The Research Services Division (RSD) processes approximately 450 Australian Research Council (ARC) grant acquittals each year following ARC approval. This seemingly non-descript activity is a repetitive, high-volume process which takes up precious people-hours. Data in these grants is manually extracted from the ARC’s Research Management System (including review of variations), and updated one-by-one into the ANU Research Information Enterprise System (ARIES). The data extracted from RMS is crucial for calculating a researcher’s eligibility and project limits for future grant applications. Last year, completion of this manual process was undertaken over a period of three months.
With an increase in workload, inconsistent data entry and human error, RSD decided to venture into the world of robots, and with the help of the Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre (IDTC), Albot was born.
Albot was successfully launched at the end of October 2019 to fulfill a two-part role. Firstly, Albot extracts grant details from RMS. The data, which was previously manually captured in Excel and manually copied into ARIES, is then pushed to ARIES by Albot to systematically update project dates and milestones. In between these two automated processes, Albot provides the extract of data to RSD to allow them to select any items they wish to exclude in the process. Following this review, Albot then continues to update all the relevant ARIES records.
The automation of these two tasks a reduced human effort of two or three months to less than three hours. AIbot also ensures data integrity between RMS and ARIES, removal of data errors and maintained data consistency, improved ARIES data quality and standardised the update process.
A key feature of Albot is its ability to complete this task every year. This automation can be applied to other areas of the ANU to assist with manual data extraction, data entry and reporting, with more work already underway with RSD to augment Albot.
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