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Client: Australian Unity Region: Australia Industry: Services

How Australian Unity Regained 22,493 of Manual Labor Hours in 8 Months

With UiPath, Australian Unity has automatically processed 42,000 transactions with a 94% success rate.

The company has eliminated 22,493 hours of manual work and freed employees to work on higher-value tasks.

Australian Unity is a 178-year-old mutual company that offers health, wealth, and living services to one million Australians. The variety of services they provide and the unique records each customer require created massive amounts of data. Skilled employees were stuck manually reviewing data from government forms instead of delivering better customer experience.

The company turned to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to resolve this bottleneck and free its employees to do higher-value work that require a human touch. With the right RPA implementation, the business's leaders knew they could improve customer service, compliance, and financial performance.

Australian Unity combined the UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform with Python, an open-source programming language, to:

  • increase capacity
  • reduce costs
  • build faster cycles with improved throughput and accuracy
  • implement flexible and scalable tools
  • capture detailed, accurate customer data that enabled better customer insights

Using machines to free people serving those in need

Australian Unity's largest business, Independent Assisted Living, provides home care services and offers specialist support that enables seniors and people with disabilities to enjoy independence and live life the way they choose.

A significant part of their client base uses funds from the My Aged Care government program, which grants funds to citizens that need help living independently. As part of determining eligibility for funding, the Australian government does a comprehensive assessment of participants’ needs and records the medical information in the National Screening assessment form.

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As part of providing services to their clients, Australian Unity collates all the applicants from the My Aged Care system and enters the data into Australian Unity’s system. These PDFs, spanning 20-30 pages, contain almost 250 fields of medical and clinical history, mental health status, and hospitalization records. Processing the records and checking their accuracy manually was lengthy and laborious.

People who receive government benefits can choose where and how to spend their benefits, so it was essential that Australian Unity provided a good experience that would lead to positive word-of-mouth to capture new business.

Identifying leading RPA tools

Australian Unity knew its process was highly complex, so it looked for a leader in the RPA space. The Gartner Magic Quadrant for RPA and The Forrester Wave: Robotic Process Automation, Q2 2018 report placed UiPath well ahead of the competition.

Australian Unity knew the automation work ahead of them demanded a platform with a strong strategy and a full feature set. Due to the amount of unstructured data they had, they also knew the ability to integrate with Python would be essential.

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With the the UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform, Australian Unity can ensure accuracy as it creates client records. Better records mean better service and better customer experiences.

Many automation proposals broadly promise these kinds of benefits, but Australian Unity wanted to focus on creating the most impact possible.

Selecting the right process to automate

Australian Unity first developed an agreement on methodology.

They sought business alignment so they could properly track the benefits and costs of RPA after implementation. With the right metrics in place, they could prove success and continue to support and prioritize automation.

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To select a process to automate, Australian Unity focused on which process, once automated, would have the highest impact in terms of return on investment (ROI), customer and employee experience, and data accuracy.

Australian Unity determined and ranked impact with quantitative and qualitative analyses. A financial analysis showed automating the client record process would deliver a full ROI from improved customer and employee experiences, as well as reduced manual labor and increased capacity. Ambrish Kinariwala, RPA Lead, knew that process selection was key.

Our success lies in identifying the right opportunities for automation.

Ambrish KinariwalaRPA Lead

Australian Unity also developed a Center of Excellence (CoE) to combine RPA with Lean and Human-Centered design (HCD). Their methodical approach focused on making efficient use of the Robots. They did extensive process analysis upfront, and redesigned processes to ensure they only automated the most efficient versions.

They also adhered to an RPA solution lifecycle from discovery to deployment. The RPA lifecycle allowed Australian Unity to have lean, predictable delivery of robust and scalable RPA solutions that aligned with an agile methodology.

Combining UiPath and Python to transform unstructured data

The hundreds of unique customer data fields across pages of unstructured data made Australian Unity’s automation build especially complex.

To reduce future development time, they designed their automation's architecture from smaller, more modular units. To do this, they decoupled the data mining and text extraction from the UiPath workflow and supplemented it with Python.

Being bold is part of our DNA so we are always looking for bold, innovative solutions.

Ambrish KinariwalaRPA Lead

Python has a rich, data-oriented library that enabled Australian Unity to accomplish natural language processing (NLP) and transform unstructured data into a usable format.

In this integration, UiPath Robots and a custom Python model work in conjunction to input, create, and output structured data.

Australian Unity Intelligent Automation-UiPath-Python-use-case

The UiPath Robot and Python complement each other to create a seamless workflow:

  • 1. A UiPath Robot downloads inputted PDF data.
  • 2. A UiPath Robot converts PDFs to text files for extraction.
  • 3. A custom Python model extracts the data and structures it in a CSV file.
  • 4. A UiPath Robot creates a client record from this structured data and outputs it to Australian Unity's proprietary records platform, Procura.

Australian Unity built on this with a general framework to do intelligent automation with Python and UiPath.

The UiPath Enhanced Robotics Enterprise Framework (REFramework) also played a key role in the success of this process. The REFramework helped them understand and follow best practices for RPA development. They have since been able to design UiPath workflows that remain easily maintainable, reusable, and standardized. With the REFramework templates, Australian Unity implemented custom workflows that took care of error and exception handling–a vital part of deploying robust, scalable solutions.

We live by the principle that good engineering is not optional.

Ambrish KinariwalaRPA Lead

After deployment, Australian Unity built a customer feedback loop to ensure the RPA rollout was succeeding as they intended. With business feedback, they could ensure the RPA benefits and impact were being delivered and that employees were engaged and satisfied by the new process.

Returning on your investment—faster, better, stronger

From June 2018 to February 2019, UiPath Robots processed 42,000 transactions and saved Australian Unity 22,493 hours of manual work. The Robots had a success rate of 94 percent, reducing processing time on average from 30 minutes to 4 minutes, without errors.

Australian Unity surveyed employees closest to the UiPath deployment to see if it was delivering the intended benefits. Responses showed increased satisfaction and engagement.

Employees spent more time with their clients and less time processing data. One employee said this new process was “extremely helpful” and another said that faster data input “enabled branches to get to clients faster.”

By the numbers

  • 22,493With UiPath, Australian Unity regained 22,493 labor hours
  • 42kUiPath Robots processed 42,000 transactions in 8 months
  • 94%UiPath Robots processed transactions with a 94% success rate
  • 4 minsAustralian Unity reduced processing time on average from 30 minutes to 4

Response has been so positive that Australian Unity plans to build out their pipeline further so that they can provide the same automation benefits to other processes.

With employees free to dedicate their efforts to providing customer service, they have improved customer experience, leading to the realization of ROI.

Increased operational efficiencies also enabled Australian Unity to redeploy six employees to focus on serving customers and creating better customer experiences.

Many organizations try to cut down on data problems by implementing complex data governance systems that clean the data or try to get it inputted correctly. Australian Unity found that RPA could do all this for them with 100 percent accuracy.

Every organization needs a CRM, every organization needs an RPA too—simple as that.

Ambrish KinariwalaRPA Lead

Delivering the expected benefits in eight months ensured the Australian Unity Executives could see the effectiveness of RPA in the short- and long-term. By building relationships with business stakeholders early-on, the RPA team fostered RPA champions that drove support for RPA throughout the organisation.

Australian Unity is already examining more areas of its business where teams are at capacity and workloads are likely to increase. The company is committed to a broader intelligent automation strategy and is exploring automating processes that require cognitive tasks, natural language processing, and predictive decision-making.

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