A selection of articles written about DigiBlu from across the media. Scroll across to view more.
Insights Success Magazine -
Top 10 most innovative RPA companies
The Digital Workforce of the Future
DigiBlu is about transforming organisations by implementing and operating digital workforces, building capabilities on-premise or delivering digital workers over the cloud.
Co-Founder & CEO
Insights Success Magazine -
Top 10 most innovative RPA companies
The Digital Workforce of the Future
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software that mimics human workers in conducting routine rulesbased activities. It automates tasks by interacting with any application or system using non-invasive techniques, without need of systems integration, and can orchestrate activities across boundaries. RPA enables cheaper and faster processing and reduces errors, improves security (reduces fraud) and enhances compliance. Used strategically, it enables business and operating model innovation.
At DigiBlu, the company has experienced increased Net Promoter Scores of 30% as a direct result of RPA implementations. Depending on the process, volumes, and the number of human workers involved, cost reductions range from 30-80%. The company’s clients are achieving year one ROI of 200% plus. DigiBlu helps organizations leverage the power of Intelligent Automation to implement and operate Digital Workforces. The company has designed an operating model for the Digital Workforce that aligns the core processes with organizational competencies.
In an interview conducted between Insights Success and Steve Burke Co-founder & CEO, shares his deep experience in leading enterprise transformations and DigiBlu’s objective of realizing the full potential of automation.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Steve Burke and Insights Success:
What led to the inception of the DigiBlu?
DigiBlu was established in 2014 as a high-value strategy & transformation consulting firm. In mid-2016, we saw the potential of RPA to transform operating models and we repositioned ourselves to become wholly specialist as an RPA delivery and capability partner.
Could you throw some light on your mission and vision statement?
Our mission is to be a world leader in implementing, delivering and operating digital workforces. Our vision is to create the workforce of the future, organized around multi-skilled, multi-purpose digital workers, integrated with human workers, to create high-performance enterprises.
Describe your company’s cutting-edge RPA solutions, which addresses all the needs of your customers.
The need of our customers is to innovate their business models to improve the customer experience, deliver new offerings and increase revenues, while creating low cost, super responsive and agile operating models. Automation enables this, and specifically the automation of routine / transactional activities from customer engagement to fulfilment. This requires the seamless integration of cognitive and robotic capabilities, sometimes delivered over the cloud. This enables omni-channel engagement, the ingestion, structuring and sense-making of data, which informs decisions and triggers execution using RPA. DigiBlu’s platform approach extends the reach and value of the core RPA technology into Intelligent Automation.
How does your RPA solution differ from the other companies’ offerings?
Our integrated Intelligent Automation solutions automate end-to-end activities along value chains and they orchestrate activities across business ecosystems. Used strategically, this solution enables the innovation of offerings and the reimagination of business processes. Other companies focus mostly on automating discrete activities, including desktop and document automation. DigiBlu has no proprietary technology, but rather combines technologies into platforms so that one plus one equals three, and so that our clients can transform their organisation, reimagine their offerings and redesign their processes, from end-to-end. Our differentiators then, are strategy and transformation consulting and our deep process expertise, which is backed up by technical expertise, great software and excellent delivery.
What technologies are you leveraging to make your RPA solutions resourceful and bringing advancement in the industry?
We mostly use Blue Prism RPA as the core RPA technology. We add TrustPortal for managing human-to-robot interactions, Antworks’ Cognitive Machine Reading for ingesting and structuring data, and Merlynn’s expert system for decision-making. Our Robotics Operations Centre is powered by the Thoughtonomy platform, which delivers Intelligent Automation over the Cloud.
Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learned that have shaped the journey of the company.
No one really knows where the journey to digital workforces will take them, and our learnings are continuous. First we had to master the laying of foundations, then we learned how to scale, now we are asking, ‘how does an enterprise operate when it is organized around a Digital Workforce and, how should we organize and reskill to get the very best out of human workers?’
We consider ourselves a learning organization and organize around specialist competencies to capture experience from large implementations (we have one client, for example, where we are helping to implement 500 bots). We have won numerous international awards, including a coveted Partner of the Year award from Blue Prism in 2019.
What according to you could be the potential future of Robotic industry and how does your company envision sustaining its competency?
The future lies in the creation of digital workforces that will speed innovation and enable unprecedented levels of operational agility. The Digital Workforce will be a key feature of 4IR. The digital workers will require multiple skills, beyond mere robotic execution, which will be enabled by other digital technologies. This puts digital workers at the core of digital transformation. In DigiBlu we are constantly evolving our own offerings, including Automation-as-a-Service offerings such as the provision of digital workers on demand and Business Processes-as-a-Service (we have an outsourced payments solution, for example). The as-a-service offerings are delivered over the cloud to customers around the world from our Robotic Operations Centre in Cape Town.
About the Leader
Steve Burke’s first career was as an officer in the British Parachute Regiment after which he turned to high-value management consulting. His influence over DigiBlu is to bring a transformative mindset and method, which raises RPA from being a mere tool. As a member of Blue Prism’s Partner Executive Council and a keynote speaker, he influences the industry with visionary thinking about the workforce of the future that he combines with deep experience in successfully leading transformational change.
Steve holds a Masters degree in the Design of Information Systems (Cranfield) and an Honours degree in International Politics (UCW Aberystwyth) and was trained in leadership and strategy at Sandhurst and the Army Staff College.
“In March 2019 Investec outsourced the RPA implementations and day to day monitoring efforts to DigiBlu’s Robotics Operations Centre. Since the change in approach we have been able to implement faster by introducing governance structures and at a much higher quality by applying best practice standards.” — (Investec Asset Management)
MEA Markets Magazine Q3 2019
Realising Your Full Potential of Automation
Established in 2014, DigiBlu’s mission is to be a worldleader in creating and operating Digital Workforces, taking African expertise to the world. Today, the firm uses Intelligent Automation technologies to create and operate Digital Workforces, both on-premise and delivered over the cloud from their Robotic Operations Centre (ROC) in Cape Town. Digital Workforces use Robotic Process Automation and AI technologies to handle automated processes – along the value chain, from the customer conversation to fulfilment. They enable innovation, new revenue streams, reduce costs and improve the customer experience.
With offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London, the firm operates in Africa and the UK, and are expanding internationally. Going into further detail about the firm, Steve begins by informing us of DigiBlu’s main mission, and the steps the team takes to ensure that they achieve all objectives set.
“Here at DigiBlu, our aim is to help companies realise the full potential of automation. We are about creating Digital Workforces as an enterprise strategic asset, rather than doing discrete desktop automation. This means partnering strategically with the executive sponsor/s to set strategies and objectives and to define the right service model or internal operating model for their Digital Workforce. With objectives set, we run an opportunity assessment to identify candidate processes and organise them into a portfolio to; deliver rapid ROI through business case driven automations, to address operational points of pain and to innovate services.”
Working tirelessly behind the scenes, the experienced, hardworking and passionate team which forms the backbone of DigiBlu ensures that automations are deployed at speed and expectations exceeded. They are proud, for example, to deliver in-year ROI’s of the order of 200% and even more thrilled to see customer satisfaction (NPS) increase by an average of 31%. When discussing the internal culture, Steve is keen to highlight the significant role the team plays in the overall success of the firm.
“As a firm that wholly specialises in Intelligent Automation, we have created Competencies to capture lessons learned, develop insights and best practices and continuously improve our methods for delivering and operating Digital Workforces.
“Supporting us is our incredible team of specialists. Throughout the years, we have designed new career paths and roles, and we train and accredit our people so that can have fulfilling careers and be the best they can be. They are typically inquisitive, wholly committed and excited to be operating in the vanguard of 4IR.”
Moving forward, the team at DigiBlu will continue to develop new offerings that leverage AI and robotics technologies to innovate their clients business and operating models. Bringing the interview to a close, Steve signs off by revealing the exciting plans which lie in the pipeline for DigiBlu, touching on the firm’s key projects they have lined up for the future.
“We are thrilled to be scaling Digital Workforces with our current clients, one of which will be operating hundreds of digital workers. Looking ahead, a key project for us is the rapid expansion of the Robotics Operations Centre. We are moving all of our automation development into the ROC, as well as developing innovative automation services, delivered over the cloud. We are reinventing the Business Process Outsourcing industry by using digital workers to broaden services and be really responsive - delivering new processes, enhancements and continuous improvement in rapid release cycles – at a really low price point.
“Ultimately, here at DigiBlu, we take satisfaction in helping to shape the future as we stride into 4IR and seize new opportunities to help organisations realise the full potential of automation.”
Contact: Steve Burke Company: DigiBlu
Top 10 Most Disruptive RPA Companies to Watch 2019
Transforming Business with Intelligent Automation
August 12, 2019
Steve Burke's resume includes training as a paratrooper in the British Parachute Regiment before switching to management consulting with AT Kearney in London, then into banking in South Africa and back into consulting where he ran the strategy and transformation practice of a Big 4 firm. “I was getting on in age and, when someone told me about software robots, I laughed and couldn’t get my head around the concept,” he likes to joke. “Once I did, the potential for digital workforces blew me away.” Turning serendipity into an opportunity, along with his co-founder Werner Horn they transformed DigiBlu from being a consulting firm to being wholly specialist in Intelligent Automation.
Since then, the five-year-old company has found itself in the fast lane to success. They maintain operations in Cape Town and Johannesburg and have recently opened an office in London. Built with a focus on “Human Endeavour – Digital Workers” and to “take the robot out of the human”, DigiBlu's aim is to create and operate multi-purpose digital workforces, as a strategic enterprise asset. “I haven’t been so excited since the dot com boom, and for the same reason, because we get to innovate business and operating models,” opines Steve Burke, co-founder, and CEO of DigiBlu.
DigiBlu is an award-winning international leader in providing Intelligent Automation related services and is taking South African expertise to the world. They operate in the vanguard of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, creating digital workforces and releasing people from machine-like mundane activities so that they can thrive as humans (were meant to be). The firm is organized according to agile principles. Hence they are constantly learning and developing best practices for implementing and operating digital workforces and developing innovative new offerings, including consulting, implementation, digital operations, capability build and Business Processes-as-a-Service (BPaaS). The key thing:
“Ultimately, it is about creating a shared sense of purpose and empowering everyone to help achieve our vision. We seek a self-organizing and highly motivated organization, short on controls and big on trust,” says Burke.
“And we want people to come on the journey and enjoy the ride, thrilled to know that we don’t know everything and that we need to learn, fast.” So while working with an international insurer we said, “okay, so we’re successfully automating back-end processes and making them fast and accurate, but what does that do for the customer experience if we still have a slow and inefficient front-end?” To do so, they got seriously involved in cognitive capabilities, such as chat bots and OCR, and about reengineering processes from end-to-end. “I value our shared sense of purpose, the inquisitiveness that we encourage and the lessons we gain from that,” cheers Burke.
Consecutively, as intelligent automation is not like traditional software, that comes packaged for a specific purpose. DigiBlu creates capabilities – multi-skilled, multi-purpose digital workforces – that orchestrate and automate activities along the entire customer value chain, from the first conversation to fulfillment. “Bots’ wait to be given work, then come alive with the persona and permissions required to fulfill the activities required of a particular process then, when finished, wait for the next piece of work. This is why they are multi-skilled and multipurpose, one moment they’re working for HR, the next finance, the next they are opening accounts or paying people,” carries on Burke. Thereby helping organizations realize the full potential of Intelligent Automation, taking them on the journey to creating and operating digital workforces as a strategic enterprise asset. Furthermore, the company also have a Robotic Operations Centre which provides digital workers as a managed service over the cloud and BPaaS, for those that don’t wish to build the digital workforce internally. The possibilities with the DigiBlu platform truly are endless.
“While robotic process automation (RPA) is becoming pervasive, few organizations have scaled it to create digital workforces. It is most often used too discretely, without vision. Add cognitive capabilities to RPA and you extend its reach and value. Add agile development and operations methods for speed, and you capture the value more quickly,” proclaims Burke.
Even so, he is fully aware of the unique challenges facing mass adoption of RPA. Especially when implementing an RPA, one of the biggest issues that organizations face is dealing directly with infrastructure changes. “On-premise RPA does, however, require significant investment in IT infrastructure and time spent in reviewing and adapting IT and HR policies – RPA isn’t traditional software, it mimics human workers, but doesn’t need the perks and compliance training that humans need. Intelligent Automation delivered over the cloud, however, negates much of the infrastructure spend,” clarifies Burke. “RPA done well is very high-performing and quickly flushes out inefficiencies in IT and operations environments from lagging systems to IT areas that can’t support 24-hour operations to exceptions handled at people speed. We’ve automated processes that took five people in different roles two days to complete and run it in two minutes and 55 seconds, but half the problem with the old process was the lag incurred in the handoffs, the wait at the back of the email queue, the lunch break, the smoke break. Bots don’t do that.” But can bots adjust their behavior the same way a human can? “Yes. We regard bots as new employees. We automate the process happy path and expect exceptions but, once in production, we continuously review the logs, resolve exceptions and improve performance, getting into a weekly or bi-weekly release cycle. The bots learn fast.” affirms Burke. And they don’t make mistakes as well? “What we can say, with utter confidence, is that the bots only do as they are told. They don’t get tired, act malevolently or make errors. That is not to say that poor programming won’t introduce errors, but they should be identified before going into production and will be highlighted in the logs thereafter. At one of our clients, there were zero instances of incorrect processing during the course of 180,000 transactions,” says Burke. However, he points out, “Poor implementation, lack of vision, failure to add cognitive to increase its reach and value could impede the growth of RPA.”
Outside work, Steve owns a boxing club and unwinds in the ring.
Future - Exponential!
DigiBlu is expanding geographically at speed. They have just launched a UK DigiBlu business and will be seen moving into the US and open in Hong Kong later this year.
Having had five straight years of record-breaking growth DigiBlu plans to extend their offerings; from RPA to Intelligent Automation, from discrete implementations to digital workforces, from as-is processes to reimagined services, to consulting on the workforce of the future, and getting there. The company is also very excited about their Robotic Operations Centre. Through which they intend to continue providing automation managed services, Business Processes-as-a-Service and implement automations remotely. Ultimately, DigiBlu aim is to be internationally recognized as the leader in creating and operating digital workforces. “We’re getting there, so does that still count as an aspiration?” asks Burke. To us and their customers, their success is certain.
A Step toward Intelligent Automation
It is no news that AI and robotics will catapult organizations into the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR.) By 2021, it is estimated that there will be over four million bots doing routine operations and administrative work. Studies have even predicted an economic boom in the days to come as business innovation catches up with digital and productivity surges. To seize this opportunity, companies must build integrated digital capabilities that flow through the entire organization, integrate customer touch points, and involve partners to combine technologies and processes in novel ways. Intelligent automation will come to the fore, orchestrating and automating activities, from the first-touch to fulfillment, from customer engagement systems to systems of record, along value chains and across ecosystems. Initially conceptualized as management consulting firm for the financial services industry in 2014, DigiBlu noticed the paradigm shift toward automation and moved fast to provide RPA and intelligent automation solutions that could transform organizations regardless of the industry. The company aims to become an international leader and pioneer in creating and operating multi-purpose Digital Workforces as a strategic enterprise asset.
In an interview with CIO Applications, Steve Burke, the CEO of DigiBlu, elucidates some exciting insights about his organization, its unique value proposition, and roadmap for the future.
Provide us with an overview of DigiBlu.
We are award winning specialists in implementing and operating Digital Workforces, using intelligent automation technologies. With deep experience in helping organizations transform, DigiBlu offers counsel to executives on how to make automation a strategic priority in order to realize step-change performance improvements. DigiBlu is a Blue Prism Delivery and Capability partner that builds technology ecosystems around the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) core and redesigns business processes to deliver superior value to our clients. In the right industry, at the right time and with the right partners, we are focused on being the best at what we do. We provide our clients two routes to intelligent automation; via RPA, using Blue Prism and then adding cognitive and cloud technologies, or straight to an integrated suite of technologies, using the Thoughtonomy platform. Our market-leading experience in intelligent automation creates opportunities to innovate business & operating models, to re-imagine services and business processes to do things more effectively.
Could you elaborate on your solutions portfolio?
We have deep expertise and long experience in business process management and are experts in improving as-is processes and in redesigning them too—across ecosystems, geographies and along value-chains—to cross boundaries and leverage the power of intelligent automation. Our Intelligent Automation Engineers are thoroughly trained and formally accredited and are specialists in solutions design and configuring RPA and associated intelligent automation technologies. Organized by competencies, we capture lessons learned and build best practices, such as our proprietary Operating Model for the Digital Workforce and “Build, Prove & Evolve” method for rapid execution. As a Capability partner, we also help build internal capabilities for our clients so they can implement and operate their own Digital Workforces. We can also provide managed services, remotely implementing and operating Digital Workforces from our Robotic Operations Centre and can provide Business Processes-as-a-Service (BPaaS). We are a certified Delivery and Capability partner to Blue Prism and Thoughtonomy, taking their market-leading RPA and intelligent automation platforms to the world.
“Our market-leading experience in Intelligent Automation creates opportunities to innovate business & operating models, to re-imagine services and business processes and do things more effectively”
How does DigiBlu engage with clients?
When organizations begin their automation programs, they often use RPA tactically, for automating easy-to-implement as-is processes, spreading automation thin and wide. This can mean scale but doesn’t necessarily correlate to value. However, as credibility is gained, and the power of RPA - as an Operating System for the Digital Workforce - is appreciated, so organizations look to other technologies (such as chatbots, OCR, cloud computing) to open up use cases and automate customer interactions. Such capabilities, integrated with RPA, also bring about the potential to re-imagine processes by orchestrating and automating activities from customer engagement to fulfillment, turning decisions into action without external intervention. This gives organizations the potential to achieve competitive advantage and unlock superior value. With this understanding, we engage clients to think big even while starting small.
As the Digital Workforce scales, so it should be positioned as an enterprise asset. Bots don’t need shifts, work 24/7/365, are multi-skilled and don’t need to be organized in silos. The principles of scientific management, designed for people, no longer apply to the Digital Workforce. The bots don’t recognize boundaries and their capacity can be dynamically orchestrated to handle automated processes, against SLAs, 24x7, balancing workload across all runtime resources to address peaks and troughs in demand and planned and unplanned business events, without the need of additional human resource or training. Ultimately, the operating model is itself transformed around the integrated human-digital workforce. Rather than get there slowly or by accident, DigiBlu seeks trusted relationships with client executives to guide them towards this aspiration, helping them every step of the way.
With an intent to help our clients create and operate multipurpose Digital Workforces, as a strategic enterprise asset, we trust that our collaborations with blue-chip organizations make this realizable and, with the understanding that we are all still feeling our way into the 4IR territory, we are grateful that they let us try new things out.
Could you provide us with an example of deploying a Digital Workforce as a Strategic Enterprise Asset?
One of our clients is an international financial services company that provides life insurance, investment, savings, asset management, banking, and personal insurance solutions. They were excited by what they’d heard about RPA and initially explored its potential through a pilot. Our approach demonstrated RPA’s potential, then we ‘reset’ the program to set the foundations to scale and progressed into full implementation, switching from a tactical to a strategic orientation to achieve competitive advantage and unlock superior value.
The start seemed slow as they became familiar with RPA, as IT infrastructure was established and governance was set-up, and it took us six months just to deploy the first two processes, on five bots. With the foundations set, however, they scaled fast. Just four months after the reset, they’d achieved 173 deployments to automate 17 large processes by orchestrating 60 bots. The initial financial targets were met and the investment in RPA achieved a positive ROI in just seven months. The improvement in customer experience (increase in Net Promoter Score to world-class 78%) was also a very pleasant surprise, which has helped shift the focus from just back-office operations to addressing customer interactions. The client is now scaling to cover the entire organization, using hundreds of bots.
What does the future look like for DigiBlu?
In January, we inaugurated our Robotic Operations Centre (ROC) in Cape Town, which provides a differentiated proposition for outsourced services as an alternative to the traditional BPO model – one that isn’t based on labor arbitrage, extends the reach of the service offering and is super responsive. The ROC will provide for remotely managed implementations and operations (a cloud-delivered Digital Workforce) as well as Business Processes-as-a-Service (BPaaS), for clients worldwide. We shall reinforce success in our SA heartland - where we get to try out many innovations - and expand into the rest of Africa. We have recently launched a new DigiBlu business in London, will be launching BPaaS offerings in the US and will be operating out of Hong Kong by year end.