Utilities are vital to any economy, as they provide most of the public services that are essential for families and industries. Their invoicing processes are key to their business model since they represent the way to obtain and ensure their income. Each utility has defined a series of processes that allow them to have control over their invoicing, which includes multiple and diverse technologies. One of the most relevant tasks is ensuring the quality of the invoice.
One of MVM’s clients is the most important utility in Colombia, which has approximately 7 million users. In each cycle, in the second-largest city in the country, it prints around 100,000 invoices. In this process, there is a team of approximately 8 FTEs (Full-Time Equivalents), business process specialists, dedicated to analyzing the quality of the invoice before its printing. In this process, they extract a representative sample to analyze some of the following aspects:
- Average invoicing per cycle
- Average consumption
- Review of the critical measurement from consumption readings
- Review of charges
- Generation of payment accounts
- Invoice generation
- Review of rates
MVM’s group of business and intelligent process automation specialists used their defined methodology for designing and implementing automation solutions to evaluate the invoice quality task in the invoicing process. They identified that the task was susceptible to automation due to its manual and repetitive nature, given the following characteristics:
- A task with a significant number of repetitive and operational activities
- Highly standardized task with internal control activities and subject to control entities’ review
- A highly critical task within the invoicing process, given its impact on utilities’ income assurance
- High time dedication of process specialists in this task equivalent to 1280 hours per month, with a daily execution rate.
- A task that is unlikely to change.
- A task based on defined rules governed in the invoicing process
- Standardization of inputs in the task.
- A task with high operational and functional risks for this Utilities business.
First, we selected the most appropriate technology for automation: RPA (Robotic Process Automation). Using the Uipath automation platform, we carried out a discovery process to identify the highest-value points for the business in the task context. Next, we designed the automation using all the tools in Uipath Studio and in Task Capture. We implemented, and deployed it as unattended automation, using the orchestrator. This centralized cloud deployment allows for fully unattended automation, with 100% coverage of the review of subscribed services in each billing cycle before its respective printing.
The benefits achieved by this MVM client are as follows:
- Achieve 100% coverage in reviewing invoicing quality for each cycle, reducing the risk of any situation that would affect the due course of this task to 0%.
- Reduce regulatory non-compliance risks derived from poor invoice quality to 0%.
- Deploy a set of digital assistants in the cloud, unattended, orchestrated centrally, with an effective execution rate of 100% in the last 2 years.
- Contribute to ensuring 100% quality invoicing of services, mitigating operational, financial, and commercial risks of the company.
- Release FTEs equivalent to 1,280 monthly hours and 15,360 annual hours, allowing the company’s commercial process to concentrate on higher-value activities in terms of analysis and decision management.
- Expand automation capacity, integrating artificial intelligence capabilities to analyze the quality of histograms in each of the public services invoices, thus achieving technological convergence of value for this utilities’ most financially impactful process.