Lloyds Banking Group to cut thousands of jobs

Lloyds Banking Group set to cut thousands of jobs for digitisation strategy that will see manual tasks become automated

Lloyds Banking Group is set to cut thousands of jobs as part of a digitisation strategy that will automate manual tasks.

According to a report in The Times, mortgage processing and new account processing are examples of the tasks that could be automated.

According to the report, a three-year plan will be announced when the bank publishes its results on 28 October. Lloyds Banking Group said it would not comment on speculation.

Lloyds Banking Group has already made thousands of job cuts as a result of simplifying the business which has grown fast through the acquisition of HBS. In 2011, the state-owned bank launched its Simplification Programme under the guidance of Mark Fisher, who took over as director of group IT and operations in 2008, to manage the integration of HBOS.

When launched, the Simplification programme – which rationalises processes, reduces layers, suppliers and properties – expected to make £1.5bn savings in 2014.

The bank said it is reinvesting savings being made through a major restructuring programme into improved processes and digital customer interaction channels.

Earlier this year the bank said: “We are reinvesting a significant proportion of the savings realised from Simplification to further improve processes and the quality of customer interaction through branches via the telephone and digital channels.

“Brand revitalisation is being reinforced by an extensive programme of branch refurbishment and investment in telephony and digital channels.”

Automating business and IT processes is a trend being seen in various sectors. For example, mobile operator O2 deployed software to automate business processes, which reduced the cost of back-office operations and cut its reliance on offshore recruitment to cope with spikes in workload.

Automation compliments digitisation, which itself reduces the need for human intervention, but in the front office.

IT industry body Intellect wants to raise awareness of the benefits that automation software can bring to UK business. Last year, Intellect said automation software is underused in the UK, which is currently in its early adopter phase. The industry body said businesses are missing out on what it describes as "white-collar automation".

A report from Quocirca in 2012 found that IT staff are spending 30% of their time carrying out basic tasks and are growing frustrated with the lack of time left to focus on transformational work.

The average IT worker is also only using half of the skills they possess as a result of time spent on simple tasks.

In the light of these advantages, the automation industry is evolving. Last week IPsoft launched an artificial intelligence (AI) platform following successful pilots with businesses across the telecoms, finance, energy and media sectors.

The platform can be used for services such as technology helpdesks, contact centres, procurement processing and to advise field engineers, but can complete many more business processes. It has an understanding of the semantics of language and can learn to solve business process queries like a human.

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