The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. A recent graduate is placed within an organisation to help solve a business problem, with access to our academic expertise.
The below case study is from our KTP with Lyons Davidson:
About Lyons Davidson
Lyons Davidson is a national law firm providing legal services to businesses and individuals. It has been operating across the UK for over 40 years with offices in Cardiff, Leeds, Edinburgh, and headquarters in Bristol.
Lyons Davidson is a responsible business with certification for the quality of its approach to its impact on the environment, the security of its systems and the investment it makes in its people.
Innovation, along with client experience, has been fundamental to Lyons Davidson’s success. An emphasis in delivering this cost-effectively is leading the company to seek digital solutions whilst offering various online tools to maintain its competitive edge and expand its business.
The challenge the KTP set out to address
Reforms on costs recovery in the personal injury market will consolidate the number of providers and increase business opportunities and new client acquisition for the remaining providers. This means the volume of personal injury claims for the remaining providers will increase putting further pressure on their relevant teams. More than 50% of Lyons Davidson’s business resides in personal injury claims and remaining in the business requires a lean and effective processes.
The current legal advice helpline is operated via graduate employees and qualified staff and providing this service on a 24-7 basis adds to the overall cost of the service. The business was also looking for a solution to improve the customer journey where calls could be triaged but a call back needed to be arranged as the relevant advisor was not available.
The aim is to integrate an intelligent system built on Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning within the existing call handling system to support claimants and provide information relevant to their enquiry/claim which can then lead to further action.
Implementation of a technologically advanced helpline will deliver the level of service that Lyons Davidson is recognised for, increasing client satisfaction and company reputation.
Why was the KTP the right mechanism to achieve this?
The KTP structure provided the most appropriate model for achieving the project goal, enabling Lyons Davidson to maximise the potential of the Legal Advice system and transform the business. It allowed Lyons Davidson to grow its expertise in AI/ML and innovative service delivery using knowledge based on cutting edge research from a leading University AI research group, which would have been difficult to obtain via consultancy.
There was no off-the-shelf option that the company could consider as current AI/ML advice services are typically offering primary advice and information on subject areas where there is less risk tied to potential incorrect information. What was created through this KTP was bespoke and highly refined.
Had Lyons Davidson considered recruiting an AI practitioner directly, it may have been more challenging to find someone with the precise skill sets required as practitioner skill sets vary greatly. Academic involvement in the project removed any risk associated with potentially recruiting the wrong skill set.
Through initial research and implementation of currently available dialog management solutions and expertise in conversational AI from UWE, together with the KTP associate it was possible to identify gaps in currently available systems which centred on current natural language processing challenges and challenges with scalability.
This lead to the development of a user led tasked orientated dialog management system based on a novel extension of Behaviour trees, more commonly associated with games development, where conversation knowledge is separate from the underlying system and a simpler, more visual interface for design, development and debugging.
What changed as a result of the KTP?
Impact and Benefits
For Lyons Davidson:
- Cost savings and efficiencies through automation to parts of the client journey in relation to their legal claim life cycle.
- Automation of client interactions has allowed staff to focus on the more specific and complex tasks whilst also ensuring that client satisfaction has improved as they are able to get immediate responses to requests.
- Has allowed for the capacity and focus to look into future development areas which otherwise would never have been possible and to provide new solutions to business partners.
For UWE Bristol:
- Further experience in dialogue management and Natural Language Processing (NLP) and enhancement of experience in working and collaborating within industry in developing and researching new ideas and solutions and identifying how these can be implemented to tackle industrial problems.
- Provided valuable opportunities to develop and explore expertise in considering and embedding the principles of ethical research in complex areas dealing with highly sensitive data.
- Identified of a number of topics for further research which have fed into current and future course curation as well as research projects for undergraduates, MSc Data Science and MRes projects.
For the KTP Associate:
- Through exposure between both a research knowledge base and business setting the associate has developed leadership skills required to co-ordinate different institutions in bringing an innovative solution to market as well as a developing a greater knowledge of how the insurance claims and legal service industries operate.
- The associate has since been employed by Lyons Davidson to continue developing the project further as well as taking control and exploring future development across other areas of the business using AI/ML.
- 16,500 customers currently using messaging service as part of their claims process and will be exposed to automated information and manage actionable tasks independently.
- The development will extend the benefit that customers will obtain in accessing claims information out of hours. Currently 22% of customers access their portal out of normal office hours
- It is estimated that 5-10% of customer messages will be answered through the dialog management system, directly saving case handler time. This is in addition to the adviser time to be saved when applied to provide advice and call filtering for helpline calls.
What the partners have to say
Mark Savill, Managing Director, Lyons Davidson:
“We have enjoyed working with UWE Bristol to build an innovative solution that has benefited our customers, our people and our business. The Knowledge Transfer has been very effective and collaborative, and has helped us overcome technical problems to develop a product that maximises the impact of the use of AI and ML within an area of our business. The experience has also helped change the way our development teams work and communicate and the way we approach problem solving. The whole process has been supportive and helpful and delivered a great platform for us to build on.“
Professor Jim Smith, UWE Bristol:
“Knowledge Transfer Partnerships provide a win-win scenario for the three main legs of the project – university, company and associate. As an academic, the opportunity to test new ideas and develop co-designed research agendas that reflect real-world needs is invaluable.“
Dr Mehmet Aydin, UWE Bristol:
“It is always a privilege to collaborate with industry to implement the research results and realise them in the real life. This project helped build a good collaboration with the company and developed an automatic chatbot development tool, which facilitates a transferable knowledge across many industries. The results produced by the associate were excellently helpful to demonstrate the proof of concept and further develop into industrial solutions.“
KTP Associate Chris Tapply, UWE Bristol/Lyons Davidson:
“Being given the opportunity to undertake this KTP I have been able to enter into a field of work which can be difficult to enter as an undergraduate. This has given me the chance to develop my skills and interests with huge support and guidance all whilst developing an innovative solution to a business objective as well as providing further research opportunities for UWE Bristol. “
This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.
Download the full case study below:
Find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at UWE Bristol.