First Look Inside a Digital Workforce at Becton Dickinson

Written by Gary Conway in Software robots in the workplace on December 15, 2016

I had the pleasure of hosting Paul Bartley, Director of Global Shared Services at Becton Dickinson (or BD as it's called these days) at the SSON Summit near Atlanta recently. We did a sort of fireside chat about BD's implementation of Automation Anywhere's RPA solution. Here are Steve's most compelling insights from our chat.

I was struck by the notion that BD must be one of the largest companies which so few people have even heard of. But the company is enormous. At $12B in annual revenue, BD is one of the world's largest medical technology and life science companies, with 45,000 employees in more than 50 countries. As impressive, it has to be one of the world's best managed companies, having been around for about 120 years.

Paul spoke about BD's adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) and how, as part of their Digital Workforce, it is helping to drive business process efficiency while dramatically reducing costs. Though Paul would say that BD is still in its early stages of implementing RPA, they are driving substantial business benefits right now.

One of the most compelling insights was Paul's views about what makes an RPA solution "enterprise grade" – meaning a robust solution that meets all the requirements of a very large, global enterprise. These are BD's most important must-haves in an RPA solution:

  1. A comprehensive platform - built to meet ALL automation needs both inside and outside the four walls of the enterprise, especially those with external partners.
  2. Unparalleled elasticity. It must be flexible and adaptable enough to not only automate complete business processes but even small parts of a process. BD is a big SAP shop. Having the flexibility to integrate with SAP was non-negotiable for them.
  3. A global RPA leader. This was critical for BD. Automation Anywhere fit the bill.
  4. Ultra-security. BD is a heavily regulated enterprise with the highest corporate governance standards. So having an acutely secure solution along with being SOX and HIPPA compliant was a must.
  5. Easy and fast deployment. BD wanted a solution that was easy to implement and fast to deploy across their entire enterprise.


Like other large enterprises, BD has focused on automating business processes they consider to be the best RPA "candidates". These are processes that are repeatable, required constantly, and offer the highest ROI. They have already learned to stay away from processes which are more complex, used far less frequently, require more a human touch and therefore represent a lower ROI.


Here's the best part. Even at their early stage in adopting RPA, processes which required 4 people can now be done faster and less expensively with 1 ½ persons. This frees up an enormous amount of processing capacity. BD thinks of this as their "workforce multiplier" – far more capacity without increasing headcount.

My thanks to BD and Pau Bartley for sharing these valuable insights with this mostly shared services audience. I can imagine the even greater results they will experience just a few more months down the road on their RPA journey.

Stay tuned.

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