Campaign Approval Process
Today I am going to share how we manage RPA – a process that involves a lot of people and requires a lot of communication between them. When someone creates a new campaign with discounted products it needs to be approved by product/brand managers and account managers. This means sending e-mails, making phone calls, reminding the involved people that an approval was requested. And, the reason why these persons do not respond swiftly is because in order to approve or reject a campaign, they have to get to a computer, log in to their ERP system, find the campaign and correctly update the approval status for each product.
This is how the RPA was introduced in this process:
First, the robot intercepts the e-mails with approval requests and adds buttons at the bottom of the e-mail. The buttons allow the recipient to answer "Approve" or "Reject" directly from the e-mail by generating a new e-mail with the correct response. So, after reading the campaign data and making a decision, the manager must perform only two actions now: click on the Approve/Reject button (link) in the e-mail and click on the Send E-mail button.
When robot receives this reply from the approver, it passes all the needed information and executes the approval/rejection steps in the ERP.
The robot even checks if all the replies have been received and notifies the person responsible that all the managers have answered.
Also in cases when someone has not replied in a couple of days, the robot sends out a reminder. And, before doing that, it checks the ERP in case the manager has approved the campaign in the old way (manually) instead of replying to the e-mail.
Such a process might seem quite complex at first, but after mapping out how RPA can help, it gets "standardized". After implementation it has much less exceptions from standard workflow because now everyone does his/her job in the same way. Of course, it takes much less time for anyone involved. And, on top of that, through the logging and the temporary status database it can be monitored which approval requests have been sent and which replies have not been received yet.
The biggest challenge in this process automation development?
The e-mail validation.
The robot has to make sure that the responder is the correct one and there is no "hacking". E-mail reply content and format validation. Several languages. Auto replies need skipping. Etc.