements.
Scaling automation across EY teams also required communicating and educating both managers and staff. It’s common for there to be a reluctance to embrace automation as some fear they’ll lose their jobs. As EY teams continued to scale automation development, their people realized that they could automate mundane processes and have time for more interesting tasks. Once managers and employees understood the benefits of automation, they started to offer new ideas for automating wide-ranging operations across their functional roles.
Part of the education and communications process included working with stakeholders and managing expectations. One of the hardest lessons was getting line managers to rethink how they measure positive outcomes.
“When people look at bots, the first thing they ask is how much money will they generate.” said Russo. “We tell them bots will save money but don’t make that your goal. Look at your business processes and the outcome for your customers. Do they improve speed? Do they reduce risk? Look at your business outcomes first, and the money will come. You will have a much broader ROI.”
Understanding the role of automation in the broader context of overall business goals and operations also makes for smarter automation decisions.
“As we’ve scaled this up, we have been quite disruptive to the thinking of some of our business leaders,” said Constance. “The leaders in functions like finance and HR have ongoing plans, such as moving work into shared services that were developed years ago. Then we turn up with this rolling plan of fast-paced change, explaining you don’t need to move that work because it will be automated. When you’re operating at scale, you start to ask some big questions about an organization’s ongoing plans and its operating model.”
As part of EY’s global service transformation, they are looking at how they can further leverage UiPath to automate more. They are aiming to empower their staff to increase the amount of time they’re spending working on high-value client engagements, while improving operational efficiency and reducing errors. The efforts underway target standardized processes at the engagement team level, as well as the bespoke work that each person does. Check back in the future for more on how they’re empowering their staff and deploying automations across the engagement life cycle.
When we realized the power of the opportunity we’d created, the next thing for us to do was scale up across the whole organization.
Simon Constance • EY Global UiPath Alliance Leader