Learnings from Capita’s automation project


Digital government comes of age

By: Ian Price

Capita has made no secret of its commitment to automation. We’ve been public in our declarations of the benefits this automation project can bring, and the challenges of managing one of Britain’s most ambitious projects. Our adoption of ServiceNow is enabling us to design, build and launch new automation projects quickly and effectively. This is helping our customers, as well as boosting staff morale.

And we feel we’re making good progress. To date, we’ve implemented automation solutions for our businesses operating in industries including insurance, finance, travel, workplace services, health and local government. In one week, the ServiceNow platform supported 61,000 transactions. 

 

Identify and automate repetitive, high-volume tasks

Tasked with automating our diverse organisation, Capita’s Automation Practice was set up in Birmingham in 2019. The practice delivers a complete automation-as-a-service solution. It handles everything from identifying automation opportunities right across Capita, to development and ongoing support. 

A lot of our work is about managing processes. The promise of automation is lower cost, fewer human errors, and service consistency. It also allows us to take on extra work with no addition to headcount, and to move teams to higher-value service tasks.

I’m aware of how cliched the term ‘transformational’ is, but I truly believe we can revolutionize how services are delivered to Capita customers.

 

Digital service desk as the first line of support

Capita’s Automation Platform is designed for the development and operation of hyper automation at scale, with support for the platform built on ServiceNow®.

We’ve built an entirely digital service desk to provide first-line support. It’s built on ServiceNow Customer Support Management Pro, IT Service Management and IT Business Management. All queries are handled by bots, with human engineers alerted when required. This matches the strategic goal: automation for repetitive tasks, humans for value-add. 

Importantly for the ‘as-a-Service’ model, the solution also includes Process Heartbeat. This gives us real-time metrics, allowing us to monitor how the process is running. We can also open up this functionality to our customers where we can make small changes to the platform, to assess how they’re working, optimize, and move on. 

This is key. We’re aware that the platform must continue to evolve, and we believe the next three or four iterations will be really important for us and for our customers. 

What I like about the ServiceNow platform is it has integrity. We see a clear schedule of upgrades and more features to unlock. This gives me the confidence that we can grow and be consistent.

 

Driving ongoing improvement through an ‘as-a-service’ model 

We didn’t want to force automation where it is not wanted or deploy automation in teams and leave them to it. For automation to succeed we need acceptance and engagement from users. Our aim is to create ‘automation-as-a-service’: an end-to-end solution, from idea to development, implementation and support.

This allows the customer, and Capita, to constantly explore new ways of managing the service. We believe this approach will allow us to bring automation to life.

I am certain this is the right time for automation. Business wants to find the next level of efficiency. There is broad industry consensus that repetitive tasks are best done by robots and virtual assistants. 

We expect the current Covid-19 pandemic to accelerate our customers’ automation plans. Now is not the time to press pause on these projects. By automating high-volume tasks, we can help teams avoid being overwhelmed.

 

The right mindset to succeed

Automation is a strategic imperative for Capita. The expectation is that automation will be taken up by every one of Capita’s businesses by the end of 2020. We’re continually working to identify processes ripe for automation. 

It would be easy to be daunted by the size of this task, but I believe we have the right mindset to succeed. We recognize the importance of established standards and collaborative partnerships with suppliers. Strong relationships can accelerate the project and enhance our expertise. 

To hear more about this and our other customer stories please register for Now at Work.

Ian Price is head of automation service & support at Capita.

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