Making a difference for our customers by improving, accelerating and automating processes. Erwin de Leeuw focuses on this every day as a Product Owner in our IT department. He tells us about his role and the challenges.
At Aegon we are focusing more efforts on automating processes. How are you supporting this effort?
Erwin: "I ensure that Intelligent Automation (IA) finds its way into Aegon. My colleagues and I are focusing on three areas. One of those areas is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This is the process for automating repetitive actions using RPA software. Another area is Machine Learning. What I mean by this is using an algorithm to recognize certain documents, such as mortgage deeds. The third area we are focusing on is Business Process Management (BPM). In other words, designing, implementing, managing and optimizing processes."
What are the benefits?
"IA will allow us to work more efficiently and effectively. An example: At Aegon we regularly receive authorization requests. In the past, we had to manually transfer them to a system. Since we are using RPA, we now have a robot doing that manual transfer. This reduces the risk of administrative errors and employees can focus more of their time on improving our service. Another benefit of IA is that our processes are easier to measure. A robot logs every step of a process. Think about an action that deviates from the process in the event of a fraudulent activity."
Which automated process are you the most proud of?
"Over the past few years, a variety of great solutions have been built to automate processes. We recently went live with the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) service. This service allows us to convert inbound PDFs into data. Imagine that a customer with a construction deposit sends us an invoice in PDF format. It is important that we know which items and amounts are listed on the invoice. If we have to manually research that, it takes up a huge amount of time and there is a high risk of error. With OCR, we can automatically convert the PDFs into data."
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to IA?
"It's almost impossible to keep up with the latest developments these days, and keeping our IT knowledge up to date is one of our biggest challenges. It is crucial that we continue to share knowledge inside and outside of Aegon. What's more, Aegon is a large organization with a rich history, which means that we work with more than 600 applications, many of which are linked together. The result is that it often takes a lot of time to automate processes. To bring about change, we are steadily getting rid of outdated applications and replacing them with modular applications that you can replace independently of one another."
"We want to be able to transform all incoming documents into data."
What else do you want to focus on over the upcoming period?
"Our priority is to ensure that we can quickly adapt to change. There are currently a number of initiatives in the works, such as our Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) service. In a nutshell, it means that we want to be able to convert all documents that come into Aegon into data. We then want to use that data to provide better service to our customers."
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