Canon Unleashes Automation to Help Clients Improve Operational Efficiency
Originally published by The Silicon Review
For the third time, The Silicon Review recognized Canon Business Process Services as one of the 50 Smartest Companies of the Year. During the past 18 months Canon has continued to help its clients manage significant business challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as sustain their operations and better prepare for future growth. The key to Canon’s approach has been the company’s flexibility in leveraging its people, process, technology and data resources to enable clients to improve their business operations in ways that are sustainable over the long term. What makes Canon different is that it can tailor how it deploys these resources according to client needs: onsite at the client’s location as well as offsite and/or offshore at Canon Business Processing Centers.
A BPO Partner with Proven Experience
Canon knows that in a business environment plagued by uncertainty and disruption, companies need a reliable business partner with proven experience now more than ever. Industry recognition for its long-standing expertise is a Canon hallmark. The company was recently named to the Leader category of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals’ (IAOP®) 2021 Global Outsourcing 100® list. The list defines the standard of excellence in outsourcing service delivery. This is the fifteenth straight year in which Canon has been named a Leader in The Global Outsourcing 100. Over the years Canon also earned additional IAOP Global Outsourcing 100 recognition by receiving top honors in distinguished IAOP judging categories, including Programs for Innovation. This category is particularly significant because it recognizes a company’s ability to implement specific programs and resulting outcomes that produce new forms of value for customers.
Interview Excerpt: Joe Marciano, President/CEO
Canon’s mission goes beyond helping clients sustain operations in today’s tough times. It includes enabling them to automate, optimize and transform their businesses so that as opportunities for growth continue to open up, they are ready.
“Most companies are aware of the power of automation, and many had major initiatives underway even before the pandemic,” says Joe Marciano, president and CEO of Canon Business Process Services. “The disruption of COVID-19, however, exponentially accelerated the demand to automate, shooting it to the top of the list of key strategic initiatives. Many organizations recognize this general trend and are looking for a partner like Canon to help them leverage automation to optimize key business processes. They want to be prepared to thrive as the economy improves.”
Robotic Process Automation Services
Smart businesses know they can’t tackle automation challenges alone; which makes collaborating with digital transformation experts like Canon and leveraging industry best practices critical factors.
One program that meets IAOP criteria for innovation—delivering advanced, measurable business value to clients—is Canon’s robotic process automation solution. Canon’s customized RPA services are designed to transform workflows and achieve significant performance improvements. By combining human ingenuity with the power of today’s most advanced software robots (bots), Canon enables them to work together intelligently. The goal is to automate routine business processes so that employees can devote more time to serving customers and other higher-value work. What are some of the gains that RPA solutions can deliver? RPA’s value is based on a number of business benefits that it can yield, including:
- Improved productivity. Software bots can complete tasks about five times faster than humans and they work 24/7. This enables companies to focus more time and resources on strategic activities that support their core business.
- Increased accuracy. Because bots consistently perform their tasks as programmed, clerical errors as well as the time needed to correct them can be significantly reduced.
- Enhanced resource utilization. By leveraging RPA, employees can focus on tasks that help grow the business, thus making better use of their time. When there is a spike or decrease in demand, the technology can be scaled accordingly to maintain consistent service.
- Better analytics. RPA enables businesses to collect data about task execution. This information can be used for analytical purposes and to help continuously improve business processes.
The Power of RPA in Action
What does an effective RPA solution look like in action? A Canon client offers an example. A leading financial services company experienced a major challenge caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, Canon managed an onsite team dedicated to supporting one of the company’s business activities, processing millions of Human Resources (HR) claims. This process includes receiving the claims from various states, primarily by mail. The Canon team opens the claims, then scans, indexes and enters them into the company’s workflow. This system comprises such activities as classifying each claim by such criteria as state type; extracting relevant information, and forwarding the claim to an adjudicator. The latter makes decisions about benefits to which claimants are entitled and sends that information back to their particular state.
One key workflow automation element of Canon’s solution includes deploying nine bots. The bots facilitate the process by taking a claim policy number, searching a database for that policy number and locating individual information related to it (name, address etc.), and then entering that information into the indexing data for the HR claim. The claim can then be provided to the adjudicator as a single, uniform case.
With the pandemic, however, the company experienced a dramatic increase in claims, which quadrupled within months. The huge volume increase strained the company’s capacity to scale up its people and technology resources dedicated to scanning, indexing and processing the claims. To help manage the situation, Canon increased the number of bots from nine to 20. The backlog of work continued to grow. Then Canon added another 15 bots, bringing the total to 35. The amount of claims processing still increased, so Canon augmented the number of bots to 70, which work 24/7, helping to streamline the company’s resources, costs and time needed to process the enormous increase in claims.
Canon’s solution has delivered significant business value to its client. Without deploying the bots, the company potentially faced hiring, training and managing 70+ new employees as well as expanding the space and equipment needed to handle the workload. In contrast, licensing and cloning new bots (i.e. replicating existing bots that already “know” what to do) is a significantly more cost- and time-effective approach that requires virtually no expansion of existing staff, space and equipment requirements.
Canon also utilizes its Philippines-based Business Processing Center to help support the solution. This capability enables the Canon team to take advantage of the time difference and monitor the claims process on a 24-hour basis. Finally, the bots can process a high percentage of claims and forward them to adjudicators without any human intervention, which greatly enhances overall claims processing efficiency.
“This case history example illustrates how robotic process automation services can help organizations automate repetitive processes, scale up capacity when needed, and more efficiently achieve their business goals,” notes Joe Marciano. “Potential benefits also include increased return on investment, improved accuracy, enhanced compliance and reduced costs.”
Joe Marciano sums it up this way: “The financial services leader’s mission includes using knowledge and technology to drive progress and help move people forward. Canon has a commitment to using knowledge and technology to help our clients when they need it most, now and in the days ahead.”