The nature of automation means that new technologies and ideas are frequently developed and invented. One of the latest concepts is “intelligent automation”. This is the combination of multiple process automation technologies together into a single platform or solution. Those process automation technologies include low-code, robotic process automation (RPA), built-in workflow, integration platforms and intelligent business process management suites (IBPMS). Using any combination of these to automate business processes, qualifies as intelligent automation.
Richard Farrell is Chief Innovation Officer at Netcall, which helps organisations to build great customer experiences with engagement and intelligent automation solutions. He believes that RPA, and intelligent automation in particular, is so crucial for organisations in transforming business processes, fast.
Why is intelligent automation so important?
Releasing your people from the necessary but repetitive or high-volume tasks opens up endless possibilities. RPA and intelligent automation are extremely potent in a customer experience orientated environment because staff can use that freed-up time on activities that need more cognitive, imaginative and interpretive work and more complicated interactions with customers. It allows robots to perform the menial tasks, freeing up people to concentrate on delivering a great experience for customers.
RPA bots rescue ticket rescheduling
Here’s an example. Sportpaleis Group (the Belgian part of Live Nation) was forced to postpone 95% of their events during the pandemic. Re-seating customers at re-scheduled events after lockdown quickly and safely was pivotal to the financial viability of each event. Enter robotic process automation in the form of Netcall’s Liberty RPA.
At the beginning, a sponsored edition of ‘Night of the Proms’ required a manual seating procedure. Seating orders were listed on paper and manually entered into the ticketing system in an event for 30,000 customers. A team of seven people, worked 12-hour days to complete the task. It took them 10 days. On average, it took a staff member 1 minute 40 seconds to perform a single seating.
Sportpaleis Group was facing a challenge of a much larger magnitude than the work needed for this event and they didn’t have enough staff available or trained for this labour intensive work. They needed a faster, more efficient and more cost effective way so they implemented Liberty RPA.
How fast is fast?
RPA was first used to handle the re-seating of 63,000 bookings. This time, the team comprised three software robots, each working 24-hour days. It took 3½ days to complete the task. On average, it took a robot 14 seconds to perform a single re-seat and there were only a handful of exceptions for staff to deal with.
The Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Sportpaleis Group, Stefan Esselens, commented “I honestly don’t know how we would have coped without RPA, we wouldn’t have been able to deal with the re-seating until after new regulations were announced – now with the robot, we can prepare for the future without spending a lot of money.”
How does intelligent automation drive even more improvements?
The future of health and technology is expanding in many different directions and intelligent automation in healthcare can help by making the time for joined-up patient journeys. Leading the way, AZMM Hospital Maria Middelares a Belgian hospital, has always been at the forefront of using automation to improve process efficiencies. They have formed an automation centre of excellence and expanded their use of automation, to address clinical needs.
One critically important example is the use of intelligent automation to dispense prescription medication. It’s vital that patients are given the correct medication, especially those with severe allergies. This involves two separate systems an Electronic Patient Record, holding the patient details including details of allergies, and the Medication Management System, which has the details of any medication side effects. A software robot is employed to check critical patient details, during and after their stay in hospital. This information (including specific allergies) is synchronised to the system used by the dispensing pharmacist, so that they ensure the correct medications are administered.
The robot scans patient records much faster than could be done manually. 10,000 patient records were scanned in the first 20 days (500 patients per day). The robot was programmed to scan for key patient information including the patient’s weight, any allergy to penicillin or specific painkillers and test results on kidney function. It picked up anomalies in 9 patient records out of the 10,000 processed, ensuring that those patients were not given any adverse medication.
The speed and accuracy of this automation cannot be replicated by a human. Thanks to this intelligent automation, staff can work on other tasks, which benefits their job satisfaction and also brings greater benefits to patients.