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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | July 25, 2017

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How RPA is taking service providers to the next level

How RPA is taking service providers to the next level
Outsource Magazine

As a provider of business processing services we see first-hand the challenges companies face as they look to increase the accuracy and processing times of ever-expanding volumes of digital data.

Robotics has changed the way companies are now processing this information. From manual keying to industrial scale virtual input, the era of wholesale automated data input is here to stay.

The mainstream business media has already commented widely in early 2015 about the likely impact Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will have on the global workforce and on everyday processes like data entry. Opinion has been cautiously optimistic, and with good reason, the wholesale changes likely to be implemented by this technology are far-reaching.

For those unfamiliar, RPA is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture data from existing applications to process a transaction, manipulate data, trigger a response and communicate with other digital systems.
Through this technology traditional everyday office roles are transforming. As innovators we should embrace the fact that most aspects of office life will change as a result of RPA technology over the coming decade.

For my colleagues and me at Xchanging, we view robotics as an enabler of best practice within business processing. Technology is the key to innovation. The software and platforms we have developed for clients have to constantly evolve to keep efficiency high and new opportunities flowing.

Xchanging’s traditional business started as a processor of claims and underwriting documents in London’s specialty insurance market. Today we implement business solutions to every type of private and public sector organisation imaginable.

Through innovation in the last 15 years we have moved into the space of being a technology company providing software platforms. Within the insurance sector we exclusively provide a data repository called the Insurers’ Market Repository (IMR) to our clients in London’s specialty insurance market. That IMR holds more than 40 million claims records and with thousands of claims processed every year by our staff, the importance of processing documents accurately and quickly is not lost.

The use of robotics allows our staff to do this. As executive sponsor I agreed to introduce robotics through our chosen partner, Blue Prism, in 2013. By the end of 2014 we had ten automated processes within the insurance business and to-date 13 processes are now live in the insurance business, with more to follow in 2015.

Already we are seeing significant benefits from the robotics implemented. We have seen processing time reduced, including one process by over 90%. Uninterrupted labour is an important factor too, as we now have various multiskilled robots working on each process, non-stop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We now reject items on day one of processing rather than days later. Automation has led to the freeing up of resource to work on more customer focused roles. The likelihood of human error has also been eradicated through robotics, as all the previous intricacies of an individual entering data have been replaced with automated technology.

What robotics is bringing to the table for us as a technology driven organisation are savings in time and resources. These efficiencies can be passed on further up the service chain, so our customers are ultimately the ones who benefit from innovation.


About the Author

Adrian Guttridge 150Adrian Guttridge is Executive Director, Insurance Services at Xchanging. Before joining Xchanging, Adrian was Vice President of Business Processing Outsourcing, EMEA at Hewlett-Packard. In this role he was directly responsible for a business with 7,000 employees based on, near and offshore. In recent years Adrian has been running businesses wholly or substantially in financial services. He has a technology background and his 30 year career includes extensive experience specifically in the insurance sector, for example running the insurance practice for EDS (prior to its acquisition by HP), and in senior roles at Accenture and Marlborough Stirling.

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