ibm - Sales Automation Solution – New
Company: IBM, Armonk, NY
Company Description: IBM is a values-based enterprise of individuals who create & apply technology to make the world work better. Today, more than 377,000 IBM employees around the world invent and integrate hardware, software and services to help forward-thinking enterprises, institutions and people succeed on a smarter planet.
Nomination Category: New Product & Service Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Automation Solution – New
Nomination Title: Robotics Processing Automation for Pool Plan Creation
Tell the story about this nominated product or service (up to 650 words). Describe its function, features, benefits, and sales to date:
Like many corporations, IBM is moving to Robotics Processing Automation (RPA) to accomplish repeatable mundane administrative tasks. The Global Sales Incentives (GSI) organization within IBM has embraced RPA as a means to move work off of sales managers and sales incentives support personnel, freeing them up to perform higher value type activities.
Using Robotics Processing Automation software, the GSI RPA team created an automated process to have a robot work as a delegate to sales managers to create 2H 2017 Incentive Plan Letters (IPL) for sellers on a specific type of plan known as a Pool Plan. The IPL is the formal agreement between IBM and each person who is eligible to be on an incentive plan. Having a robot create the IPLs for 2H 2017 Pool Plans freed those sales managers up from manually entering data from other systems into the system where the IPLs are created and tracked, allowing them more time for other more productive engagements with their sellers and clients.
IBM’s use of a software 'robot' is simply a software application that replicates the actions of a human being interacting with the user interface of a computer system. The concept is very similar to a flowcharter in a virtual environment. The software robot operates on the user interface in the same way that a human would, and can be configured using rules-based logic to perform tasks such are cutting and pasting data from a spreadsheet into an application in order to perform a particular task. Much like a human worker, the robot uses keyboard and mouse controls to take actions and execute automations. Business operations employees - people with process and subject matter expertise but no programing experience - can be trained to independently automate processes using RPA tools within a few weeks. The robot accesses end user computer systems exactly as a human does - via the user interface with an established access control mechanism (e.g. logon ID and password) - so no underlying systems programming need be required.
The GSI RPA team has named their robot Nano Second because it does these mundane tasks so much faster than a human employee. Nano, as it is affectionately called, was able to create IPLs for 7,897 sellers in an average of 18 seconds per letter. Managers typically would spend about 10 minutes per letter creation. In total, sales managers that benefitted from this new process, saved on average about 70 minutes each. This automated process allowed the WW Pool Plan managers' a fast start for 2H with IPLs created for their approval during the first week of July for the 2H cycle with minimal work on their end.
Feedback from the managers impacted was extremely positive:
“I must say, a great process improvement.”
“Great progress for IPL deployment J”
“Just to let you know that the enhancement made with pre/filled in information really has been helpful and speeded up the process.”
Utilization of the robot to create IPLs for 2H 2017 was so well executed and received, that plans are now underway to expand the process to have an RPA solution to create IPLs for all sellers for 1H 2018. This would mean that the robot will be creating between 30,000 and 40,000 IPLs in early January 2018!