The Russian war in Ukraine has created one of the world’s largest current humanitarian crises as Ukrainian citizens flee prolonged attacks on their homeland. To date, seven million people have been internally displaced and 13 million have become refugees, often left without electricity, food, water and essential everyday items like diapers and medicine.
Step with Hope, a Ukrainian humanitarian organization, serves internally displaced people and refugees through their 26 evacuation centers across the country. With hundreds of new requests per day, Step with Hope’s manual call center quickly became overwhelmed, leaving volunteers scrambling to keep up with the need.
Presidio, in partnership with the Center for Humanitarian Technology (CFHT), Zendesk, and Automation Anywhere, moved quickly to replace the call center with a Telegram messaging-based operations center that leverages robotic process automation (RPA) to enable Step with Hope’s volunteer staff to focus on getting the supplies and services to people in need more efficiently.
Integrating RPA into Zendesk
Presidio was chosen to execute this pro bono project because of its reputation for innovative digital transformations done fast and right, as well as its deep technology expertise.
The most immediate challenge was to automate service requests to alleviate administrative burden and connect people to services more quickly. Presidio built an integration between Zendesk CRM and Automation Anywhere RPA to automate the entire interview process and rapidly collect the necessary information from those in need.
“Using the Telegram system, people can message ‘I need food or diapers or to be evacuated.’ They start engaging with a text bot that asks questions and routes their information into case workers’ CRM screens,” said Presidio Vice President of Automation Mladen Milanovic. “All that back and forth was previously manual until we built a bridge between the two platforms.”
Presidio’s custom connector processed more than 192,000 requests in the month of October alone. Internally displaced Ukrainians can now quickly convey who they are, their location, and what immediate help they need all without human intervention from Step with Hope volunteers.
“Since this solution went live, it has saved 400 volunteer hours,” said Milanovic. “They now spend those hours helping people directly instead of fielding calls and requests.”
Automating a Better Workflow for Volunteers
As this massive volume of unstructured data is collected from the Telegram service, it has to be organized and routed to the appropriate case worker. The second pillar of the Presidio solution transformed this formerly manual process into an automated workflow.
A custom-built robot compiles the information behind each individual request and structures it to create a new case. That case is then automatically assigned to the appropriate case worker to act upon. Presidio programmed this automated workflow using the Automation Anywhere RPA platform.
“Zendesk and Automation Anywhere provided Step with Hope with the raw platforms and foundation they needed to get started,” said Milanovic. Presidio stepped in to develop the required functionality and integrated it all together seamlessly.”
A Truly Impactful Digital Transformation
This effort, delivered under a tight timeline under unprecedented circumstances, showcases the power technology has to change lives for the better. The combination of best-of-breed software and Presidio technical ingenuity powered a truly impactful outcome: accelerating the speed of crisis response for refugees in Ukraine.