Reporter Hannah Kuchler shares details on how Blue Prism is revolutionizing back-office processes with its efficient, cost-effective software robots, and explains how the company is poised to disrupt the outsourcing industry.
Read the story here, or see the below for an excerpt.
Blue Prism, a UK-based company that works for the back office of customers including Barclays and the Co-operative Bank, sells a robot that looks just like automated software. What makes it a robot is that it fills in forms and uses computer systems just like a human, without any extra changes to the IT platform.
Alastair Bathgate, chief executive, says robots can be trained to do the work of tens of thousands of back office employees. Clients can still have a human answering the phone, but when they take down the details of someone’s lost credit card, for example, they can pass the form-filling to a robot.
“This is not about a load of P45s [the form given to UK workers when they lose their jobs]; it is about reallocating costs,” he says.
Robots, he adds, are not very good at apologising to customers, but are more accurate than humans at completing the paperwork. “They cannot replicate empathy, human intelligence, sympathy, creativity or entrepreneurialism, but they can carry out humdrum activities.”
…Ian Barkin, global head of innovation at the company’s Sutherland Innovation Labs, says that, whereas it can save between 20 and 40 per cent by shifting work to a developing economy, it can reduce costs by up to 70 per cent if it uses robots that do not need to be paid at all…
Sutherland Global Services, based in Rochester, New York, uses a “robot” – in the form of automation software – from Blue Prism, a UK-based company, to complete tasks involving high volumes of structured data, such as accounts payable and receivable, order management and some HR functions.
Mr Barkin says that, as well as the cost savings, using a robot speeds up auditing and gives companies a better understanding of what tasks take the most time. And, if disaster strikes, computers elsewhere can be brought into play, rather than having a whole office out of action.
But he warns that while Blue Prism’s robots can be instructed to use computer systems quickly and easily, companies need to make sure they are trained very carefully. “If there’s some shoddy training for employees it is a bit of a mishap, but if a miscoded robot is scaled across many robots, it is very efficient at creating havoc.”