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So far Holly Nicholson has created 27 blog entries.

Smart Automation Webinar Series: AI/Cognitive

We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting another webinar in our Smart Automation series on 23rd February 2017. This time we we will be discussing AI and Cognitive and will be joined by guest speakers from:

  • Slaughter and May
  • IPsoft
  • Celaton

You can register to dial in now by clicking here

For more information please contact Holly Nicholson

2017-01-31T11:55:45+00:00 January 31st, 2017|

Aecus RPA Webinar Recording

On 26th January 2017 Aecus Partner Paul Morrison hosted a webinar on RPA Platforms. Paul was joined by guest speakers:

  • Guy Kirkwood – COO – UiPath
  • James Dening – VP Europe – Automation Anywhere
  • Pat Geary – CMO – Blue Prism
  • Rob Sumroy – Slaughter and May

If you were unable to join the call and would like to learn more, you can listen to the event on demand by clicking here.

We are hosting the next in the Smart Automation series on 23rd February which will discuss AI and Cognitive with guest speakers from IPsoft, Celaton and Slaughter and May.

You can register for this event by clicking here

For more information please contact Holly Nicholson

2017-01-31T11:43:11+00:00 January 31st, 2017|

Aecus Supplier Forum 2017 – Agenda Confirmed

Aecus are hosting our fifth annual Supplier Forum and would really value your participation. This event is one not to miss: we will be sharing our knowledge and facilitating debate on key issues driving the outsourcing industry.

The formal event begins with a networking lunch at 12.00pm. Before that we have reserved time for optional 1:1 meetings with our team, starting at 9.00am, you can view the full agenda below.

Building on the success of previous years we will once again facilitate a Legal Panel, consisting of leading outsourcing lawyers, and a Client Panel, with senior client outsourcing executives sharing their views on the market. The members of the panels will be announced shortly.

This year we will be focusing on the following topics and will discuss them in detail in our workshops:

1. BPO in the age of automation – the death of offshoring?
2. Renegotiation/renewal in a mature outsourcing market
3. Consumerisation of IT and the future of ITO
4. RPA and cognitive platforms – hype v reality and role of the outsourcer


09.00 – 12.00 Meet the Consultants
12.00 – 12.45 Lunch
12.45 – 13.15 Welcome and Aecus Market Update
13.15 – 14.45 Workshops
14.45 – 15.15 Coffee Break
15.15 – 16.00 Legal Panel
16.00 – 17.15 Client Panel
17.15 – 17.30 Aecus Close
17.30 – 19.00 Networking Drinks and Canapés

This event is for the outsourcing supplier community. To reserve your place please contact Holly Nicholson. There will be a charge per delegate (£500 for one, £900 for two or £1200 for three).

We will also be offering delegates a ticket to ride the Emirates AirLine and a complimentary pass to explore The Crystal’s exhibition about our urban future.

We look forward to seeing you there!

2017-01-11T15:06:53+00:00 January 11th, 2017|

Aecus on Smart Automation Webinar Series

Over the next couple of months, Aecus will be hosting a series of Smart Automation webinars with leading industry figures. The first debate will discuss Robotic Process Automation platforms and will take place in January:

1. RPA Platforms – Thursday 26th January 2017
– 12.00 – 13.00 (GMT)

Speakers from:

– Slaughter & May
– be informed
– UiPath
– BluePrism
– Automation Anywhere

Register here

The second in the series will take place in February:

2. Smarter Automation – AI and Cognitive – Thursday 23rd February 2017 – 12.00 – 13.00 (GMT)

Speakers From:

– Slaughter & May
– Celaton

Register here

2017-01-04T12:01:56+00:00 January 4th, 2017|

Aecus Supplier Forum 2017

9th March 2017

The Crystal

1 Siemens Brothers Way,

Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1GB

Aecus are hosting our fifth annual Supplier Forum and would really value your participation – please save the date. This event is one not to miss: we will be sharing our knowledge and facilitating debate on key issues driving the outsourcing industry We will have client, legal and advisory panels and offer lots of networking opportunities throughout the event. We will confirm the full agenda in the next few weeks.

The day will run from 11.00am – 17.30pm followed by networking drinks. We are also offering a complimentary ticket to ride the Emirates AirLine cable car and full access to the museum at The Crystal on the day.

This event is for the outsourcing supplier community. To reserve your place please contact Holly Nicholson. There will be a charge per delegate (£500 for one, £900 for two or £1200 for three).

More information to follow…Watch this space!

2016-12-14T09:13:55+00:00 December 14th, 2016|

Are you getting best value from your shared services organisation or outsourcing partners?

Are you getting best value from your shared services organisation or outsourcing partners? See how Aecus’ Value Assurance and Benchmarking Services can help your business deliver better results.

Our approach is different to more traditional ‘external consultant’ report processes and outputs – our engagements are typically co-instructed and co-funded, are focused on getting to the emotional heart of and behavioural drivers that exist within the relationship, and are centred on collaboration and mutual dialogue.

Click here to find out more or email Holly Nicholson

2016-12-14T09:18:15+00:00 December 14th, 2016|

Have you heard about Aecus Interims?

The Aecus Interims service aims to fulfil your needs for experienced, “known quantity” interims to take on key line roles in the business services domains that Aecus is known and respected for: outsourcing, shared services and automation.

If you are running a major project in outsourcing, shared services or automation, we can find the right resource to meet your needs for transition, transformation and project management from our extensive database & network of proven professionals, backed up with our tools & accelerators.

To find out more please click here or email Sean Breen.

2016-12-14T09:54:06+00:00 December 14th, 2016|

Aecus Innovation Webinar Download

On November 17 2016 Aecus held a webinar to discuss the success stories of our 2016 Aecus Innovation Awards. Aecus Partner and Innovation lead was joined by award winning guest speakers from NTT Data Services, Darty and UiPath and led an interesting and engaging session on the topic of innovation in outsourcing. If you were unable to join the webinar and would like to hear what was discussed you can download the media file by clicking here.

2016-12-14T11:01:56+00:00 December 8th, 2016|

Live Wires #10: Climbing the RPA learning curve

Thus far our quest for robotic process automation (RPA) enlightenment has focused on some of the personalities building this emerging industry – from software providers, outsourcers and implementers. Alex Nield is Head of Solution Design for Business Services at Direct Line Group (DLG), and he represents the most important constituency in RPA-land: the small but growing cadre of ‘RPA buyers’. These are the organisations that have actually turned to RPA to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. It is time for Live Wires to get real.

As a leading UK insurer, DLG has faced many of the challenges confronting other fast-growing corporates: how do we do more with less? How do we make our people more productive? How do we make our systems work together? How do we make our customer interactions as good as they possibly can be?

All big questions, and in mid-2015, Alex and his colleagues picked up on some of the promises that were emerging around RPA at that time, seeing it as a potential tool in the ongoing fight for improvement and transformation. Initial questions on “what is RPA?” grew into an appetite to dig deeper, and by the end of 2015 DLG launched of a Proof of Concept to kick the tyres of RPA. A lot has been learnt in the meantime, and happily Alex is still here to tell the tale.

Direct Line’s initial RPA work has focused primarily on finance, front office and customer-intensive processes, interfacing with a wide range of mainframe, Java and core ops systems. Initial prototypes were promising: “When we plugged RPA in it did work – we were quickly able to show off initial demos.” This created quite a buzz, validating the sort of productivity savings RPA software vendors have been proclaiming (with robots 5-10 times more productive than manual processing). This enabled the team to secure funding for a wider RPA rollout, to see what could be achieved over a one-year period.

But moving from Proof of Concepts to larger, live implementation, Alex’s team quickly encountered a key robotics learning: to make real progress with RPA you need to get into a lot of detail. “The idea that you rock up and bash out a process is not quite right. You need far more rigour, structure and interest. The devil is in the detail.” Proofs of Concepts do require a moderate level of detail; but live implementations need to be enterprise-grade projects, so the robot can handle mission-critical client and operational data in line with the right process, rules and rigour – for all possible scenarios.

In short, although robotisation is a simple concept, when going live you need to get it right: the last thing you need is a robot incorrectly entering data into systems at 100 records per minute. So for DLG it took longer than expected to pin down the full process flows and business rules to be automated. Alex sees this as an important reality check for those embarking on RPA. “Robotics is sold as a super-quick implementation, but I don’t think that is necessarily true. The reality is that RPA is usually bespoke, requiring significant development.”

RPA is all about logic, so it is simplest to deploy where the work to be automated is clear, based on digital data feeds, and rule-bound. But the reality is that processes are fragmented, poorly documented and riddled with hidden tacit knowledge. “RPA as a technology works at a very granular level. And insurance can be quite a fragmented process. Rather than having 100 people working on a single activity, you have two people working on 50 processes, so it is not easy to target large opportunities all the time. Plus you have multiple brands and multiple products.” A single activity could have 40 or more different logic routes. All of this means that RPA implementation teams need to wrestle with a lot of detail. “RPA is good, it’s neat and it works, but the investment for build, design and signoff is not to be underestimated.”

The bulk of implementation work, rather than lying purely in the configuration of the robot tool itself, resides in process analysis and customer interaction. Legacy process maps might make the job easier, but rarely do they provide all of the detail. Plus there is the task of change management. RPA may take longer than some might expect, but it is still significantly faster than traditional technology projects – meaning that change management, above all the first time round, needs to be handled expertly. The right stakeholders, including the business and IT, need to be actively engaged, so that the robot programme can take root quickly.

But despite the difficulties, there is cause for long-term optimism. DLG’s experience represents a very typical learning curve, in which an organisation deploys a new technology for the first time, validates its suitability, learns about what it can and can’t do, and understands the organisational capabilities that are needed. This means that mistakes can be avoided in future iterations. And each RPA project generates components that can be reused or recycled in later implementations. “RPA is a journey and experience makes it easier next time. The most effort is at the start. Then your returns per process increase in each project.”

Above all DLG is achieving what it set out to do with RPA: automating labour-intensive processes, achieving savings, and freeing up talent to work where it adds most value. RPA for them is not and was never seen as a panacea, but “the benefits are real. Of course it is about cost savings to a large degree. But it is also about business transformation. We are using automation to achieve outcomes like customer satisfaction, front-end digitisation, and generating new business.”

So what does the future look like? Will the robot estate gradually spread across the entire organisation? For Alex, RPA will be an important feature of the future landscape, but not the only one. “RPA is not the solution itself, it is part of a suite of solutions you might deploy.” Artificial intelligence may be on the automation menu at some stage, but at present the main courses are more familiar dishes such as self-service, multi-channel platforms, ERP and process re-engineering.

So the automation momentum is building at DLG, with plans to ramp up RPA in the months ahead. Are there things Alex will do differently next time? Regrets perhaps – but too few to mention. “There are things I would do differently. But when it works well, RPA is a like a hot knife through butter. My advice is to get going, and park the hype.”

Paul Morrison leads the Robotics/Smart Automation Advisory and Implementation Practice at Aecus. Follow him on Twitter at @MorrisonPaul1 and at www.aecus.com

Article posted on Outsource Magazine

2016-12-07T14:44:18+00:00 December 7th, 2016|