Wednesday, 11 March 2020 03:21

Bupa launches innovation academy with focus on upskilling staff

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Australian health insurer Bupa has launched an Automation Innovation Academy aimed at delivering on the company’s objectives of embedding new artificial intelligence and automation technologies into its business.

Bupa says the academy, opening in March, is focused on upskilling its staff with knowledge and training to enable in-house automation planning, building and implementation.

Bupa’s Director of Customer Transformation, Gael Filippini said it’s vital to empower employees with the necessary skills to thrive in the workplace of the future.

“I think one of the fears people have when they hear about automation is a perception that robots are going to come and take all their jobs.”



“The academy will not only give our people an understanding of what automation is and how we can all get involved but it also gives them the opportunity to build a case study, where they get to build bots and understand the principles required to successfully implement into the business.”

Bupa cites studies that suggest 25%–46% of current work activities in Australia could be automated by 2030, enabling employees to concentrate on more complex pieces of work.

Bupa says it is already adopting automation into its business, with the development of technologies such as bots and software that eliminate repetitive and time-consuming tasks for its workforce.

Last year Bupa says it successfully created an ‘Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) enrolment bot’ and since October 2019 the bot has autonomously processed 22,900 new overseas student enrolments during and outside of business hours - freeing up the International Corporate Partnerships team to focus on complex issues and enquiries while speeding up the enrolment process for customers.

“More recently, Bupa rolled out customer service chatbots and the successful launch of natural language understanding resulted in a 20% reduction in customer transfers and fewer touchpoints customers must navigate to get their enquiries resolved,” said Filippini.

“As a health insurance business, we receive huge volumes of data that require a lot of processing. What we want to achieve through the academy is a workforce that can identify those processes that are repetitive or require manual data entry and develop an automation solution. We want our people to spend less time doing those repetitive tasks and spend more time on using that data to develop new customer value opportunities and processes that require human input.

“Through the Academy, we want to encourage innovation and ideation across our business regardless of an employee’s core job function which we hope will engender new and exciting career development opportunities for our workforce.”

Open to Bupa employees, Filippini says the Academy offers self-paced online and face-to-face learning opportunities in process fundamentals, coding, and change management practices, with mentorship from experts within Bupa as well as from its automation partner UiPath.

“There is no doubt that our industry is being challenged to discover new ways of delivering value and customer service and while we recognise that embracing automation is not an instant solution, it is a significant step along the journey.

“We are also cognisant that data must be secured in this more productive computing environment. As such, we are committed to empowering our staff with the necessary skills and support to ensure any innovation is grounded in security,” said Filippini.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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