External disruption can be a great time to innovate. With the disruption of a global pandemic, along with additional workloads that COVID-19 has caused, MetLife Australia has embraced experimentation, digitising and persisted with the opportunity to transform to benefit our customers, partners and staff. One of these digitisation projects has seen our Finance team launch their first robotic process automation (RPA) – aptly named “Optimus”.

Looking for an opportunity to implement an RPA, the team assessed workflows throughout the Finance department and pinpointed manual tasks that could easily be automated. The idea was first explored last year but the time pressure in lockdown has meant the need was more than ever to bring the project to life.

Patrick Karam, Senior Business Analyst in our robotics team collaborated with the MetLife Japan Robotics team to leverage their work and the outcome was Optimus – a robot which uploads journal entries and notifies team members of any errors, corrections needing to be made, and successful work completed - freeing up the team to focus on tasks that need a more human touch Optimus has its own login, email address and access to MetLife’s general ledger accounting and reporting system.

The Finance team were involved in design, troubleshooting, user acceptance testing and implementation of Optimus. Naming the robot was put to a vote and, as he’s he first of his kind in Finance, Optimus (Prime), seemed a fitting name.

Optimus checks its emails every hour, and uploads journals and troubleshoots issues. On successful upload into the correct system, it sends an email advising the work is complete. Optimus is quite happy to work through the night and on weekends – which we prefer to avoid. Most importantly it is saving the team hours in low value work and allowing our people to focus on more interesting and complex work.

Just two weeks after launching, Optimus is helping to save the team 15-20 hours per month in manual tasks, freeing up the Finance team to spend more time analysing data, mining for insights and working on other value-add projects. They will also able to provide support to the business and add value with ideas for improved performance.

Patrick Karam said it was an excellent experience working in collaboration and building bridges with the Japanese RPA team.

We encourage the MetLife family to have a continuous improvement and efficiency mindset to help us support our customers and partners. And this is a great example of this mindset in action.

Optimus is the fifth RPA to be launched at MetLife Australia and there are more in the pipeline across various functions in the business.

According to our Employee Benefit Trends Study 2019 67% of employers think that as AI is introduced, they will value their workforce for their creativity even more as a way to drive the business forward.

Peter Castle
Head of Financial Control