Business challenge

This leading global education company — with a strong focus on digital learning — was expanding into emerging markets. As part of a digital transformation, the company wanted to improve their finance record-to-report processes. Every month, this client performed more than 500 intercompany reconciliations. The company sought process improvement to enhance quality, control and speed of execution. The company also wanted the IBM team to implement a solution that would free up staff time.

Execution

Step One

The IBM and client team determined that the intercompany reconciliations process was a prime candidate for robotic process automation (RPA). They made the compelling case to stakeholders that RPA is more than simple desktop automation — in fact, it serves as a “digital workforce.”

Step Two

IBM analyzed inefficiencies and compared against best-fit processes. The current and recommended processes were mapped in the IBM process mapping tool, then simulated in a business process management (BPM) optimizer tool. The time and motion data at each step of the process was simulated to help identify and validate process improvements.

Step Three

With the BPM optimizer tool estimating a 30 percent productivity gain for the intercompany end-to-end process, IBM built a proof of concept for a single country to showcase potential RPA benefits. Once the proof of concept was agreed to and approved, IBM scaled the RPA solution for all the 520 intercompany reconciliations.

Results

The RPA solution based on Blue Prism process automation technology significantly reduced the cost of finance operations by redeploying headcount and increasing throughput. The solution, initially implemented through a proof of concept, was rolled out across all 520 intercompany reconciliations. The solution delivered better control, 30% increased productivity, and 5 times faster processing of the overall reconciliation process.

Solution Category

  • Global Business Services