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Resolving tussles in service automation deployments: Service automation at Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina (BCBSNC)

This teaching case study provides a rich and realistic story of automating knowledge work within the context of a large, non-profit company. As an early pioneer in robotic process automation that built their own tool, the automation team at Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina (BCBSNC) sought to improve business performance through automation, which they accomplished in the form of a triple digit return on investment. However, BCBSNC managers had to mitigate the consequences of such success, such as deciding how to deal with redundant staff in an organization that values its employees and how to evaluate the work of the retained staff whose jobs became more challenging after automation. This case offers an opportunity to diagnose and to prescribe practices for resolving automation tussles among organizational stakeholders, including senior management vs middle managers, IT departments vs business operations, management vs labor, and ultimately man vs machine.