Suncorp automated processes that ended up beforehand executed by a business enterprise method outsourcer in India soon after getting rid of its offshore workforce to COVID lockdowns in March.
Insurance plan automation delivery manager Vicky Leo explained to Automation Anywhere’s Visualize meeting that her workforce worked on various “fast, tactical limited-expression projects” to deal with the fallout from COVID-19.
Some of that operate enabled Suncorp to go on to perform despite getting rid of “the bulk” of its business enterprise method outsourcing (BPO), a scenario by no means envisioned in the company’s business enterprise continuity designs.
“Our business enterprise continuity scheduling at Suncorp by no means accounted for a BPO lover … located in India heading into lockdown due to a world wide pandemic,” Leo stated.
“We’d normally relied on currently being ready to shift operate from 1 spot in India to a different, so when we dropped the bulk of our offshore functions workforce in March, we experienced to act speedy and take it easy some of that stringent governance that we experienced in location to get stuff finished swiftly.
“In the earlier few weeks my workforce has been very active … automating all of that operate that we essential to do simply because we no for a longer period experienced a BPO accomplishing it for us.”
Leo’s workforce – and, in distinct 1 robotic method automation (RPA) developer – also put in a weekend standing up a bot to deal with the big quantity of monetary hardship and relief requests that Suncorp fielded from its customers as the impacts of COVID ended up felt.
“One of the factors that I love about Suncorp – and why I’ve worked for them for twelve yrs – is its speedy conclusion-generating when it arrives to assisting our customers in a time of need, and this came in the variety of top quality relief to our customers struggling monetary hardship due to COVID-19,” Leo stated.
“With this conclusion also came incredibly significant guide processing for our coverage functions space. We failed to have the labour pressure to method hundreds of relief requests coming by every single working day. And this is in which my workforce came in.”
Leo stated 1 of her senior developers – “who I will not likely name simply because there is a ton of poaching that goes on in this business, specially in Brisbane” – put in the whole Easter weekend standing up a robotic “to method hundreds of top quality relief transactions for our customers.”
“So when the client rang up to terminate simply because they’d been financially impacted by COVID, we presented them a twenty five percent lower price or a a few-thirty day period waiver for their coverage,” Leo stated.
“The actual processing of that – so the balancing of the coverage and the movement of the cash to our publish-off account – took about ten minutes for each transaction, and we ended up getting hundreds by just about every working day.
“We would have essential to obtain an excess at the very least ten folks to method the quantity coming by. [Rather] the robotic is now processing seventy five percent of individuals transactions, with the twenty five percent of exceptions heading to a human workforce to method.”
Automating six million transactions
In insurance, Suncorp started out screening robotic method automation (RPA) in late 2016 by way of a partnership with IBM, which built the automation in Blue Prism.
Leo stated the proof-of-idea automated “a relatively uncomplicated insurance coverage method in which the input was a listing of transactions in an Excel file from our motor dealer community that essential processing into our coverage mainframe.”
The project ran for a few months.
Although it realized “everything we experienced established out to carry out in terms of automation rate, we realised together the way that this was something we failed to want to rely on a lover for, and we produced the conclusion all the way back then that we preferred to build an inside capability,” Leo stated.
“Automation was completely something that we preferred to get seriously at the rear of – not just dip our toes into – and we could see the opportunity for our organisation from the start.”
At the beginning of 2017, Suncorp started out to spin up what would come to be Leo’s workforce.
“Structurally, the conclusion was produced to sit within just our functions department,” she stated.
“We understood that we would need to be closely aligned with our IT workforce but extra importantly we essential to sit in the business enterprise, as this was in which most of the option sat.
“Additionally, we borrowed a few of developers from our IT space, and I handpicked a few of folks from our business enterprise improvement workforce who I understood ended up method-minded and could method map to the ideal degree of depth we would need for RPA.”
The workforce put in six months recreating the proof-of-idea bot in Automation Wherever, together with a second bot, “while placing up what would come to be our methods of functioning, our governance framework, and our operating design.”
“The very first few processes we automated created sizeable potential savings, but extra importantly, and what we failed to realise at the time was, it halved the turnaround time for both the processes that we automated, and we lifted the high quality to a hundred percent,” Leo stated.
The workforce also put in various months building a pipeline of inside processes that could be automated.
“It was at this point in which we basically went to the Team [for cash].”
Hectic bot building 12 months
The 2018-eighteen monetary 12 months would go on to be a key 12 months for action on the automation entrance within just Suncorp’s insurance business enterprise.
“This was almost certainly 1 of the most difficult yrs of my vocation and I assume if we might stored up with that pace of delivery, I am not sure I’d even now be in the workforce, enable by yourself Suncorp,” Leo stated.
“But this was basically the 12 months that gave us most of our learnings. I am super happy that we managed to supply 22 exceptional processes in just less than eighteen months.”
One of the bots sent in that 12 months was ‘Ruby’, a employees compensation wage payment robotic.
“The challenge that we experienced with Ruby was we experienced a method that experienced been functionally aligned to our functions space,” Leo stated.
“The method was to pay out wounded employees a wage total weekly or fortnightly, and we essential to decrease the price of that method and lower the turnaround time simply because frequently they ended up getting for a longer period than … 24 hrs.”
Leo stated Suncorp preferred to be ready to operate the method outside the house of business enterprise hrs as very well.
When stood up, the bot automated ninety percent of wage payments, or so the workforce believed.
“Ruby logs into our statements method, just the way a human would, picks up things to do specifically from her very own queue, and she tends to make in between six and eight validations in advance of she basically tends to make the payments,” Leo stated.
“What we failed to realise was we believed we ended up automating ninety percent of individuals wage payments, but what we ended up basically automating was ninety percent of the wage payments that the statements handlers selected to send out to our functions space.
“It was only soon after six months that we realised that we ended up only getting about fifty percent of individuals payments, and it was soon after we automated that the statements handlers experienced extra religion in the robotic than they did in our human workforce to get payments compensated accurately on time, so we experienced to spin up a different bot to take care of the quantity coming by.
“We essentially doubled the total that we experienced established out to, within just six months of heading stay, which was a actually great accomplishment.”
Nowadays, Leo stated Suncorp remains centered on method and conclusion automation.
“We have automation teams in just about every of our traces of business enterprise: my workforce currently being the biggest in insurance, then we have a different 1 in [the] financial institution, 1 in New Zealand and then 1 to take care of group solutions,” she stated.
“We’ve automated – at previous depend – about six million transactions throughout the Team a 12 months, which is something that we are actually happy of.
“We’ve produced powerful progress in automation of back office processes but we have been a little bit slower in augmenting client-struggling with roles so that’s in which we are beginning to convert our focus to now – spending extra time in our call centres and that ‘human in the loop’ method.”
Not about ‘cost out’
Leo proposed from basing a business enterprise scenario for automation all around ‘cost out’ – that is, lowering personnel figures and thus labour costs.
“You will completely get [workforce] potential back, which you can release to lower costs which is a key driver of automation, but do not get hooked on generating this the sole concentrate,” she stated.
“Think about the factors you can do with the more potential: what processes do not you do nowadays that you could introduce to delight the client? What are the factors you place on the backburner simply because you have by no means experienced the potential to do them in advance of?”
That way of thinking also produced it easier to deploy the automations in the very first location.
“[It truly is] significantly easier to roll out adjust when culturally folks are psyched about what you might be accomplishing,” she stated.
“You’re supplying them potential back in their working day as opposed to threatening their positions.”
Also, Leo stated there ended up “less tangible benefits” to automation that really should not be minimised.
“A robotic is only heading to execute the measures it’s programmed to do, and it will not likely deviate from the method the way a human will,” she stated.
“This usually means a hundred percent high quality and regular processing every single time.
“There’s no rework, there is less complaints, there is no leakage, [and] there is no privacy breaches.
“Personally, I would consider all of these factors about price-out any working day.”