First Consulting supports BDO with building its RPA capability

15 March 2019 4 min. read

The Dutch arm of global accounting and consulting firm BDO is working on its own digital transformation. The IT department of the business services firm is pioneering the latest technology trends, including Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Business consultancy First Consulting is helping BDO with designing the RPA journey and building its internal RPA capability.

Last year, BDO explored the value of Robotic Process Automation, concluding the technology has the capacity to bolster the firm’s service offerings as well as internal operations. Building on the analysis, the professional services firm incorporated RPA into its ICT strategy for the coming years.

Robotic Process Automation is a technology in which repetitive human actions within administrative processes are automated by smart software, enabling potentially large benefits in efficiency, effectiveness and quality. RPA can in essence be regarded as a virtual employee that can be deployed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. According to expert analysis, RPA's main benefits lie in the ability to deliver cost reductions, realised in a short time span with relatively limited resources. In addition, RPA software can leverage existing systems and applications, meaning that running the software does not require any impactful IT adjustments. 

At BDO, the first robot has been delivered as part of the RPA project and taken into use by the business. First Consulting is advising BDO on all aspects of deploying and scaling-up the technology across the organisation – from capability building, governance structure and processes to architecture and IT infrastructure. The joint team of BDO and First Consulting have meanwhile also taken the first steps to set up an internal RPA capability.First Consulting supports BDO with building its RPA capabilityWith RPA on board, BDO’s ICT department aims at increasing the satisfaction of employees by removing a range of often boring (repetitive, administrative) tasks. The robots take responsibility for such tasks, leaving employees with more time to perform value-adding activities. On top of this, RPA can execute tasks and processes with a lower margin of error compared to humans, enhancing BDO’s internal operations. 

During the project, First Consulting is using its best practice RPA growth model methodology. The approach differentiates between three different growth phases: starting with RPA, structuring RPA, and scaling RPA.

Project results are delivered through an agile approach. According to the engagement partners, the following results were achieved in a period of six weeks:

  • Developed a first robot process that directly creates value for the business and contributes to the 360 degree customer view by migrating information from two systems to another system;
  • Advice and implementation plan on the technical design in relation to RPA, ICT guidelines, a security questionnaire and a basic infrastructure;
  • A roadmap for setting up an internal RPA capability, including the following components: processes & governance, change management and capability building & training;
  • Plan for setting up benefits tracking / monitoring as well as reusability of robot process components.

First Consulting and BDO so far look back at a successful and pleasant cooperation, in which “tangible results” have been realised. According to the engaged consultants from First Consulting, the close match between the firms’ norms and values proved a key success factor. “Our pragmatic, no-nonsense approach has clearly paid off,” commented the firm’s project manager. 

In the coming period, First Consulting and BDO are investigating opportunities to develop a digital capability in other areas of BDO’s business. 

Related: 7 success factors for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) implementation.