Managing the mundane

Situated at the heart of one of the UK's most popular student cities, Manchester Metropolitan University has a driving ambition to discover and disseminate knowledge—and to make higher education accessible and beneficial to all with the passion and ability to succeed.

As a high-volume transactional provider the HR team was finding it difficult to handle the large volume of transactions, while also maintaining the quality of service that its customers deserved—too many resources were being devoted to basic process matters.

They decided to find new ways to increase the value of its people by doing things differently, and by taking the right steps, get more from its existing resources while also improving the quality of service and freeing up people for more value-creating activities.

Strategy and solution

Targeted automation

A series of workshops confirmed that the focus for change should not be technology applications, but rather a reduction in manual, repetitive processes that would alleviate pressure on the staff. To achieve this, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) was recommended.

Far from making the HR department less human, the introduction of RPA has actually liberated it to become much more people-focused than before. This is because the automation of key business processes has allowed the staff previously overburdened with manual inputting duties to switch to providing a truly human-centric service.

"The first thing Accenture did was to understand that this was a people project, not a systems project. Then they worked with us on how to maximise the benefits from our existing system and use that better to support our customers."

– FRANCES HEWISON, HR Director – Manchester Metropolitan University


Proving the power of Human + Machine

In terms of hard numbers, a process that previously took a member of staff 45 minutes, can now be completed in just 3 minutes. The average time saving achieved across the department is around 87 percent, saving more than 115 days a year in total. All of this is now accompanied by increased accuracy, as well as the ability to deliver a more human service.

Manchester Metropolitan University’s experience with RPA is a great demonstration of the power of human+ machine—augmenting people with the latest digital technologies. And—going forward—it's a combination that can be replicated across many organisations, including other higher-educational institutions.

Meet the team

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