How is RPA impacting ENGIE?

By: Martin Ruane

The use of Robotic Process Automation is continuing to grow across the Nordics with many organizations beginning to enter the implementation phase of automation. Speaking to a Global company, like ENGIE, who have mature robotics established within their organization can help direct Nordic companies on their new robotic automation ventures. Martin Ruane, a Program Director at ENGIE, has lead award winning programs of change that include discussions of RPA technology and has over 20 years of experience in this field. He talks to us in detail about ENGIE’s mature RPA journey and what outsiders can learn from their experience.

Did you encounter any issues when asking for support from ENGIE’s leadership and how should other organizations tackle these problems?

“My key advice for anyone implementing RPA is to treat the process as a strategic change program. It’s important to secure a buy-in at the highest level of your organization to ensure that your leadership team is comfortable in making investments in RPA processes. At ENGIE, the buy-in from the IT department was hugely important to our journey but we did not encounter any issues as at the time I was in the position of running IT and supported the implementation. We are now expanding RPA across ENGIE in the UK and working through the right governance is essential in ensuring our infrastructure is fully supported.”

What benefits have you seen at ENGIE since implementing RPA?

“RPA has provided ENGIE with a rapid transformation tool. It makes the downstream change process more straightforward as the challenges involved in embedding the change are significantly easier since the entire process is automated. Personally, I really like the fact it is a win for our customers, who experience faster lead times and improved quality as a result of RPA. And a win for our staff that benefit from the removal of tedious repetitive work and have now replaced these tasks with more enriching work.”

Did you run a pilot program? What did this pilot program highlight for ENGIE?

“We did run a pilot and it helped us evolve our approach and processes to ensure they were robust and fit for purpose. It highlighted to many of us that implementation is a change process so understanding the end-game and communication are essential. We worked really hard on developing the understanding and communicative aspects of the process.”

How has implementing robotics at ENGIE helped you fulfill your company goals and values?

“RPA at ENGIE is a tool that helps us deliver a great experience for our customers at a quicker pace and a smaller cost. Part of ENGIE’s DNA is to create innovative solutions for our customers and RPA allows us to do just that. I think, also, we have pushed even harder to put IT in the hands of the business by training operational staff to automate their own processes.”

Is there fear within ENGIE’s workforce that robotics might start to displace their jobs soon and, if so, what are you doing to allay these fears?

“Yes, I think it is inevitable that there is rational fear when automation is introduced that it may impact on jobs. However, we were clear from the outset that implementing RPA was to support our target operating model. We have also engaged with our staff on the benefits – taking the robot out of the human and freeing them up for more enriched work. We have also provided our staff with the skills to automate their own processes and put them in control of their own service. Two-way communication processes are important in displacing fear and we use a range of communication channels including drop-ins and exhibitions to ensure that everyone shares the same understanding of RPA and its value at ENGIE.”

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