Debt collection agency Advanced Collection Systems (ACS) has received support from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency and executive arm of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to develop and launch an intelligent software solution with the goal of changing the debt recovery model used throughout the sector.

The project will be run in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire under Innovate UK’s KTP programme. ACS and a team from the University of Hertfordshire with skills in data mining, machine learning, and the psychology of cognitive processes will develop an intelligent software capability which, when launched, is expected to change the paradigm in the debt collection sector and will:

1. Improve the efficiency of debt collected to increase turnover/profit per agent.

2. Deliver real time adaptation based on propensity to-pay modelling and debtor profiling.

3. Increase the ability to pre-empt default via better customer insight/intelligence.

Innovate UK’s board of assessors said “The project has the potential to make a step change within the industry and the approach can then be applied to other sectors. A successful project will be revolutionary for the company.”

Lisa Phillips, Managing Director of ACS said “ACS has always led the use of technology in debt collection not only to reduce fees for our clients but to make it easy for debtors to manage their debt. We believe this development will have the same impact on the debt collection sector that on-line shopping has had on the retail sector. It promises significant cost saving and increased productivity. We expect that within 5 years of the launch the solution will be the de-facto standard for debt collection”

Dr Na Helian, KTP Academic Supervisor at the University of Hertfordshire said “The debt industry is in its infancy in terms of data sharing. This development moves ACS into a leading position to challenge the accepted practise of the call-centre approach to debt collection. This intelligent software driven capability will increase collection efficiency and provide and improve personal data confidentiality through cyber-security measures. The output, a new expert system, AVA, will be capable of absorbing, manipulating and analysing very large and complex data sets -big data, providing analysis and resolution scenarios through a user interface and data collector.”