Oracle and UiPath’s joint Dec. 5 webcast was held to promote and better illustrate a new partnership between the two enterprise technology vendors. It’s great to see these organizations come together to offer better, more robust solutions for the market.
The webinar largely showcased UiPath’s technology platform as an alternative to interfaces where there are no APIs to connect with Oracle’s Integration Cloud Services (ICS) tool. But the robust robotic process automation (RPA) tool is really more than just an extension of Oracle ICS.
At the most fundamental level, RPA can be used to improve the efficiency of processes and the flow of data within them. RPA tools like UiPath’s platform are designed to remove the human intervention component within redundant, high frequency, rule-based activities or tasks within a process.
RPA can be an alternative to building a more static integration (as was explained in the webinar), but it also can complete repetitive steps within a process flow.
RPA extends cloud capabilities
Many organizations have moved their applications to the Cloud with the help of companies like Oracle and are now running full processes, including procure-to-pay, record-to-report, inventory management, recruit-to-retire, etc., in a more efficient manner.
Organizations also no longer need full teams of people focusing on primary support for these applications (i.e. patches, fixes, or other software, hardware or database upgrades). With the cloud, there are certainly gains to be recognized around application support activities, but organizations still need to manually process activities within the application. RPA leverages a BOT that can remove some, or all manual intervention by executing simple, routine tasks, such as processing payables based on rules and variables the organization has setup.
Less manual intervention saves time
Take the example of submitting an expense report. Who doesn’t hate doing expense reports? To complete them in Oracle Cloud, you need to do the following:
- Take a picture of the receipt
- Email it to yourself from your phone
- Open your email
- Save the attachment to your desktop
- Open Oracle Cloud Financials Suite and sign in
- Navigate to the Expenses Module
- Select create expense report
- Select create expense item
- Fill in date, expense type, location, amount, description, merchant, project number and other optional fields
- Select attachments to include receipts
- Browse directory to attach image from desktop
- Save and close
- Click submit button
With a solution like UiPath, you only need to do the following:
- Take a picture of the receipt
- Email it to a dedicated email address you’ve set up with the option to add the client name or other relevant info in the subject
- Later, go into your expense form to review the data and hit submit.
That’s it. The RPA bot will do the following for you:
- Receive the attachment in the email
- Open Oracle
- Navigate to the expenses module
- Understand the attachment is from your email address, which will lead it to create a new expense report (or add your new expense to an existing report)
- Via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) understand if the receipt is an airline ticket, meal, hotel, etc., and create the correct expense type (it can also do this from a corporate credit card statement)
- Go to your calendar and compare the time of receipt to your schedule and take the client/person you were meeting with and fill in the expense line as that client
- Complete the other expense line items from either the credit card or the receipt
- Attach the receipt to the line item
- Wait for your review and approval
I’m constantly on the ‘naughty list’ because I procrastinate submitting receipts, sometimes for months. This throws off the accuracy of the company’s T&E spend and hurts me from a cash flow perspective.
Now I simply take a picture of my receipt and email it immediately. I can log in and validate the rows at a later time. The worst part of an expense report is just getting started. Now I only have to review it and submit!
RPA is meant to take the mundane tasks out of your day. I don’t know anyone that looks forward to the administration of expense reports. This is not a value-added activity for the employee or the company. By automating tasks like this, the company has better visibility into expenses, but more importantly, has a better engaged employee who has been freed to work on more meaningful tasks. They can spend more time focusing on the contributions that contribute to the overall value of the organization.
Ashling Partners has partnered with Oracle Cloud consulting firm, Emtec, to offer a full suite of RPA advisory and implementation services. If your company is interested using Cloud and RPA technologies to enable your workforce to be more engaged and more efficient, contact us today.