Co-operative Bank automates manual business processes with Blue Prism

Source: Blue Prism

The Co-operative Bank has today announced the completion of its business process automation project with Blue Prism Limited.

As part of its focus on continually improving the customer experience, the bank has automated ten, highly manual processes within its customer service centre operation. The automation project has resulted a significant number of FTEs (full time equivalent salaries) being moved away from time-consuming manual activities and into customer-facing roles. The bank has already recorded a significant return on investment and, subject to budget approval, plans to automate a number of additional processes in 2006.

The automated processes include, direct debit cancellation, account closure, CHAPS payments, foreign payments, audit reports, Internet applications and Card and Pin Pulls (to redirect cards to new addresses).

Business Systems Manager, Joanne Masters commented, "Until the first process was automated, we had our reservations that this system could fully automate such complex, manually intensive processes. The project has delivered more benefits than originally anticipated and we're delighted with what we have achieved so far with Blue Prism."

The business case for the project was to reduce the number of staff engaged in time-consuming, labour intensive processes and to move these staff into customer-facing roles. The business case was based on a reduction of FTEs over a 12 month period and the bank also set the goal of further enhancing customer service levels by improving the speed and accuracy of dealing with customer queries.

Joanne Masters explained, "We have exceeded our original target of FTE savings by 25 percent. So far, we have been able to release staff as soon as each process went live and the project has enabled us to move a significant number of staff away from manual roles and into customer facing positions. These savings will continue year on year as we will never have to replace the staff to manage those manual tasks. We've also seen a number of benefits that are harder to quantify. We're now able to resolve most customer queries with one phone call, our staff now spend more time dealing directly with customers and our Service Level Agreements can be maintained and guaranteed."

ROI has been rapid with each of the automated processes and each process has resulted in its own unique benefits.

Account closures are now processed automatically by the Blue Prism system with no manual intervention from staff. A process which, when performed manually, took 1 hour to close 12 accounts, can now close 200 accounts per hour.

Requests for company audits would take several hours for a small audit and several days for larger audits. With Blue Prism Automate, these now take 1 minute and 30 minutes respectively.

Internet applications are now keyed in by the customer, validated by Blue Prism Automate and automatically passed over to the bank's mainframe without further keying. The bank is now able to process 99% of internet applications on the day they are received and the system enables confirmation letters to be sent to the customer the following day.

Commenting on the successful completion of the project, Managing Director of Blue Prism, Alastair Bathgate said, "I'm delighted that the project has over-delivered in terms of ROI. Co-operative Bank has proved that off-shoring is not the only way to take costs out of manual processing. Business Process Automation delivers the cost savings but also actually improves customer service."

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