The personal credit company Provident Financial Romania successfully deployed a UiPath robot to speed up the processes of hiring new sales staff, and expanded the implementation of RPA to include two additional robots to assist with other critical HR, reporting and financial processes, saving the company up to 10,000 hours a year as well as eliminating errors and delays and giving back time to management and staff for more creative, added value tasks.
As a provider of simple, fast and personalized financial products, Provident has always strived to be one of the most respected companies in Romania by offering the highest quality of service possible to consumers and clients. To achieve this, the business relies on the professionalism of its employees and the speed and efficiency of its processes. For Provident, “people come first”, and as part of this core business value, the company prides itself in creating a dynamic work environment where its staff have access to all the tools necessary in order that they themselves can develop their skills in the workplace and offer the company the best of their potential.
But having employees laboriously carrying out tedious and repetitive administrative tasks doesn’t exactly fit well within that philosophy. Whilst it is obviously challenging for staff themselves to obtain any type of job satisfaction from toiling over daily workloads based on processing standard documents with the pressure to minimize errors and deliver on time, it is also a problem for the company as such scenarios cause high levels of staff churn due to stress and dissatisfaction, which in turn means even more work for those involved when searching for, onboarding and training new employees to replace unhappy ones.
In fact, one department where this issue was most acutely felt was in Human Resources. Updating lists of possible candidates for interviews, launching job offers for successful candidates, ingesting accepted offers and then managing all the legal and medical documentation required to incorporate new employees into the business means a huge volume of high pressure yet mundane work for the HR team. And that’s just the work that goes behind hiring new staff. Off-boarding employees is an equally complex and time-consuming process that was ripe for automation.
So, in 2019, when Provident realised the company hires almost 450 new sales representatives every year to help the business grow, it was decided to look for ways to improve the process through automation. Having seen a number of videos produced by Aggranda - member of UiPath Services Network (USN) - the company became aware of RPA technology as a potential answer to their needs, and approached the consultancy firm for more information.
To onboard new employees for a sales rep role, everything is standard, from issuing and signing labor contracts, managing salary documents, etc., so this made this process a priority for us. At the time, we had just changed our HR system as well, so it was perfect timing too. Within this context, it seemed that RPA was the ideal match for our needs.
We arranged for a representative from UiPath and Aggranda to join a meeting of the Board and educate us about the world of RPA. We decided that the HR department would be the pioneers in the development of the pilot project in order to prove that the technology could be made to work for the company, because many of the board members, whilst recognizing that RPA was an interesting tool, remained skeptical about whether it was really right for the task in question.
Human Resources Director, PROVIDENT
Enter Arya, stage right
With the help of Aggranda, the company initiated the pilot project especially for the HR department - to design and build a software robot to assist with the on-boarding of new employees. The robot, named Arya, allowed the department to successfully automate a number of important yet monotonous tasks including maintaining the database of shortlisted candidates up to date, creating offers for candidates and processing all the required legal documents (contracts, background checks, etc.) once the candidates joined the company.
Aggranda recommended and implemented the UiPath end-to-end automation platform, as it had everything we needed and more, from process discovery and process documenting to software robot development. We quickly discovered that with UiPath’s easy-to-use technology, we could precisely solve the challenges that our department had to deal with by removing delays and human error, whilst giving precious time back to the members of the HR team.
Human Resources Director, PROVIDENT
Naming the robot Arya was no whimsical accident. The automation team wanted to encourage the adoption of RPA robots, not just at Board level but throughout the organization, so they decided to name it after a key character in the popular TV show Game of Thrones. And it did actually help to increase interest and awareness about RPA in other departments throughout the enterprise.
However, strategically naming it after a TV personality was only a small part of the reason why Provident was able to quickly scale and expand the deployment of RPA within the company. Initially, there was a bit of resistance from some quarters about having a robot do tasks that up until that point had always been done by humans.
After the pilot project, staff couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw Arya completing tasks that most people usually hated to do. From that moment onwards, we got more and more involvement from the HR team to increase the number of people inside the organization and we received multiple requests from different departments to review their processes.
Business Innovation Manager, PROVIDENT
Processes now delivered up to 30x faster
The success of the pilot project enabled Provident to expand the implementation of RPA not just to automate more HR tasks but also a number of business-critical processes in the Finance and Banking department as well. The company now has 10 different business flows automated with the help of two more fully operational robots, Sherlock and Jorah. These include employee health check processing, employee off-boarding, ID Card requests, reconciliation of bank payments to loan customers, and client credit checks with the state Credit Bureau, amongst others.
Jorah, for example, is a UiPath robot developed in the finance team that carries out certain tasks 30x faster than when these processes were done manually, and all with zero errors. Named after another important character in Game of Thrones, Jorah has to centralize all installment payments received from Provident clients every Thursday. The process involves transforming eight bank statements into one single journal and adds any new transactions to the source journal. This transformation process is very complex as each bank statement is formatted in a specific way, and also contains a variety of different transaction types.
The work is performed using Excel only, and some of the skills required to process all the data are: filtering, pivoting, adding new columns with various string manipulation formulas, copying/pasting, deduplicating information, and performing various calculations. And because it’s a critical finance process, all calculations need to be 100% accurate and must be completed on the same day because other departments depend on this file and the data it contains. The process used to take up to 4 hours manually and carried a huge responsibility for the Finance department workers tasked with its completion. Jorah has now removed the pressure and stress that they felt before and they now feel much happier in their job.
We calculate that the robots we have built so far are saving us over 10,000 hours of work a year, not to mention reducing the risk of errors to zero and delivering tasks on time at all times. Staff have been taught how to use them and are provided with user manuals. All new colleagues are also trained in the functions that use the robots and are given access to run the robot based on a predefined operating schedule. They love these robots and feel that RPA is a great help for them.
Business Innovation Manager, PROVIDENT
Aggranda has of course been a key partner to Provident during the automation journey, providing full end-to-end delivery of all aspects of the RPA training, process discovery, choosing the right RPA processes to automate, development, deployment, hypercare and maintenance. Working closely with Provident’s innovation leader, they help identify the most repetitive business tasks by talking with department staff about their pain points, and then analyzing each process to determine its business impact and priority, in terms of time that can be saved through automation, how much human error can be eliminated and how fast a robot can speed up transactions.
Multiple opportunities for horizontal and vertical expansion
The work and the results of the deployment of the three robots in Provident Romania have opened up a series of horizontal and vertical opportunities to expand RPA deployment across the company and the group it belongs to. Currently, the business has identified a further 15 processes that could be successfully delivered by software robots, and will be automated soon, including customer engagement messaging, ingesting new leads into the CRM system, sales performance reporting, internal audit reports, and risk prevention with Machine Learning, amongst others.
Furthermore, Provident Finance is planning to extend the use of Arya, its first and pioneering robot, to automate similar HR processes in its sister company, Provident Insurance Agent.
Lastly, the success of the automation project in Romania has led to interest from the group’s businesses in other countries. With Aggranda’s support, 7 processes in Provident Finance Hungary have been identified as suitable for automation in the short term, and the group will also begin an RPA initiative soon in its business in Mexico.
- 3robots automating 10 business processes in HR and Finance
- 10Khours saved each year
- Up to 30xfaster processes
- 450+new people in sales - seamless onboarding every year
- Error-freeand timely financial reports