Solve the Order-to-Cash Challenges With RPA and Cognitive Automation
In this tutorial, see how you can build a solution by using Automation Anywhere Community Edition software.
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Organizations learn the hard way how slow and inefficient order-to-cash processes can affect their ability to grow. Errors in order processing increase costs, result in write-offs, and frustrate customers and stakeholders. Delays in processing orders can result in missing top-line revenue targets.
At Automation Anywhere, we’re observing the same challenges with our customers. One of our customers faced highly variable order-to-cash demand with surges every quarter-end. They possessed a manual order-to-cash process involving 50 full-time staff. The company tried digitization but found the intelligent OCR solution they selected had higher setup costs than expected. It also required manual creation of customer order form templates that delivered inconsistent results. Troubleshooting became a burden and impacted the delivery of the outstanding customer support that the company is known for.
The solution involved a scheduled, daily deployment of bots that downloaded purchase orders from email attachments and fed them to IQ Bot for data extraction. Each record was then automatically entered into the system.
In this tutorial, I am going to show you how you can build a solution by using Automation Anywhere Community Edition software and provide order-to-cash professionals with speed and accuracy.
1. Download Automation Anywhere Community Edition, the free developer edition that gives you access to the full suite of products, including RPA, IQ Bot, and Bot Store, an online marketplace for preconfigured downloadable bots.
2. You will receive an email with a link to your control room (a.k.a Community Edition Portal) and login credentials.
3. Log into the portal and click on DOWNLOAD CLIENT to install the client to your Windows machine.
4. Create a bot store account.
Create a Task Bot for Automated PO Download
Bot Store is the best place to search for pre-built bots. Whether you are looking to automate a specific task and workflow or segments of defined job roles, Bot Store is where you should start to discover and experience ready-to-deploy bots and digital workers.
In this step, we will start from a pre-built task bot to download Purchase Orders automatically, save them to a local drive. Then we will feed the downloaded purchase orders to an IQ bot to parse and classify.
Launch Automation Anywhere Community Client, from the left panel, select Bot Store and log in. Search for “Download Email Attachment” and select “Download Email Attachments based on filters.”
Click on 'Get Bot' to download the Bot executable file and install it to your local Windows machine. During installation, you will be prompted to enter the license key. You can find your bot’s license key by clicking the Bot Store account icon at the top right corner, locate the bot you downloaded, then click on Copy to Clipboard.
After a successful installation, go back to your Community Client, and from Task Editor, go to Tasks->My Tasks->Bot Store->Download Filtered Attachment-> My Tasks, then select Email_Download_Attachment.atmx, and click on Edit.
This launches the Bot Workbench, where you can design your own program flow.
During Bot installation, a ReadMe file was saved under your Documents/Automation Anywhere Files/Automation Anywhere/My Tasks/Bot Store/Download-Filtered-Attachment folder. Please follow the ReadMe file to configure your email account and other variables. This can be done by clicking the Variable Manager tab on the side.
Once all parameters are properly configured, your bot can automatically download purchase orders from email attachments to $vMyTaskPath$\Output Files\$vAttachment Folders\.
Create an IQ Bot for PO Classification
To enable automated Purchase Order classification, developers start by creating an IQ Bot learning instance in the Community Edition Portal. The learning instance contains a machine learning model to process collections of documents. For a detailed step-by-step instruction, please follow the videos and Quick Start Guide on this page to train your IQ Bot.
IQ Bot understands the document types and relevant data fields. It extracts all the fields from the document. Developers can review and adjust the fields that need additional training. In our example here, we named our learning instance “Purchase Order Learning Instance.”
Integrate Task Bot and IQ Bot together
Once the developer finishes all the training, connect the IQ Bot to the task bot we configured in the first step.
In your Workbench, IQ Bot appears as a workbench command in the Commands Panel. Developers only need to drag and drop the IQ Bot to where the document processing takes place, then select the learning instance we just trained.
IQ Bot will process the downloaded purchase orders and place the results into CSV file. From there, the developer has a standard format to perform further data manipulation if it is needed.
The results were staggering. Our customers automated 20 percent of their order-to-cash process in just five weeks. They experienced 4X faster set-up time than the existing OCR application. This resulted in $350K cost savings in 3 months.
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