The energy market is characterized by major societal trendsand technological advancements. Complex and dynamicmarket demands require utilities to be efficient, agile andinnovative. To succeed long-term in this ultra-competitiveenvironment, companies need to develop efficient ways ofworking, as well as differentiators that help them stand outfrom competitors.
Observing these trends and technological developments, Kelag – one of Austria’s largest utilities – quickly stepped intoaction, scouring its business to identify potential efficiencies. Its search spawned the idea to automate routine processes tofree up employees to make the best use of their time.
To bring its idea to life, Kelag chose to work with SmartCAPIT-Solutions and other vendors to deploy Kofax Kapow™robotic process automation (RPA) solutions.
Cornelia Kowatsch, Team Coordinator for FinanceManagement in Kelag’s Middle- and Back-office, explained, “We selected Kofax and SmartCAP IT-Solutions based on ourprevious positive experience of using these vendors in otherareas of our business, such as in our digital mailroom project.In addition, the proposal from Kofax and SmartCAPIT-Solutions came in at an attractive price.”
As a first use-case, Kelag worked with SmartCAP IT-Solutionsto automate data entry into its SAP ERP applications usingKofax Kapow. Specifically, Kelag built a robot that keyscomplete information from bank statements from its domesticsubsidiaries directly into SAP ERP.
Margareta Schliesser-Slanic, Coordinator of the RPACompetency Center at Kelag, remarked, “Desktop automationis a powerful way to free employees from routine tasks.”Cornelia Kowatsch continued, “By automating data entry intoour SAP ERP finance application, we save valuable time thatour highly skilled accountants can now spend on other tasks.”
The excellent results achieved by automating SAP data entryprovided a springboard for Kelag to explore the potential ofrobotics in other areas. After promoting its success in the SAPuse-case internally, Kelag’s RPA Competency Center arrangedan internal robotics workshop for managers who displayed aninterest in participating.
At the workshop, SmartCAP IT-Solutions demonstrated thecapabilities of Kofax Kapow and asked each participant tothink of processes in their departments that could bestreamlined using RPA. Kelag and SmartCAP IT-Solutionsgathered the results and selected the most promising ideasfor further investigation.
Taking up a suggestion from the sales and marketing teams,Kelag’s RPA Competency Center turned its attention to pricecomparisonwebsites, which are designed to help consumerschoose energy providers. Users submit information such asenergy consumption, location, type of house or apartment,number of bedrooms and number of occupants. The websitethen obtains quotes from multiple providers and lists them inascending price order. There is intense competition for the topspots, as consumers are significantly more likely to purchaseenergy from these utilities.
As energy providers jostle for position, sales and marketingdepartments frequently check their company’s rankings.Employees typically enter data into several price-comparisonwebsites using multiple sample profiles, making the task verytime-consuming. SmartCAP IT-Solutions helped Kelag build a robot that keys in information from sample user profiles,obtains quotes, checks Kelag’s ranking and sends theinformation to interested parties – all without humanintervention.
By automating routine tasks using RPA, Kelag is unlockingsignificant time savings for staff and enabling them to focuson other work.
Margareta Schliesser-Slanic continued, “Our sales andmarketing teams used to spend multiple person-hourschecking our ranking on price-comparison websites. Thanksto Kofax Kapow and SmartCAP IT-Solutions, thoseemployees now have more time to spend on other activities.It’s a similar story in the accounting department, asautomating data entry into SAP saves the team between 10and 15 minutes per day.
“Employees have warmly welcomed the Kofax Kapowsolutions, because they can work more efficiently and handoff repetitive tasks to the robots.”
In future, Kelag plans to build on its success by deployingRPA in other areas. For instance, the company is exploringpossibilities to automate the generation and emaildistribution of reports regularly used by staff. For example,this could be reports regarding how many consumerschange their energy supplier.
Margareta Schliesser-Slanic concluded, “The intensecompetition in the energy market shows no signs of cooling.We believe that robotic process automation from KofaxKapow acts as a powerful differentiator to help us maintainour strong position in a turbulent market.”