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Client: DNA plc Region: Europe Industry: Telecom

UiPath helped DNA Plc to provide increased support to its customers

Providing exceptional levels of customer service is essential in the ultra-competitive telecommunications market.

Finnish telecom service provider, DNA, had grown in the past few years organically and through acquisitions. It was increasingly challenged to deliver excellent service to more customers without increasing capacity in the company. The company deployed Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to help achieve this goal.

Juha Viikki, Head of Quality, Process and Automation at DNA says: “Most companies start automating HR and Finance processes. But we were different because we saw a need within our operations. Manual processing was beginning to impact some of the delivery processes for our B2B customers. We felt RPA was a good fit because it allowed us to maintain the same level of resource and still be able to deliver better services faster and more reliably than ever before.”

We felt RPA was a good fit because it allowed us to maintain the same level of resource and still be able to deliver better services faster and more reliably than ever before.

Juha ViikkiHead of Quality, Process and Automation at DNA

Formed in 2000, DNA has risen rapidly to become the third largest full-service telecommunications provider in Finland. Especially strong in mobile and broadband services, the company is first in the world in terms of mobile data usage per customer. DNA is in the process of rolling out its 5G network and understands that its customer experience must match the quality of its services. The company selected RPA as a fast and effective way to automate some of its manual processes.

Tenfold increase in performance

“We started with RPA in late 2016 and early 2017 to help us better access data from our legacy systems. However, we selected a B2B delivery process for our proof of concept. The B2B side of our company offers many business services including mobile services. When a change came in from a customer, it had to be manually entered into the mobile subscription database. This was time-consuming and prone to error. Within six weeks, we had created a working robot that had automated the task. The results were very, very good,” states Salla Valkonen, DNA’s Head of Process Automation.

The company worked with consulting firm TCS to conduct the Proof of Concept and select UiPath as the RPA tool of choice. “TCS showed us that the ease of use, powerful features and speed of development made the solution a perfect fit for our organization,” comments Salla.

Within six weeks, we had created a working robot that had automated the [B2B] task. The results were very, very good.

Juha ViikkiHead of Quality, Process and Automation at DNA

She continues: “For our B2B delivery process, the customer sends through a massive Excel spreadsheet that includes all their services, subscription and business details. The robot compares information in the spreadsheet against the data in the target system and automatically marks up changes. The delivery department can then see new client requests and approve them. We can easily have hundreds of these changes every day. We have seen a tenfold increase in performance using the robot and, of course, it is 100% accurate.”

Selecting the right candidate

The results of the pilot project were extremely encouraging but there was a good deal of learning as well. The B2B delivery process had shown the scale of the benefits that can be achieved but it also demonstrated the need to select good candidates for RPA. Although the B2B process appeared quite simple, it encompassed some complex product rules.

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Salla explains: “We realized quickly that complex rules were governing the type of product and service levels that customers have. Luckily, the UiPath robot was powerful enough that we could map and develop the rules into the robot itself. If a customer change breaks a rule, then the robot automatically marks it as an exception and immediately notifies the delivery manager.”

We look for ideal processes or parts of the process that fit within our three- week sprint. We want the robot built, tested and deployed within that timeframe.

Juha ViikkiHead of Quality, Process and Automation at DNA

As a result of the pilot, the company made two decisions. The first was that simple, stable processes were the ideal candidates for RPA. Secondly, it combined the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Management (BPM) capabilities into one single CoE (Center of Excellence).

Juha says: “We started to ask what tasks a robot could fulfill within a specific process. It became clear that RPA and BPM are very complementary technologies. RPA is great for simple tasks and processes where you have stable existing systems and user interfaces. When it comes to the long-running and more complex processes, that involve integration and manual intervention, then BPM is the right tool. Where they complement each other is in a BPM process, you may start with some manual steps and soon realize that they can be automated with RPA. We think we’re perhaps the best in the industry for RPA and BPM.”

RPA: It’s a sprint, not a marathon

The CoE adopted an agile development approach that revolves around three- week sprints. The company has created an approach that is designed to deliver a new process automation into production within a single sprint.

Salla says: “We look for ideal processes or parts of the process that fit within our three-week sprint. We want the process designed, tested and deployed within that timeframe. What we’ve learned is that, if a robot doesn’t fit within a sprint, it should be a phased development. This means a partially automated robot is delivered in a sprint and its functionality built upon in each subsequent sprint so that even at the base level the robot is delivering some productivity improvement to the business.”

RPA has allowed us to perform important work that we couldn’t have done beforehand.

Juha ViikkiHead of Quality, Process and Automation at DNA

To date, the company has developed over 40 robots and, as each robot addresses a single process, it has automated over 40 processes in less than 20 months. It is currently automating a new process–or partial process–every three weeks.

Juha believes that one of the major benefits of RPA is that it has allowed DNA to undertake tasks that the company didn’t have the capacity to do manually. He cites the first B2C process automated as a good example of that. The process involves checking in a public registry to see if any customer details have changed–such as changes to the family name when they get married–and the robot automatically updates the changes into the company’s CRM systems. With millions of customers, this would be virtually impossible to do manually. The robot now does it with complete accuracy every weekend, so customers are assured their details are always correct.

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“RPA has allowed us to perform important work that we couldn’t have done beforehand. We talk about giving hours back to the business. We estimate that so far our automations are returning the equivalent of 25FTEs (Full Time Employees) every month. That’s time that can be re-allocated to other operational activities or given over to tasks we previously would have struggled to get round to.”

The robot festival and citizen developers

DNA employees have been very enthusiastic when it comes to the adoption of RPA into their work. They have quickly realized that robots can remove much of the mundane work they don’t enjoy. To promote RPA, the company organized a ‘robot festival’ to demonstrate the power and ease of use of RPA to the business.

Key benefits

  • 6 weeks Proof of Concept delivers working robots within six weeks
  • 3 weeks New robots created and deployed within three weeks
  • 40 robots Over 40 robots deployed within 20 months
  • 10x First automation delivers a tenfold increase in performance
  • 25FTE hours The equivalent of 25FTE hours provides back to the business every month
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The company is now keen to build on the momentum established by the festival. With the launch of UiPath Studio X, Juha wants to start a citizen developer initiative where business users within the organization can create their own automations. In this way, they can use RPA to bring benefits not just themselves but also their team members and colleagues by sharing automations and ideas.

He concludes: “I see that the CoE builds large scale RPA deployments but that we can help users to automate parts of their own work. We have been impressed at how quick it is to develop new automations and have them deliver benefits to the business. I think the idea of citizen developers is an interesting one to explore.”

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