Firms are now seeking to scale their operations with intelligent automation solutions, fast embracing digitalization.
As per a survey conducted by Deloitte, intelligent automation strategies are largely all about reimagining industry operations to transform workforces. The study confirmed that organizations are not only embracing robotic process automation (RPA) but are also increasingly deploying intelligent automation.
58% of respondents confirmed to have started their automation journey. Out of these, 38% are piloting (1-10 automation solutions), 12% are implementing (11-50 automation), and 80% are automating at scale with 51+ automation projects – which is twice as many as in 2018.
Organizations believe that they can transform their business processes, achieving higher accuracy and speed by automating decisions based on structured and unstructured inputs. Firms expect an average payback period of 15 months, with just nine months in the scaling phase. But, they face many challenges that constrain their embracing intelligent automation. Process fragmentation is the biggest challenge, say 36% of the respondents. It is followed by IT readiness as the second most common barrier, said 17% of the organizations surveyed.
The survey also confirmed that the organizations adopting intelligent automation at scale need to have a few basic attributes in place:
- An enterprise-wide strategy for intelligent automation, helping to generate higher returns in workforce capacity cost revenues and reductions.
- A combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and RPA, leading to an average increase in revenue of 9%, against 3% in those that don’t mix the technologies.
- Infrastructure, technology, and cybersecurity that enables a 21% reduction in costs, compared to 13% among organizations lacking these functions.
- Mature process standards, definitions, and processes, which produce an average increase in back-office workforce capacity of 19% compared to 12% among organizations that do not.
- Capability to deliver radical simplification driven by a need for cost reduction, presented by 73% of scaling organizations, against only 61% in piloting ones.
Adoption of AI is necessary to implement intelligent automation in the company successfully. However, 48% of survey respondents admit to neither implementing nor thinking about an intelligent automation strategy includes AI. 36% confirmed including AI in their strategy but not at scale. Only 11% of organizations are currently scaling solutions that incorporate AI.
AI increases the productive capacity of humans. Over 90% of organizations expect intelligent automation to increase their workforce capacity. About a 26% increase in the back-office size is expected over the next three years with a 17% increase in the size of core business operations. Despite all the advantages of intelligent automation, 44% of organizations have not yet calculated how their workforce’s tasks and roles will change or will be simplified post intelligent automation.
Another critical factor is the retraining of the workforce for the new automation technologies. Almost two-thirds of organizations have not yet considered what proportion of their workforce needs to retrain as a result of automation. About 53% of companies scaling up for automation have stated that they have not yet explored the need to reskill their workforce to make them compliant with the automation strategies. It is a shocking revelation that 38% of organizations are not even retraining employees who have witnessed a role change due to automation.
There is a widespread concern that automation may eliminate jobs. But 74% of the survey respondents believe their workforce is supportive of their intelligent automation strategy. 23% of executives whose organizations are at the pilot stage face a lack of support from employees, compared to just 12% in organizations that are implementing or scaling.
2020 seems to be an extremely promising year for the breakout of intelligent automation. Firms have targeted low-value opportunities for automating tasks and will increasingly continue to seek more advanced AI technologies as part of their solutions.