Software robotics promises to deliver a solution that can rapidly automate manual back-office and customer-facing processes, making them faster, significantly more cost-effective, and improving consistency and regulatory compliance, all with a return on investment (ROI) typically in less than one year.
Many leading banks, insurers, and wealth and asset managers have successfully piloted robotics solutions, but to date, relatively few have succeeded in industrializing the benefits. However, the size of the prize on offer from doing so, both in terms of cost savings and service transformation, places accelerating and industrializing software robotics firmly on the agenda for the C-suite of most financial services groups.
Zurich, the leading multi-line general insurance and life insurance provider, wanted to implement robotic process automation (RPA) as a key element of their goal to enhance service and achieve their commitments to more than $1b of cost improvements by 2018. This poses the question - how can automation reduce costs while enhancing human potential?
EY is one of the largest consultancies dealing with robotics, with more than 1,000 robotics professionals having delivered more than 100 projects globally. And as the first professional services organization to receive Blue Prism’s Gold certification — the highest accreditation to implement RPA for organizations at scale and speed — we had the practical experience and knowledge to help Zurich put robotics into action.
Starting with a pilot proof of concept in Zurich UK life and pensions in December 2014, we worked together with Zurich to deliver multiple projects and create a federated robotics center of excellence for the insurance company.
The initial pilot was designed to demonstrate the technology solution and create a business case for implementation within life operations. And in just six weeks, we were able to show that RPA could halve the cost of some existing processes, provide a significantly enhanced customer service and accelerate the delivery of change.
We helped Zurich use an agile approach to deliver the pilot into production within a further six weeks, and to continue to identify and implement new opportunities, releasing 25% capacity within the operational team. The success of this initial project spread rapidly across the business, with deployments across their general and life insurance businesses, and further projects planned.
A key success has been the creation of a federated robotic center of excellence staffed primarily from released operational staff, integrated closely with IT and business change teams. The center of excellence is itself a model for agile delivery within Zurich, delivering new automated processes on a two- to four-week release cycle. Find an overview of the full project here.
Our approach using unique accelerators and agile delivery methodologies has helped our clients, including Zurich, to develop and sustain robotics solutions that deliver cost savings and service improvements across countless processes.
But it isn’t all about ROI. Rather than representing a threat to the workforce, robots are best thought of as a complementary workforce, working hand-in-hand with people to help them improve their performance and focus their time on other, higher-priority tasks, strategy and innovation — as we saw with Zurich’s robotic center of excellence. Robotics is enabling people to work better, smarter and more creatively, expanding the art of the possible.