Optus uses 'hack fiesta' to create more bots

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Optus uses 'hack fiesta' to create more bots

Run by intelligent automation CoE, group digital and UiPath.

Optus has put more process automation bots to work in its human resources, managed services and order management functions, following an internal hackathon held at the end of last year.

The telco is in its third year of working with robotic process automation (RPA) technology, which it uses to power “300-plus” automations.

It also has a centre of excellence (CoE) structure around its RPA operations, which it calls the iAutomate CoE.

Optus said in a LinkedIn post late last year that the CoE, “together with our Group Digital Office and RPA platform partner UiPath, recently held a ‘hack fiesta’ where 60 of our people registered to learn how to build their own RPA-assisted bot that automates a repetitive task in their work routine”.

Eight teams participated in the hackathon and one, developing a bot called ‘Tara’, was “crowned the overall winner”, though no details of the bots - or the processes they automated - were released.

However, in a new video, also published to LinkedIn, Optus provided a brief look at Tara and two other bots developed through the hackathon.

Tara bot, according to one of its creators, talent acquisition specialist Natasha Welden-Iley, “is going to allow us and our leaders to recruit more effectively.” 

“It's really exciting as it will allow the team to actually deal with people more than paperwork,” she said.

Michael Chesterton, a technical services manager for integrated client services, said his team created a bot called ‘Robot Smith’.

“He'll be a virtual contact centre agent logging into our Optus Business managed customers' environments and confirming they're functioning as expected,” Chesterton said.

“He'll alert us to issues before they occur and enable our engineers to move onto more complex tasks.”

Shannon Booth, order management & visibility program manager in Optus’ supply chain division, said her team is developing a bot “that enables us to communicate to sales channels quicker about orders that need extra attention.” 

“This is incredibly useful and beneficial to the customers because it ensures they get the greatest customer experience possible,” she said.

Optus indicated it would continue to work with the lines of business to identify processes for rework and automation.

“As a result of our growth over a number of years we have a number of legacy processes, a lot of workarounds, a lot of manual and admin processes,” CFO Murray King said.

“That's not the best use of our valuable resources, so what we want to be able to do is identify all of those processes that can essentially be automated just to free up time.”

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