London — December 5, 2019 — The first Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software has officially gone live at the UK’s leading learning disability charity, Mencap, signifying an entirely new way of working between business and the non-profit sector. This unique partnership highlights how Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), with the help of Blue Prism, is deploying private-sector technological capabilities and innovative solutions in a completely different way to support Mencap.
This software, which overlays and interfaces with incumbent applications, is being successfully used at Mencap to help automate the daily transition of data from excel spreadsheets to Resource Link, the charity’s HR platform. Employees are then able to maximise their time on the most productive, value-added tasks during the working day.
It is now hoped that this innovative way of working, which was born out of a conversation between old friends, Vince Gratrick, IT Director at Mencap and Richard Cook, Head of Core Quant Programmes and Projects at RBC, can be adopted across the charity sector to keep skilled resources on priority tasks.
Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live the life they want to. The charity employs around 8,000 people and works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Organising that effort nationwide is a huge operational challenge, especially as systems and processes have become more complex.
RBC’s Global Markets Robotics team were one of the earliest adopters of robotics technology across the entire Capital Markets industry. While RPA is primarily viewed as a way to lower costs, the team at RBC view it as part of an augmentation strategy; the digital workers are there to help not replace. They’ve seen significant successes internally by identifying time-consuming and repetitive tasks that could be made more efficient with the input of robotics software in multiple business lines including FX, Repos, Interest Rate Derivative processing and Corporate Broking.
There were obvious parallels between how RBC was using this software to improve the efficiency of handling routine tasks and how this could help Mencap employees in their work. While the focus of Corporate Social Responsibility programmes can sometimes be more on volunteering initiatives and employees providing their time, this partnership allows the charity to capitalise on RBC’s in-house resources and capabilities around RPA to empower employees in their work.
Alex Davies, Director at RBC, and Jeff Howarth, Lead Robotics Developer at RBC, helped Mencap create a Proof of Concept to illustrate the solution’s full potential to Mencap. “Robotics is all about augmenting people’s roles in organisations and ensuring that precious resources aren’t impacted by repetitive tasks”, Alex said. “We’re delighted to see that the agile solutions we continue building for clients internally are showing equally positive impacts among community partners like Mencap. RBC is committed to its communities and philanthropic activities, but this project demonstrates a totally new way for us and for other commercial enterprises to partner with charities. We also believe that a partnership between a bank and a charity to deliver RPA is a UK first.”
Vince Gratrick, IT Director for Mencap, said: “All charities need to look at ways of making sure the work they do and the money they spend on front line and back-office functions is focused on their central cause. Mencap is no different - helping people with a learning disability is at the heart of what we do. This innovative software will help our staff be more efficient and focus on priorities which support people with a learning disability.
Blue Prism has been serving the financial and non-financial sectors for over 15 years, but this project gave them an opportunity to bring their unique technology to benefit the charity sector too.
Matt Juden-Bloomfield, Head of RPA & Global For Good Lead at Blue Prism said: “We’re really proud to be involved in this opportunity and excited to help Mencap leverage our market leading connected RPA product, in order to help them unleash the human potential within their business, by freeing up precious hours and resources in a critical area of the charity, HR. We are now tailoring a non-profit offering off the back of this pilot to help other charities realise the benefits of RPA.”
Blue Prism’s board has approved to pilot a non-profit strategy that will see firms helping charities to harness the promise of robotics, an exciting future outlook for the charity sector.
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 86,000+ employees who bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to more than 16 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.
We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at rbc.com/community-sustainability.
There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want. To find out more visit www.mencap.org.uk.
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