Customer Stories / Telecommunications
Globe Telecom Innovates Payment Processing with RPA on Amazon WorkSpaces
By implementing robotic process automation (RPA) on Amazon WorkSpaces, Globe Telecom has implemented a payment installment program for customers with minimal cost and effort.
Overview | Providing Bill Relief to Customers Facing Hardship
Globe Telecom prides itself on being a purpose-driven telecommunications firm that cares for its employees and customers. When the COVID-19 outbreak led to a lockdown in the Philippines in March 2020, Globe responded with an installment payment option for its six million-plus postpaid subscribers.
Paper bills and in-person payments are still the norm in the Philippines, and Globe’s backend payment infrastructure was manually managed at its on-premises data centers. While Globe customers applauded the payment relief scheme, the task force charged with setting up new procedures to support variable payment deadlines was overwhelmed. Changes to payment schedules had previously been accomplished by outsourcing support staff from business processing centers, but this was impossible with the national lockdown.
Opportunity | Replacing an Outdated RPA Method
At the beginning of the year, Globe’s technical team was given five goals, deemed pillars, by their CIO. One of these was to increase automation across the business. Engineers had been using robotic process automation (RPA) for two years and considered using it to solve the installment-payment issue.
However, the existing setup was not ideal. Tech teams had to set up 10–15 laptops dedicated to RPA using a rudimentary form of screen scraping, a process of collecting screen display data from one application and translating it for another application. The machines could only run for a maximum of 15 hours to avoid overheating, and maintenance technicians still had to perform updates and security patching. “It defeated the purpose,” says Red Bernaldez, director of workplace technology portfolio, Enterprise Services at Globe Telecom. “We were going for automation, yet someone had to constantly check the machines.”
Our RPA solution running on Amazon WorkSpaces buys us time while we are implementing larger changes on our legacy systems.”
Director of Workplace Technology Portfolio, Enterprise Services at Globe Telecom
Solution | Running Bots 24/7 with No Staff Time or Monitoring
Globe has had a cloud-first policy in place since 2014 and is using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud for key workloads. Globe’s engineers decided to explore Amazon WorkSpaces desktop as a service (DaaS) to run its RPA bots, and formed a team of five dedicated to quickly test and launch the project. Within a week, the team had conducted a successful proof of concept (POC) deploying five bots on Amazon WorkSpaces.
Within four months, Globe launched over 200 bots on Amazon WorkSpaces instances. Thanks to the proven reliability and security of AWS, these four months were spent optimizing bot design rather than setting up infrastructure. Bernaldez estimates that if they had to manage the infrastructure in-house, it would have taken an additional two months just to set it up, seek validation, and undergo security checks.
Globe’s RPA bots now run continuously without requiring manual supervision. Customers can apply for payment installments online and receive confirmation the same day, instead of the two weeks that Globe estimates the approval and setup would have taken with its previous hard-coding approach.
In addition, the company is saving cost by eliminating the need for security licensing on its laptops, because Amazon WorkSpaces includes built-in security features and is deployed within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). Engineers worked closely with their AWS technical account manager to adhere to Globe’s strict internal security protocols. “This approach is easier to maintain because we only had to implement a few security agents on the server side of the DaaS environment, focusing on security groups and Active Directory policies,” Bernaldez explains.
Outcome | Looking for More Quick Wins with Low Cost
Globe has since extended its payment installment program beyond the initially planned six months. “We realized we can offer this payment option on and off as needed without incurring a high financial cost to make changes to the system and have received a lot of positive feedback from customers,” Bernaldez says.”
Bernaldez is now leading a team to look at implementing RPA bots on Amazon WorkSpaces for other processes. For example, Globe is considering a rollout of Amazon WorkSpaces as a DaaS for its technical staff, many of whom are still working from home and have specifically requested this service. Teams sometimes have to download up to 1TB of data, which can take a long time or even time out due to weak network connections on the local VPN. Amazon WorkSpaces can help solve this issue with data colocation occurring at the backend.
Bernaldez says. “We’re able to achieve our targets and scale up with minimal cost and labor. Our RPA solution running on Amazon WorkSpaces buys us time while we are implementing larger changes on our legacy systems.”
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/workspaces.
About Globe Telecom
Globe is a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines which offers mobile, fixed, broadband, data connectivity, internet, and managed services. The telco also has major interests in fintech, digital marketing solutions, venture capital funding for startups, and virtual healthcare.
AWS Services Used
Amazon WorkSpaces is a managed, secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. You can use Amazon WorkSpaces to provision either Windows or Linux desktops in just a few minutes and quickly scale to provide thousands of desktops to workers across the globe.
Amazon Virtual Private Cloud
Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) is a service that lets you launch AWS resources in a logically isolated virtual network that you define. You have complete control over your virtual networking environment, including selection of your own IP address range, creation of subnets, and configuration of route tables and network gateways.
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