Call it a cab, call it rideshare, call it ride-hailing or call it Uber. The result is mostly the same as the customer gets from A to B and also sometimes C via an application user interface. Uber has changed the way we navigate around our planet since its arrival just over a decade ago.
Over the last three years, Uber has been working with Accenture to automate business processes using the UiPath platform. With continued expansion as its core goal, Uber has chosen automation as its proven route to streamline its business, coordinate global operations and ensure regulatory compliance.
Due to its phenomenal growth, Uber has to continually architect a complex transformation strategy built on automation, all on a constantly changing digital infrastructure.
With help from Accenture, Uber has developed a global strategy built around UiPath’s platform-based approach to robotic process automation (RPA) in order to keep operations in sync.
Automation for normalisation
According to global head of intelligent automation at Uber, Chad Aronson, the company had a direct and defined need for automation to reduce the need for additional hiring and to normalise global operations.
With invoice processing procedures markedly differentiated between different countries, Uber needed to apply a normalisation factor through automation to reduce administration and provide a normalised high-level view for management. This same process would also help Uber with regulatory compliance, making sure that operations were a closed process that conforms to company standards.
As a young business with an inherently flat organisational structure featuring multiple autonomous decision-makers, Accenture had a special challenge when faced with automating Uber’s operations. Because a centralised approach to RPA deployment in this environment was unlikely to work, Accenture needed to find a way to coordinate multiple RPA processes.
Accenture used and still uses a ‘value-first’ approach to RPA development i.e. one where the value of RPA must be sold to stakeholders with a clearly defined ROI. Extremely dynamic and fluid from the start, Uber RPA stakeholders are in constant communication with developers, making changes on the fly, so tight control and management was needed from the start.
The team also approached this process with a different cadence. Where previous RPA projects may have taken a year or two to establish and come to life, the new RPA team worked to refresh its development pipeline every quarter to six months. That way, automation requests in the queue remain fresh and don’t become obsolete before they are begun.
Due to its phenomenal growth, Uber has to continually architect a complex transformation strategy built on automation, all on a constantly changing digital infrastructure
To ensure that bots continue to deliver value, Accenture has also adopted an incubation pod approach to develop advanced automation solutions using UiPath as the core automation platform. The team is continually adding new capabilities such as chatbots, optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning.
The team has developed dashboards for health monitoring and triage to identify problems before they become trouble tickets. This has empowered the operations and support team to identify and correct problems as they arise.
Automation as an asset
Today, Uber says that RPA has become an asset across its organisation. Automated business processes have had a significant impact on Uber’s operations and revenue.
In London, for example, Uber Freight was at risk of losing its licence to operate because it was scaling so fast, it had trouble tracking safety procedures. It took six weeks to build a bot to maintain start-to-finish tracking of all safety measures to satisfy regulators. If Uber had lost its freight licence in London, it would have experienced a loss of three-four percent of the company’s total revenue.
As part of software robot deployment, Uber has implemented rigorous security and governance protocols. They also have created dashboards and advanced automation to provide senior management with access to data for ROI analytics. If your next ride is with Uber, now you know your journey should be smoother with automation in the driving seat.