One of the processes of a seemingly insignificant nature, but with a huge impact on the enterprise is the recording of working time. Suboptimal management of this activity can generate losses counted in FTEs, cause inconsistencies in reports costing millions of zlotys, and the lack of detailed data and statistics can lead to the loss of opportunity for further development. There are tools available on the market to support this process. They are tailored to different industries and business realities, and are additionally integrated with time accounting systems.
In the development teams of All for One Poland, another problem appeared – the excess of tools in which employees had to record time and the resulting… loss of time.
Working time recording – process analysis
In 2021, the company conducted an analysis of its time recording process, with the following conclusions:
- development teams were required to log time in multiple tools (e.g., BeeOffice, Jira, SAP);
- due to working with multiple clients, there was a risk of having to introduce more tools;
- the average daily input of time information in various tools took about 10 minutes;
- there were differences in reported working time between tools;
- in the surveys conducted, the problem of recording working time in multiple tools was indicated as the most burdensome;
- introducing additional benefits for employees linked to their work type would require additional data, which would increase the already long time spent on recording working time each day;
- different teams approached time recording in different ways, applying a set of rules and principles independently, which made it difficult to analyze data at the level of the entire entity.
Such a situation posed a challenge for the company, which sought to increase the efficiency of its operations.
Automation in RunBotics
To optimize the process, it was decided to partially automate it using the Robotic Process Automation – RunBotics. It is an open source solution supported by All for One and available on the GitHub platform. The use of bots made it possible to manage information on the basis of a star schema, in which data flows in only one direction. Information from different tools is sent to one, which has become the main source of knowledge (in this case, BeeOffice). This has eliminated the need to record time in multiple applications simultaneously.
Currently, each team records time in only one tool with the greatest “information potential", that is, the one from which the robot can infer the project and task type and derive other information, without the employee having to manually enter this data. In order to maintain continuity and consistency, RunBotics analyzes the designated sources each day to synchronize time recording data. In addition, the use of the RPA platform to automate this process allowed for its continuous adaptation, i.e. adding new teams, tools and projects without having to create the solution from scratch each time.
Putting robots to work
The described project to digitalize time management in our development teams is just one example, showing what Robotic Process Automation tools can do. There is always a lot of talk in business about the need to increase productivity and save time and money. In recent years, a greater concern for employee satisfaction has been added on top of that. RPA makes it possible to implement these objectives quickly and effectively. Wherever there are repetitive activities related to moving files, copying, pasting and comparing data or filling out forms on a large scale, it’s worth checking whether automation can be introduced. All for One carries out such projects for its clients. We help analyze processes, propose optimal solutions and select the best tools for this purpose. And, of course, we put robots to work.
Wojciech Paczkowski, Software Development Deputy Director, All for One Poland
RPA – savings and optimization
Initially, the process was verified on a group of 20 people. The implemented automation minimized the daily time spent by an employee on work recording to about 4 minutes, which generated savings of 40 hours per month. Currently, the solution is used by about 100 people. Several applications collecting data from more than 20 projects are connected. As a result, the savings currently achieved are over 1 FTE per month.
Saving time and eliminating inconsistencies are the two biggest benefits, however there are additional benefits as well. The implementation of the process has unified the entire procedure, and this in turn has solved the problem of statistics and new benefits.
In addition, thanks to RunBotics, the process can be scaled at any time, both in terms of teams and projects as well as tools. The procedures themselves can also be easily modified, giving the company the flexibility required in today’s unpredictable times.
Good automation – long-term benefits
The automation of business processes, including time recording using tools such as RunBotics, can bring significant benefits in the form of time savings, elimination of errors and the ability to generate further optimizations. However, it is worth remembering that a key element of success is the accurate identification of processes that are suitable for automation.
Before doing so, it is recommended to perform a detailed analysis and to determine which processes will be best suited for automation and what benefits they will bring.