Capgemini develops RPA Centre of Excellence for UK Cabinet Office

20 December 2017 Consultancy.uk

Capgemini has penned a two-year agreement with the UK Government’s Cabinet Office, as it seeks to develop a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Centre of Excellence (CoE). The CoE, which is now up and running, is aimed at aiding the acceleration of RPA uptake across the central government.

Widely seen as a major enabler of public sector transformation, RPA describes a process that utilises software programmed to autonomously carry out basic tasks across applications, reducing the burden of repetitive, simple tasks on employees.  Able to be developed and deployed in a matter of weeks, RPA is highly cost effective and can typically demonstrate returns on investment within a few months. It has been known to dramatically improve the speed and accuracy of processing, resulting in a quicker and higher quality service for the public. Consulting firm Capgemini has subsequently been drafted in to help Government departments leverage RPA, with the creation and development of a new Centre of Excellence, devoted to the implementation of digital technology in the Cabinet Office.

The contract comes at a time when the UK Government continues to struggle with the workload suddenly burdening its institutions, resulting from Brexit. The Civil Service, in particular, finds itself drastically understaffed, following almost a decade of spending cuts – leading to the Government seeking external expertise from the consulting world to help paper the cracks. Robotic processes offer a potential lightening of the workload for national institutions, presently snowed under preparatory work for the divorce between the EU and UK.Capgemini develops RPA Centre of Excellence for UK Cabinet OfficeHowever, while RPA systems offer a potential augmentation of current processes, these would still require human intervention, something which may suffer from the continuing digital skills gap which exists in arms of the UK Government. Earlier in the year, 43% of Civil Servants surveyed by Sopra Steria, suggested that they still do not feel that their training has been sufficient on digital skills, while only 8% said that they received digital skills training as part of their formal induction to the civil service.

Capgemini will be prepared for the need to support departments in their development of plans to automate some of their clerical processes, including the need to upskill staff. The firm is also presently engaged in a contract with fast-food giant McDonalds, which will see it work to upgrade the restaurant chain’s digital solutions.

Speaking on the new Cabinet Office contract, Christine Hodgson, Capgemini UK Chairman, commented, “Automation is a key element of Capgemini’s digital transformation offering and we are pleased to be working with the UK Cabinet Office on such a strategic project. RPA is an excellent opportunity for public sector organisations to realise significant productivity gains and focus on more value-added services. Based on our UK public sector and global RPA experience, we are confident that the Centre of Excellence will have a key role in supporting the public service transformation.”

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.