In my last post, I talked about the disruptive forces facing the life, pensions and investments (LP&I) industry today and the necessity for LP&I providers to invest in the “Workforce of the Future.” But what shape will this workforce take?

I believe that the LP&I providers who recognise the benefits of human talent and intelligent technology working together, and embrace both as critical members of the reimagined workforce, will come out on top.

Robotics process automation (RPA) is fundamentally changing the way organisations operate—recent research predicts that 35 percent of UK jobs will be automated in the next 10-20 years. For LP&I providers that means picking up the pace to understand how increasing automation will transform the required skill and job mixes in core areas of the business—from claims management and underwriting support to policy processing and credit control.

Automation also has the potential to deliver huge cost savings. By creating an automated virtual workforce that is more accurate and efficient, and works 24/7, LP&I providers can expect RPA to result in processing costs being cut by up to 80 percent in as little as three months.

Increasingly we’ll see these technologies dissolving the boundaries between today’s back-office and tomorrow’s front-office. Automated workflow and administration will drive higher job satisfaction through the eradication of monotonous tasks, freeing up humans to augment capabilities elsewhere and focus on higher-value work. It’s an opportunity for people whose jobs are replaced by RPA to upskill themselves from being “doers” to becoming “developers” of processes that instruct robots to follow a procedure. In some cases this will mean not just a shift in skills but also a significant leap in mindset for someone who has been doing the same job for decades.

By providing workers with more democratised and customised work experiences, together with interactive learning programmes and simpler, more effective ways of engaging with customers, automation enables more connected workforces. Employees enjoy better access to the information they need to do their jobs—whether it’s instant access, via headset, to “how to” videos or transmitting content back to head-office to get a “crowd-sourced” opinion on solving a problem. And when it comes to recruiting talent, automation and democratisation make organisations more attractive to Millennials, who bring with them vital skills and a whole new set of expectations.

As intelligent machines proliferate, every level of the organisation will experience change. For example, propensity modelling will transform the effectiveness of HR by identifying people most likely to respond to a job offer or focusing retention activity on those most likely to churn. Meanwhile, managers must be willing to collapse silos and open up to extended workforces beyond their own walls, establishing digital platforms to create global talent exchanges that address skills shortages.

Business and technology leaders in the LP&I industry must start to view software intelligence not as a pilot or a one-off project, but as an across-the-board functionality. This will demand a new acceptance by managers of what autonomy means as we see decision-making devolved to proposition alchemists empowered by valuable data, with automation playing a vital role in supporting the rapid creation and delivery of new propositions. This will enable LP&I providers to approach work as a “live” experiment, with fluid, iterative, discovery-oriented design of products and processes—a must-have capability in a digital world.

Read our latest thinking on the Workforce of the Future

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