Concept Viability - Defence Business Services - Transforming Customer Engagement

This techUK Concept Viability focuses on potential options for alternative application and technology solutions for Defence Business Services' call centre operations, transforming the way it engages with its customers. This could involve a wide array of potential solutions, from tried and tested applications to artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.

The session will start with a briefing on Defence Business Services, so that members are provided with a more comprehensive overview of what Defence Business Services delivers to the whole of Defence and the specific problems/solutions it is looking at.

Senior leaders from DBS and MOD will be in attendance, taking part in all sessions. These will include:

Pete Bennington, Chief Information Officer, DBS

Jenny Sandham, Head of DBS Transformation

This will be followed by structured breakout workshops with suppliers to share ideas and consider the options in detail.

Purpose of the concept viability

DBS are seeking engagement from the market to provide intelligence and expertise that will help DBS understand more around how it might be able to meet the Digital by Default agenda. DBS is looking to understand what options may exist around adopting an Artificial Intelligent/Cognitive Computing approach to call centre interaction with customers to produce a more Cognitive Front Door for the call centre and how this might improve both staff and customer experience.


Defence Business Services (DBS) is an in house Shared Service Centre within the Ministry of Defence providing Business services support to the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and MOD civilian workforce. This forms the basis of the internal customer base within MOD about (225,000 personnel). There are also 1.5 million veterans who form the basis of the external customer base. The services provided cover five functions which are HR, Finance Invoice Processing, Procurement and Payment, provision of Management Information, Security Vetting, and support to UK Veterans and are known as “pillars” within the organisation. HR services are currently also divided into Civilian HR and Military HR specialisms.

Civilian HR is dealt with by the DBS call centre and covers queries on pay, terms and conditions of service, disciplinary and sickness absence casework, welfare and general staff and management queries, but the Military HR call centre is provided by another organisation at present.

Finance provide expert information, advice to and on behalf of MOD business areas.

The Veterans UK call centre provides services that provide a through life service to all UK veterans including helping service personnel transition from being in the Armed Forces to being a veteran in civilian life, welfare support and advice is also provided for life to veterans. Some 15,000 items of post are received from veterans each month currently.

The Enquiry Centre receives around 800,000 calls each year and 304,000 items of mail resolving around 90% of enquiries at first point of contact.

Currently the main call centre is divided into 5 specialist areas to cover the five functional areas of DBS. Services are accessed by a combination of telephone, email, or in the case of Finance semi-automated service provision.

The MOD is moving to a Digital by Default Transformation Programme over the next few years and DBS is investigating how this can be achieved.

Who Should Attend?

There are currently no preconceived ideas as to what an optimum solution would look like in the case of the Cognitive Front Door, only that It should be innovative. The intent is to identify what options there are to inform Senior Management thinking as to what the next steps might be in providing a more digital based solution to providing services to our customers. The Concept Viability will help in part to inform those decisions.

This Concept Viability Session should therefore be of interest to all suppliers that develop, integrate, secure and manage shared services cognitive interfaces and technology platforms.

For more information on the session please do contact a member of the team.

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