Business is often full of hyperbole. The biggest this, the most innovative that, the most successful something else.

This isn’t one of those moments. We’re in the middle of something none of us have experienced, and suddenly what we’re doing is very real.

This automation project covers over 177 companies and separate business processes measured in the tens of thousands. It’s also now helping us support our customers as they navigate their way through the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Our original plan was to do it the full glare of the public, and we’ve decided to stick to that so others can learn from our mistakes and successes. Over the next few minutes, I’ll explain a little about the background.

Lots of talk, little walk

All of us who help lead large organisations will recognise that ‘promise’ rarely translates into immediate take-it-to-the-bank benefits.

That’s certainly the case when you work in technology and especially when you look at the current discussion around automation. Yes, the benefits are well documented and without doubt it will reshape practically every sector and job role. There’s been successes, of course, but let’s be honest, it’s not currently delivering the blue sky revolution that was expected.

It’s not just tech, it’s emotions too

There’s a number of reasons for this and, as our research* into the future of work shows, chief among those is the need to have people at the heart of any automation programme. It’s humans rather than machines that will drive this fourth industrial revolution and it’s humans – all of us, from the boardroom down – who will benefit from it, in terms of both new skills and fewer mundane tasks. And that will require training and support as roles shift – not just practical, but pastoral too.

But we rarely hear any real detail on that. What we do read about are the dry technical triumphs, the hours saved and the productivity gained. And while both are important, they’re not the sole reason any organisation should automate itself. For us, me and the thousands of colleagues I work with, automation is about improving how we do our work and the services we offer our customers.

So, what can we do that other automation experts cannot? How exactly can we help you recognise the difference between hype and sound strategic sense?

Automation has one job

Approximately a year ago we established our Automation Practice, pulling together a number of disparate project teams into one dedicated unit – then adding further talent. They’re a leading-edge collection of individuals, made up of futurologists, developers, customer experience specialists, technical support experts, philosophers and business process innovators.

They were asked to do one thing: find a way to make automation work. Not for faceless procedures, but for warehouse operatives, directors, customer service reps, finance managers, benefits claimants and pretty much everyone else who contributes to the growth of the UK. What they’ve come back with is something that no other company is offering: a platform that combines our peerless expertise, security, connectivity, leading tech vendors and real-time predictive control that gives an early warning of any bot breakdowns.

All our challenges in the public eye

As our people deliver this huge automation project, we’re going to cover and report back on it over the next 12 months. Our intention is not to sanitise anything, although of course there’s some confidential information we have to keep back. But what we want to give you is the clearest idea of the human and technical challenges that automation throws up, and what it takes to overcome them.

That story will be told through the words, eyes, thoughts and feelings of the people involved; the team delivering it and those whose jobs will evolve. And the name of that organisation we’re automating, the one that involves all of those different companies, processes and customers? Capita.

Future of work

Robot wars or automation alliances?

View our report

Thinking about your organisation?