Professional Services, Digital and Intelligent Micro Automation

Automation. It’s a growing phenomenon that is driving business disruption globally, but in professional services it’s typically only accessible to large enterprises.

All this is set to radically change.

CoDE’s Professor Roger Maull and Dr Phil Godsiff have just won a grant from the Technology Strategy Board (Innovate UK) to develop AUTTO – a tool that turns the 20-50% of potential automatable activity into 2-5% of a professional’s time. With AUTTO, lawyers could free 23% of their time (approx. 60 days). And, with a growing number of the public not accessing the legal advice they need, the societal impact could be significant.

The legal profession has been the slowest of the professional services to adopt digital transformation, wasting professionals’ time on less-skilled repetitive tasks instead of focusing on high-value and complex work that enables revenue generation and company growth.

Why? Lawyers and professional services firms continue to find it easier, more cost effective and less risky to use expensive and overqualified people to complete routine work instead of automating their processes. This creates a barrier, preventing these SME professional services companies from maximising productivity, ensuring quality and consistency and delivering the best value for money for their clients (B2B or B2C).

This project proposes to develop a solution that improves workflow efficiency through the AUTTO Micro-Automation Platform by addressing the real-time needs of SME legal and professional services — facilitating the automation of many short, low volume, repetitive processes that form 23% of legal work (40% across other professional services).

Lead company ABS Technology is a young tech start up based in London; with this innovation, ABS are breaking the oligopoly that large organisations currently have on automation solutions — increasing industry wide productivity, improving competition and supporting the growth of SME businesses within the professional services industry.

How? AUTTO is significantly cheaper to purchase and removes the cost of technology development, making automation possible at a viable cost in both time and money, with an expected payback period of less than one year.

With economic, environmental and technological impact also in the mix, AUTTO is a disruptive software toolkit that’s going to turn the SME legal and professional world on its head. Will it be a smooth transition, or will these traditional sectors have a bumpy ride to modernisation? Stay in touch to find out what happens!

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About the Author : Kris Henley

Communications and Outreach for Surrey Business School's Centre for the Digital Economy, a newly-founded research centre to explore the implications of the Digital Economy for business, government and society.