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August - The month of delivery

  • Oliver Cook
  • Sep 16, 2020

In my last blog I said we’d never been busier despite the current situation and I’m happy to say that trend has continued through to August.  However, this month has been more about our delivery process than launching live automations as we have started 3 new projects over the past few weeks with one of those containing 4 separate processes.

Nevertheless, we have still managed to launch 2 of the 4 processes for one of our higher education clients and 2 out of 3 phases of the NHS Covid process that we’ve been working on. This process, as mentioned in my previous blog, will automate the Covid Sit-Rep process that all hospitals in England are required to complete daily.  

This is a new process for all hospitals across NHS England with a high level of criticality and requires multiple staff touch points across each hospital, including a significant amount of admin work to collect and sort data before it is provided to NHS Digital.  

By automating the Covid Sit-Rep process we can free up a significant amount of staff time per annum per hospital while ensuring less duplication and a significant reduction in error rate.  Once we have fully tested and deployed this process it will be available on the Blue Prism NHS Digital Exchange so that other hospitals within NHS England can make use of it.

We’re obviously really excited about the possibilities that Intelligent Automation can provide the NHS to improve efficiency and reduce their costs, as well as the power that the Blue Prism NHS Digital Exchange can provide in enabling other NHS hospitals and trusts to scale quickly and easily.  

However, as I alluded to above, the focus for this month has been on our delivery process.  While we have built multiple processes in parallel before, this is the first time we’ve done it with new clients who have no previous experience with automation.  This tends to be an additional challenge as there’s a fairly steep learning curve in automation for the client and for us in terms of accessing the IT environment and developing code for the applications we’re working with.

This challenge was further enhanced due to people working remotely and the need to access the applications remotely where they previously had not been.  Thanks to the efforts of the respective client teams and our developers we managed to overcome many of these issues and where we did hit roadblocks it was a credit to everyone involved in how quickly we managed to find solutions.  

In one particular instance, this meant recreating one of these processes almost from scratch. This was due to the fact that the process now had to be completed using the web version of the application where it had previously used the desktop version. The change came about due to the need to access the application remotely given Covid restrictions so it was not possible for us to access the application on site.   

Redesigning the process was not a trivial undertaking as the two versions were in fact quite different from each other and required unique solutions to be found, as well as access issues that needed to be addressed during the requirements gathering stage of the discovery process.

This would obviously be a challenge in itself, even more so when working on multiple other processes in parallel.  To be able to solve these issues while building and deploying 2 processes within 6 weeks is a credit to the teams involved. It is also pleasing to see that our delivery approach proved to be robust enough in these circumstances while being as flexible as we’d designed it to be.  If you’d like to find out more about our delivery methodology please feel free to get in touch with me via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Oliver Cook

Oliver is our head of delivery and prides himself on improving the customer experience through the use of Intelligent Automation.