Aiming for ever-greater efficiency, the CEO of a U.S. gas and electric company charged each business function with generating a five-year plan to answer the question “how can we do more with less?” Their goal was to contribute to business resilience and sharpen competitiveness.
One of the guiding principles was to reduce costs and create more value by expanding the scope of shared services. The client needed support in transforming its business services to a more mature state where they could contribute measurable value to the organization. This included demonstrating the full value of new technology and making a strong case for automation to achieve wider buy-in. Time lines were tight—initial recommendations were required in a matter of weeks.
Working with KPMG, the company gained a high-level case for change and a road map for the future of shared services with projected annual savings of around $30 million. The plan includes:
For decision-making related to automation, the company is informed by KPMG's work to demonstrate:
We examined the current state of shared services within the business, identified opportunities for change, and defined a high-level road map for the journey ahead. Automation has the potential to transform the company’s high volume of manual data processes. However, investment in robotic process automation (RPA) was a big step.
To identify and evaluate opportunities for automation, we captured business metrics such as volumes of work and labor costs. We then demonstrated the value and feasibility of the new technology by piloting it with two business processes using different vendor platforms. This allowed the client company to evaluate both and select the option that would lead them to success. It also confirmed that RPA could work with existing system technologies.
RPA was part of a broader automation strategy and Center of Excellence Operating Model. Our business case captured $6.6 million in potential savings and suggested an internal rate of return of 222 percent in 16 months.
Expanding the scope of business services required a broader change management mindset. We helped the company explore the “art of the possible” by visualizing and communicating how shared services might benefit other areas of the business and contribute to a sustainable future for the company.
Properly deployed, shared services can have a major impact on the bottom line. Finding the right technology and proving its value is an important step, but any transformation on this scale must also take into account the human factor. Training and employee engagement must always be considered, and a collaborative, holistic approach is essential to success.
The application of digital labor solutions such as RPA can offer a rapid return on investment by transforming the way the workforce is deployed. Achieving buy-in from the wider business can be challenging, so a readiness to educate is important.