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Standard Life lowers costs with technology

More customers moving online

Financial services provider Standard Life has cited technology as a vital part of its ability to reduce its operational unit costs in its latest results.

The company has reported group operating pre-tax profit increasing 15 percent from £262 million in the first half of 2011 to £302 million the same period this year.

Jackie Hunt, chief financial officer (CFO) at Standard Life, said: "Our operating profitability significantly increased in the first half of 2012. We remain focused on our drive for efficiency, with the use of technology a key enabler in lowering unit costs."

The company said that its overall profit increase was driven by a strong performance in its UK business. The UK operating pre-tax profit for H1 2012 was £141 million, up from £87 million in H1 2011.

Standard Life said that technology would allow the business to "realise the full potential" of its scalable business model by helping to keep down maintenance expenses through improved process efficiency.

It added: "The general trend of migration of customer interaction towards online and self service is ongoing and has helped to reduce our customer service full-time equivalent (FTE) employees by approximately 20 percent since the start of 2010."

In 2011, Standard Life deployed a new web content management system from Autonomy to help improve the maintenance of its customer facing website and its main corporate extranet.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Standard Life signed a £30 million outsourcing deal with BT, for the management of its communications infrastructure for the next five years.

This was after it cut IT jobs at its main Edinburgh base as part of its efforts to restructure its technology and customer service operations to help drive £100 million in cost savings by the end of 2011.

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