Hitachi Vantara focuses on the human side of automation
Hitachi Vantara is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., formed in 2017 by unifying the operations of Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Insight Group, and Pentaho into a single integrated business. Hitachi Vantara is hailed by its peers as a market leader in leveraging the power of intelligent automation.
Hitachi Vantara wanted to leverage Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to not only improve process quality and reliability, but their key objective was to free up team members from routine, low-value tasks. This would allow them to focus on more challenging and engaging activities in their daily work—activities that would be of much higher value, as well as interest to the workers. The company expected to gain efficiencies at scale while minimizing employee turnover.
Hitachi Vantara’s RPA vision also involved reducing costs, eliminating errors, and speeding up processes. However, these goals were secondary to helping employees reach their full potential through meaningful work.
months to production
reduction in errors
“Our key objective, when we embarked on the robotics journey, was to free up our team members from routine, repetitive activities.”
-Lori Pedersen, Manager in IT Global PMO, Hitachi Vantara
After evaluating leading RPA vendors, Hitachi Vantara chose Automation Anywhere. In addition to its standard RPA solution, Hitachi Vantara chose to use Automation Anywhere’s Artificial Intelligence AI) cognitive offering, IQ Bot, which can extract semi-structured data from documents and process it effortlessly. Hitachi Vantara found this especially useful in its procure-to-pay process, where IQ Bot obtained data from non-standard (semi-structured) invoices.
Service desk provisioning processes (IT)
THE WHOLE STORY
When Hitachi Vantara started on its RPA journey, they focused on two main areas. In IT, the company wanted to automate its service desk provisioning and de-provisioning processes. This involved ten distinct processes. In Finance, they wanted to streamline order-to-cash, record-to-report, and procure-to-pay processes. These added up to 20 processes, with a total of 30 processes targeted for automation in the initial round of the initiative. Ultimately 41 processes were automated during Phase 1.
Taking a closer look at the procure-to-pay process, previously, employees would read the information from vendor invoices—such as the PO number, the date, the service or product procured, and the amount—and key them into an Oracle ERP system. This was tedious, repetitive work. To give you an idea of how big a job this was, Hitachi Vantara processes more than 80,000 invoices annually from more than 1,000 vendors, in more than 20 languages. All of this needed to be done manually.
Today, Hitachi Vantara has 35 bots in production that can intelligently extract information from all these invoices, regardless of vendor, format, or language. Thanks to Automation Anywhere’s IQ Bot, the firm can also do 75% straight-through processing of invoices.
Phase 1 automated 41 processes in Finance and Accounting.
Phase 2 will focus on FP&A, global tax, global sourcing, and accounting, and will automate 50+ processes.
Hitachi Vantara has learned a lot from Phase 1 and is going to apply this knowledge going forward. For example, Hitachi Vantara now knows that automation needs to be a strategic priority for it to scale and deliver results. It also learned to involve the business subject matter experts as early as possible in the process. Finally, include IT and infrastructure teams as key stakeholder in the program from the very beginning.
“We definitely noticed an improvement in both the number of errors and the data accuracy, after switching to the bots.”
-Lori Pederson, Manager in IT Global PMO, Hitachi Vantara
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