Prudential’s Digital Transformation: Lessons Learned Scaling RPA

By Andre Fuochi, Global Head of Communications

“Think big, start small, scale quickly.” This philosophy, shared by Ann Delmedico, Prudential’s Vice President of Intelligent Process Automation during Blue Prism’s November 2017 Blue Prism Café webinar, was the mantra behind the insurance giant’s approach to driving a digital transformation.

Delmedico shared with Café host Shail Khiyara and the 700+ webinar participants that in 2012, Prudential launched a program to transform its culture by having its businesses leverage best practices and gain efficiencies from working together. The culture shift of that transformation program helped the company’s RPA journey take off with a successful start.

The “think big, start small, scale quickly” concept was critical to Prudential’s ability to scale its highly successful process automation program. At the outset, it enabled the company to get to the heart of the “why” behind its adoption of RPA. Automating tasks that took human workers 10 minutes to complete, which can be accomplished with Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA) tools, was not of interest. Rather, Prudential was looking to establish a 100 percent “on” Digital Workforce through unattended automation, and develop a growing ecosystem of intelligent process automation tools and capabilities and hence chose Blue Prism.

Once it had its vision for intelligent automation, the concept allowed Delmedico to hand-select employees to work in the company’s new center of excellence. She emphasized the qualities she looked for including a willingness to take risks, ability to drive change, and, above all, passion for the vision and broader cultural transformation program that this new Digital Workforce would be the cornerstone for. All critical ingredients for successfully scaling their Digital Transformation.

How does one prioritize which processes to automate? Delmedico shares that it starts with “knowing your why”. The processes you pick to automate need to map to what your business and strategy are trying to accomplish. For example, while she consistently gets new suggestions on other processes that are great for RPA, she always evaluates them through the lens of – should they be automated? Existing RDA tools allow you to swiftly automate bad processes. Ann was diligent in that, if the processes don’t meet Prudential’s established return on investment threshold, they were not considered.

Tactical considerations are important, for example a process that has a digital input, is rules-based, has some volume to it, is repeatable, and may not change often due to compliance requirements.

Delmedico expands on this by sharing that the partner you work with is as important as the processes you start with. Qualities she looked for in an RPA provider were — responsiveness, enterprise grade platform, scalable and resiliency and a true RPA champion within Prudential.

“Because, at the end of the day, you’re going to make mistakes along the way, and the automated process may falter at some point. And you need a partner who is going to work with you through that until you figure all of that out.”

Several questions were covered during the Q&A session, for example, which processes has Prudential has moved to its Digital Workforce, what KPIs’ does Prudential use to measure the success of its RPA transformation program, and what mistakes were made along the way.

To learn more about Prudential’s RPA and intelligent automation journey, please listen to the webinar replay of Scaling RPA: Prudential’s Successful Journey.