Standard Life, the insurance and financial services company, has been radically automating its business processes over the last two years. Operating profit for the first six months of 2009 was down to £348 million from £543m for the same period of the year before.

The insurance and pensions firm said IT improvements, automation and the outsourcing of some of its software development had helped it cut £47 million from costs in the year to 31 December. It was originally targeting £75 million cuts by the end of the year, but in March said a further £100 million would be cut by 2012 from transforming its operations to be "lower cost and scalable". It has also been targeting a further £175 million savings from its Continuous Improvement programme by the end of 2010 focused on process and infrastructure standardisation, and an overhaul of finance, marketing and human resources operations.

David Nish, chief executive at Standard Life, said in a presentation to investors that having strong technology, reusable services, "straight-through processing" and better procurement would deliver the efficiency improvements.

Standard Life reported operating profits for the year marginally down to £919m, it put technological innovation at the heart of growth alongside its brand and customer service.

In 2009, it adopted Oracle Identity and Access Management in an attempt to improve customer and partner access to its online services. Using the system globally would reduce costs as well as improve security, it said at the time.

Standard Life reported operating profits for the year marginally down to £919m, it put technological innovation at the heart of growth alongside its brand and customer service.

In 2009, it adopted Oracle Identity and Access Management in an attempt to improve customer and partner access to its online services. Using the system globally would reduce costs as well as improve security, it said at the time.

The group has also developed its service-oriented architecture, which in the three years to 2007 saved £16 million in development costs, it claimed. Improvements to document management with the upgrade of its high-volume Kodak Eastman scanners also led to savings it said.