Our customer, an international power line contracting company, came to us with an ever-growing challenge of sorting through and processing high volumes of field documentation. Cash is king in any business, and for this one, it was becoming clear that a lack of processing power was slowing down billing cycles and accounts receivables for their business.
Managers in the business attempted to fix the situation the way most would – add more people power – but the reality of this situation was that the email volumes were just too high. A team of 2 was growing to a team of 8 and possibly 10. This is when one of the key managers turned to Convverge to see if this processing bottleneck was a candidate for business process automation.
The Challenge |
How to process high volumes of emails and attachments and enter billing data faster and accurately?
- As the business grew and operations scaled into a new region, the manual review and data entry in the office wasn’t working.
- The field crews loved the ease of taking pictures and sending an email throughout their workday, but the high volumes of documentation couldn’t be processed fast enough at the admin team level as operations scaled up.
- A lack of timely inputting had administrators feeling behind. Efforts to try and work faster, often lead to incomplete or errored data inputs which meant further delays in the billing cycle and accounts receivables for the company.
- The longer it took to the bill, the longer it took to collect, which increased the company’s financial risk management.
The Solutions |
Finding a Path Forward with Business Process Automation
With a clear understanding of the challenge, the process, and the customer’s ideal outcome, Convverge’s solution architects and process automation consultants went to work. They ended up designing a solution that tapped into the immense power of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) from Azure Cognitive Services as well as a few other tools including SharePoint, Power Automate, and Power BI. With the green light to proceed, the solutions team started developing the new process automation features.
Solution Design Highlights
- Power Automate was used to listen to the inbox and extract attachments and move them into SharePoint.
- Azure Cognitive Services filters through all the saved attachments in SharePoint and identifies key data items and lifts them off the documentation into a database.
- Power BI pulls from the database to compile the data into a dashboard format so it is easily viewed and reconciled before billing.
The Outcome |
7x ROI, 4x Increase in Billing Cycle, Real-time Insights into Revenues and Work In Progress
It took about four (4) weeks for Convverge to develop and deploy a solution into the business. It made a big impact almost immediately and easily paid for itself within six (6) weeks and saved over 14,000 people hours in the first year. With the automation pieces in place, the review and data entry effort went away, which right-sized the admin team back down to two (2) people. Accuracy levels improved and resulted in the ability to quickly reconcile and get invoices out weekly versus monthly. Additional wins included well-organized and easily accessed backup documentation to resolve any invoicing questions or disputes. Not to mention near real-time insights into revenue, which opened the door for quicker decision-making because managers and leaders were no longer waiting on month-end reports.
Key Outcome Summary
- ROI | 7x within 1 year and 22x within 3 years
- 4x Increase in Billing Cycle
- Paid for within six (6) weeks
- Manhours Saved | 14,000 within 1 year
- Real-time insights into revenue and work in progress in the operation
This client went on to share their experience on this project with Clutch, an independent review site for technology providers. Read the full Clutch review here.
It was a pleasure to work with this client and support this solution from end-to-end with our business processing automation consulting expertise that included strategy, architecture, project design and development through to roll-out with ongoing support.
Got a manual, repetitive process that is a bottleneck in your business? Let’s talk…there is a better way.
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