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GSA UK Awards shortlist announcement
The Global Sourcing Association is delighted to announce the 2018 GSA UK Awards shortlist. Winners will be announced on Thursday 22nd November 2018 at the Marriot London Grosvenor Square.
The GSA UK Awards now in its fifteenth year recognises and celebrates the efforts of companies who have demonstrated exceptional innovation and best practice in their sourcing.
Global Sourcing Association CEO, Kerry Hallard said:
“The calibre of submissions gets better every single year. As the industry undergoes it’s reshaping it is inspiring to see the incredible work that happens in so many organisations in the UK and around the globe. Those shortlisted should be very proud of what they have achieved.”
The Shortlist in Full:
Utilities Project of the Year
Scottish Water, Vision Consulting, Burnt Oak Partners and DLA Piper
DDC Outsourcing Solutions
Telecommunications Project of the Year
Webhelp (Sky Mobile Sales)
Financial Services Project of the Year
Prudential PLC, Deloitte and Ashurst LLP
Public Sector Project of the Year
Thoughtonomy and NHS
International Project of the Year
Webhelp South Africa
Best Contribution to the Reputation of Strategic Sourcing
Concentrix – Submission 1
Concentrix – Submission 2
Business Services Project of the Year
Three UK & Tech Mahindra Business Services Ltd.
GEP – Submission 1
Technology-enabled Project of the Year
British America Tobacco & Miratech
Innovation Project of the Year
Transformation Project of the Year
WNS and Oxygen
GEP – Submission 2
GEP – Submission 4
TCS and Npower
Automation Project of the Year
Lloyds Banking Group with Symphony
Transition Project of the Year
CDS and Metropolitan Police Service
Excellence in Partnership
Three UK and Tech Mahindra
EE & Infosys BPM
Excellence in Collaboration
Law/Advisory Firm of the Year
Slaughter and May
Customer Experience Provider of the Year
Service Provider of the Year
Sourcing Works – Award for Value Creation
UK Employer of the Year
About the GSA:
The Global Sourcing Association is the industry association and professional body for the global sourcing industry, and the home of the Global Sourcing Standard, a world first for the provision of a portfolio of best practice methodologies and accreditation programmes supported by both buyers and suppliers of sourcing. The GSA is a not-for-profit membership association with fully licensed, affiliate and associate members, and serves to share best practice, trends and connections across the globe. The Global Sourcing association has a presence across the globe and provides guidance in economies such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Egypt, China, India and the United States.
Contact Debbie Mackay: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerry Hallard, President of the Global Sourcing Association and CEO of the GSA UK is available for interview – please contact Debbie Mackay
Consumers’ expectations have never been higher - the average contact center must support nine different communications channels – from post to phone, email and social media – and a seamless, 24/7 level of support is becoming the norm.
Providing this will require a new set of skills for customer service teams, as well as a growing level of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as brands seek to deliver consistently excellent customer service to more customers across more channels.
Our latest report, Customer Service in 2027, predicts that in 10 years’ time 45 per cent of customer interactions could be automated.
Meeting expectations with automation
Here are three key ways that automation will transform the customer experience over the next 10 years.
Firstly, advances in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will mean that high-volume tasks will no longer need to be performed by a human, such as entering new customer information generated during a web chat into customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
These processes are repetitive and rule-based, so can easily be completed by RPA, and they can play a big part in making a more integrated customer service possible, freeing up staff to focus on more complex customer-facing tasks.
Secondly, AI can be used to process more complex data, powering self-service channels that can extract key information from customers, either by text or voice, and provide answers to frequently-asked questions.
That should mean shorter waiting times for customers to get the information they need and fewer basic queries for customer service teams, who can focus on more complex customer issues.
AI can also help build more detailed customer profiles to inform proactive product or service recommendations.
The third key role for automation will ultimately see the customer cut out of the process altogether.
The advance of the Internet of Things (IoT) will see connected products from fridges to cars communicating directly with contact centers without the need for any human interaction
In fact, our report predicts that by 2027 up to 60 per cent of the volume of interactions could be made up of automated communications between smart devices.
Retaining the human touch
It’s easy to see how, in 10 years’ time, automated systems will be at the heart of contact center operations, but this doesn’t mean they will replace human representatives.
We actually forecast customer service staff numbers to rise over the next decade, as the level of automation is offset by increasing volumes of customer interactions.
But these roles will ask more of agents as customers will only be speaking to a person if their enquiry can’t be resolved by an automated process.
This means employing representatives with a higher level of problem-solving skills as the role shifts towards dealing with more complex customer issues. And it will impact on recruitment and training in the sector, with constructive coaching to upskill existing staff.
We will also see a greater demand for new roles such as designers, data scientists, consultants and solution architects, who will help to implement and manage new automated technologies and ensure that they truly compliment representatives’ skills and deliver a seamless service.
So, while it’s easy to see how automation will have a huge impact on customer service over the next decade, the sector will never lose the human touch.
Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated (“SYKES” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: SYKE), a leading provider of multichannel demand generation and global customer engagement services, announced yesterday it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Symphony Ventures Limited, or “Symphony”, the leading global pure-play and best-of-breed provider of RPA services. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in London, UK, Symphony is a premier provider to blue chip clients, offering RPA consulting, implementation, hosting and managed services. Approximately 200 people strong, Symphony has one of the largest independent global teams of Intelligent Automation experts. With a proven track record of success in automating thousands of front, middle and back-office processes at marquee brands, Symphony serves numerous industries globally, including financial services, healthcare, business services, manufacturing, consumer products, communications, media and entertainment. Symphony holds partnerships with leading RPA software vendors, including Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, NICE, Thoughtonomy, and UiPath and has grown roughly four-fold since fiscal year 2016.
The strategic rationale for the Symphony acquisition is compelling as it:
Definitively positions SYKES as an early mover and a clear leader amongst its peers in its ability to support clients’ RPA and IA initiatives globally across all facets of their business operations while enabling it to tap into an adjacent market estimated to be $8.1 billion growing at a roughly 30% compound annual growth rate;
Further enhances SYKES’ service portfolio and creates additional differentiation in its go-to-market strategy to penetrate new clients and verticals and increase wallet share within existing clients;
Enables SYKES to drive innovation in transaction workflow streams in order to enhance agent productivity and drive greater agent satisfaction given the current labor backdrop while helping to navigate long-term labor and demographic headwinds; and
Complements machine learning capabilities from XSELL Technologies that are tied to digital sales with Symphony’s capabilities tied to enhancing customer service thus optimizing the whole customer life cycle journey and management.
President & Chief Executive Officer Chuck Sykes commented, “The acquisition of Symphony is another significant step in building our company’s capabilities to succeed as the digital revolution continues to transform our clients’ businesses, their customer service needs, and by extension, the customer support industry. Combining the power of RPA with human ingenuity enables us to help our clients modernize, optimize and integrate key components of their digital operations to significantly improve their business, as well as improve their customers’ life cycle journey experience. The world of intelligent automation systems is approaching a tipping point, and we’re excited to be able to participate in this new technological advancement in a meaningful way. In that regard, I want to congratulate the Symphony team on their accomplishment of building a leading global brand in this new and exciting field and welcome them to the SYKES family.”
Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, the Company will pay a cash purchase price of approximately £52 million, or $69 million at pound-dollar exchange rate of £1-to-$1.32, for 100% ownership of Symphony Ventures Limited, which is expected to be funded through a combination of cash on hand and the Company’s credit facility. The purchase price is approximately 2.0x 2019 projected revenues. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close on or about November 1, 2018. Symphony, through its innovative practices, has developed a well-recognized brand in the industry, which it is expected to retain post acquisition. The management team will remain in place after the transaction closes and will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the business.
Chief Executive Officer of Symphony Ventures Limited, David Poole, stated, “Symphony has rapidly grown over the past four years to become the digital operations partner of choice for numerous enterprise clients looking to implement RPA and IA solutions. This growth has been due to the efforts of our highly trained and experienced team that take a process first approach to digital transformation to ensure we deliver top notch quality each and every time. Both SYKES and Symphony are innovative pioneers dedicated to improving customer and client experience. By joining the SYKES family, Symphony will be able to realize the next chapter of our vision to orchestrate the world’s work and drive value for our clients and employees.”
Results International Group, LLP served as a sole financial advisor to Symphony Ventures Limited on the transaction. Symphony Ventures Limited was also advised by Acresis. Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP served as SYKES’ legal advisor, while Withers LLP served as Symphony Ventures Limited’s legal advisor. London headquartered Livingbridge, an investor in Symphony Ventures Limited, is a mid-market multi-sector-focused private equity firm.
Across a multitude of sectors, service providers are facing increased competition and regulatory pressures, with the aim of driving higher levels of customer satisfaction. In finance, the new open banking initiative, introduced by the UK Government, has resulted in a shift towards increased customer transparency, encouraging competition into a market that was previously closed to all but the largest of entrants.
Meanwhile, Energy UK announced that more than 5.5 million energy customers switched electricity supplier during 2017. In addition, the regulator, Ofgem, is capping the price of standard variable (SVT) and default tariffs and encouraging customers to shop around for better deals. Therefore, the key question for service providers across sectors is how to attract new customers and retain current ones in an increasingly competitive and regulated marketplace?
The place to start is around customer interaction and communication, which is key to meeting the expectations of discerning customers. However, regular service rankings and complaints data issued by regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Ofgem and Ofwat, all serve to demonstrate the scale of the challenge when it comes to customer engagement.
Providers must ensure a high standard of quality assurance when handling customer interactions in the first instance, reducing the number and complexity of complaints that often result in unnecessary costs or damage to reputation. Effective customer contact is a crucial opportunity to improve satisfaction and retention levels, while simultaneously attracting new customers who are seeking a better level of service. Often, working with an external partner to deliver these outcomes ensures an objective assessment of areas for improvement and focus.
In addition, putting effective contingency plans in place for sudden and unforeseen spikes in customer queries and complaints should be an important part of a service provider’s preparation. For instance, the surges in complaints Ofwat received as a result of the ‘Beast from the East’ and the summer heatwave, should act as a wake-up call for water firms to prepare for more extreme instances of weather and the customer interactions that will ultimately follow.
Turning to the world of retail banking, app-based challenger banks have demonstrated that customer service teams can be available immediately at customers’ fingertips, and traditional banks need to keep up with this digitised, customer-first approach. It is imperative service providers embrace technological solutions and operational improvements to better handle customer complaints, resulting in an enhanced, streamlined experience. Complaints are raw, direct interactions with customers and should be treated as valuable sources of information about business services and processes, highlighting potential trends to learn from and address.
All firms should routinely review complaint paths to analyse the causes, not just the symptoms, and identify any particular business processes that may be causing problems. It is essential to have sufficiently granular management information (MI) on the complaint caseload to be able to address systemic issues. Where there are particularly high levels of complexity in complaints – for example, challenges around vulnerable customers – it’s important to consider putting in place new processes and experienced teams to focus on effectively finding an appropriate resolution, while upskilling and training existing teams to ensure they are prepared for future issues.
In addition, the correct outsourcing partner can deliver collaborative expertise when a company needs it most. A high-quality provider should offer effective root cause analysis (RCA), which allows companies to identify problem products and services that may be driving complaints. By fixing problems internally and creating an environment in which issues are identified and rectified before they escalate, firms are able to look beyond symptoms and see genuine improvements in business performance and for customers.
Switching providers is easy and encouraged, but service providers must cut through the noise and differentiate themselves from the competition by providing a positive customer experience, which is something increasingly sought by consumers. It is time to take stock and reassess how customers and their complaints are dealt with, treating each one as an opportunity to build brand loyalty and improve consumer retention.
Huntswood can relieve the pressure of handling large volumes of complaints and other forms of inbound customer contact and provide its clients with a wide range of services that deliver good customer outcomes and business efficiencies.
London, 8 October 2018: Working with Thoughtonomy, ESNEFT has cut the time taken to process the first stage of each GP referral from 15-20 minutes down to five minutes. The program will eliminate the need for staff to spend more than 100 hours a week processing paperwork and instead ensures referrals are actioned 24/7.
The intelligent automation program, which has been running since July 2018, is the first of its kind within the NHS and is initially being deployed in five specialist clinical units – Neurology, Cardiology, Urology, Nephrology and Haematology. Within the first 3 months, the Trust released more than 500 hours of medical secretaries’ time and estimates it will also save £220,000 in associated direct costs by July 2019.
Darren Atkins, Deputy Director of ICT at ESNEFT, said: “We’re delighted with the results we’ve realized so far and are hugely excited about the potential benefits of automating more processes across our Trust. When you look at the time and cost savings we’ve already banked within just one specific area of our operations, you start to get an idea of how intelligent automation can drive transformation on a huge scale within the NHS.”
Using the Thoughtonomy Virtual Workforce® platform, three virtual workers at Ipswich Hospital actively monitor incoming referrals from the national GP Electronic Referral Service (eRS) in real-time, 24 hours a day. As soon as a referral is received, the virtual worker reads the content and extracts the reason for referral. It retrieves all relevant referral data and supporting clinical information such as scan and blood test results from disparate sources, before merging everything into a single pdf document. The virtual worker then uploads the document into the Trust’s administrative systems using highly secure smart card technology and alerts the lead consultant that the referral is ready for review and grading.
Prior to the automation program, medical secretaries were responsible for processing referrals manually, downloading and printing documents, which they then scanned into a new document. In a large Trust such as ESNEFT, which deals with around 2,000 referrals per week, this was a huge drain on medical secretaries’ time.
According to the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), automation could save the NHS up to £12.5bn a year, the equivalent of 10% of its annual budget. In addition, it is estimated that a further £6bn could be saved through automation in social care. The recent Darzi Review of Health and Care called on healthcare bodies to ‘embrace full automation to release time to care’ as part of a 10 Point Plan to future-proof health and care services in the UK.
Terry Walby, CEO & Founder of Thoughtonomy, said: “Intelligent Automation has a massive role to play in streamlining time-consuming and inefficient processes across the NHS. By absorbing a wide range of time-intensive, repetitive tasks, we can unburden staff from administration and allow them, instead, to focus on delivering the excellent quality of care upon which we all rely. We’re delighted to be working with forward-thinking NHS Trusts, such as ESNEFT, who are championing the use of AI and automation technology in order to deliver real benefits to hardworking frontline staff while reducing costs. This, in turn, translates into a better patient experience for all.”
Frontline staff at ESNEFT have welcomed the new automated process. Dr Petr Pokorny, a Staff Grade Neurologist, said: “It allows for a more efficient, fluent flow of work, as it’s easier to deal with five new referrals every morning rather than a huge pile of 35 referrals once a week. What’s more, we now have our medical secretaries fully focused on the things that make a real difference to our staff and patients.”
The new automated referral process supports ESNEFT’s obligations under the Standard Contract for 2018/19 to process all referrals via the Electronic Referral Service (eRS), and to optimize its operations in line with the Paper Switch Off program, which comes into force on 1st October 2018.
Thoughtonomy enables organizations to enhance the productivity of their workforce through the intelligent automation and digitization of knowledge work. It uses AI and robotic process automation software to emulate how people work, allowing companies to add flexible resources to their team without disruption and rapid ROI.
Bangalore, India, London and Sheffield, United Kingdom – September 21, 2018: Wipro Limited, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company, today announced partnerships with two leading UK academic institutions – King’s College London and Sheffield Hallam University, for strengthening STEM education in state schools in the United Kingdom.
Wipro will partner with King’s College London, to support the development of the first Master of Arts in STEM Education in the UK, and Sheffield Hallam University to offer the ‘Wipro Teacher Fellowship’ and ‘Wipro Teacher Mentor’ programmes. Both initiatives aim to provide high quality continuing professional development to early and mid-career educators, to address the shortfall and high turnover of STEM teachers in the UK.
Wipro will support King’s College London in developing the curriculum for a proposed Master of Arts in STEM education course, which will take a blended learning approach, involving face-to-face as well as online learning. The company will also offer bursaries to cover up to 80% of tuition fees, to ensure accessibility of the course for diverse cohorts of in-service teachers and educators from within and outside London. There will be a strong focus on attracting teachers from Opportunity Areas. Wipro will also support Sheffield Hallam University to launch and run the ‘Wipro Teacher Fellowship’ and ‘Wipro Teacher Mentor’ programmes. The 18-months programmes, which will commence in January 2019, and will support early career teachers of STEM subjects and STEM teacher mentors from schools in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster and Derbyshire.
Both partnerships will address crucial issues in the UK by generating more interest in STEM subjects, developing higher standards of teaching, and investing in teacher retention, especially in the national ‘social mobility cold spots’.
London, UK and Boulder, Colorado: Eggplant, the provider of user-centric, intelligent testing and performance solutions, has released Eggplant RPA: an intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution, harnessing Eggplant’s unique and patented Digital Automation Intelligence (DAI) capabilities.
DAI was designed initially for test automation, however it has evolved into something that can automate anything a person can do, including intelligently understanding and acting on screen images and text and driving any application through keyboard and mouse inputs. Eggplant’s unique automation technology is already widely used for RPA use cases across a variety of industry sectors. These use cases range from database migration and audit trails for federal organizations, to security patches for hospital servers, to marketing automation. Eggplant has also used RPA to convert and migrate over 500,000 files for a document management platform, speeding up processes and reducing mundane, repetitive tasks for employees without the risk of human error during manual entry.
Antony Edwards, CTO of Eggplant commented “Although the Robotic Process Automation industry is fairly new, Eggplant has a long heritage in automating the un-automatable. Our customers have naturally used Eggplant for all kinds of automation including RPA and so it is was listening to our customers and looking at their use cases, that lead us to create Eggplant RPA. When faced with the prospect of RPA, many organizations believe that it is too technical and that a lot of developers need to be involved. However, with the powerful modelling and fusion automation of Eggplant RPA, we are proving this is simply not the case.”
LONDON, England – September 20, 2018 -- RingCentral UK, Ltd., a leading provider of enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions and a wholly owned subsidiary of RingCentral, Inc. (NYSE:RNG), has been selected by Pharmacy2U, the UK's largest online pharmacy, as its central communication platform to help it deliver a truly customer-centric contact centre experience to support its rapid growth.
Pharmacy2U helps over 240,000 people across the country manage their NHS repeat prescriptions. Set up by a team of pharmacists in 1999, Pharmacy2U was a founding partner to the NHS in developing the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).
“We are adding around 7,000 patients per week, which is the equivalent of 16 new High Street pharmacies opening each month, and our aim is to allow people to contact us using the method that suits them best, whether that’s by phone, email, or webchat,” said Andy Williams, Director of Customer Care for Pharmacy2U. “With RingCentral, we have an innovative and industry-proven platform that will allow us to deliver a truly unified communication experience and continue to deliver the highest levels of customer service while driving efficiency across the business.”
RingCentral Contact Centre™ is an omnichannel solution that helps people using Pharmacy2U to choose their preferred method of communicating, via voice, chat, SMS, email, and more. The platform includes intelligent IVR and self-service options that are tightly integrated with smart routing functionality to help patients connect more quickly to the advisor who can best handle their needs. The platform also includes tools to help Pharmacy2U optimise staff scheduling and improve contact centre efficiencies. Pharmacy2U is already using RingCentral Glip to help manage the system integration and migration project.
“Pharmacy2U is an innovator in the health industry that is making a real difference to people across the country,” said Steven Rafferty, Regional Vice President of Enterprise Sales, EMEA at RingCentral. “We’re proud to help them deliver a seamless patient experience through our open and flexible platform. We look forward to identifying new ways to partner with Pharmacy2U as they continue to expand.”
ABSL have announced their jury for the upcoming ABSL Diamonds Awards on the 5th December. The jury has been comprised of four members including President and CEO of the Global Sourcing Association Kerry Hallard and Christian Mertin, Global Advisory Solutions Leader at EY.
ABSL Diamonds is the most prestigious sector awards, recognizing companies which implemented the most innovative projects enhancing their business and strengthening the business services sector’s position as the powerhouse of the economy. Every year the aim is to identify successful activities in business services sector, promote best practices, encourage and inspire other companies to follow the best ones.
UiPath, Romania’s first IT unicorn, tripled its value in six months after receiving $225 million in a new funding round from Sequoia Capital and Google’s CapitalG, the WSJ reports. The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software provider, currently a market leader, began as a Bucharest-based startup founded by a team of ten led by Daniel Dines, the company’s CEO and Marius Tirca (CTO).
The new funding round, led by Sequoia Capital and Capital G, comes six months after the company raised $153 million from Accel, Capital G and KP, and saw its valuation shoot to $1 billion, achieving unicorn status. So far, the company has received USD 400 million in funding.
"After years toiling in obscurity, three startups have suddenly hit the jackpot in a corner of the enterprise-software market sprinkled with artificial intelligence,” the WSJ writes about UiPath Inc., Blue Prism Group PLC and Automation Anywhere Inc. “Now they are racing to one-up each other to appear the market leader.”