Robotic process automation adoption is already delivering value, and the early adopters in shared services and organizations are achieving significant benefits.

As per the 3rd Annual Global RPA Survey Report by Deloitte, the industry has witnessed an increasing interest in robotics and artificial intelligence technology-based solutions.

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The survey revealed that over four hundred executives are responsible for running transactional operations such as global business services, finance, procurement, HR, marketing, and operations. Their top priority strategies are mentioned below:

  • 35% – Focus on continuous improvement and growth
  • 24% – Increase the level of automation
  • 17% – Develop analytics capabilities

As compared to last year, the industry has witnessed a relatively minor increase in the number of businesses evaluating RPA or building a future-proof automation-ready industry. Only 3% of progressive leaders have reached up to any form of scale with more than 50 robots in service. Maximizing the impact of RPA realizes a committed shift in the approach and mindset from experimentation to transformation.

Organizations must take the right strategic choice—laying the concrete foundation to enable a “premium” digital workforce to support their drive for competitive advantage. The foundation includes:

Think broad

In 2016, merely 15% of respondents reported that their RPA program was part of a more comprehensive corporate initiative. The figure had risen to 64% – firms that have embarked on the RPA journey are deploying it either an enterprise-wide or strategic initiative.

Think high

72% of respondents indicated the functional leadership or C-suite as the most supportive stakeholder groups, while only 31% indicated IT as highly favorable. C-suite awareness of, and support for, RPA has increased since last year. Firms can capitalize on this to cut through departmental barriers and to accelerate scaling, both of which are useful where there is resistance from other parts of the business.

Think big

In terms of targets, respondents who have implemented RPA estimated that robots and automation could deliver 20 % of operation. This was aligned with the expectations of firms at the proof of concept or pilot stages, which targeted fewer than 20% of capacity in their operation. However, among firms already scaling robotics, the average target was as high as 52% of capacity.

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Firms should build a strong foundation to achieve these outcomes, creating highly adaptable robots that engage the human workforce. The foundation gets stronger with:

  • IT buy-in and support
  • Process standardization
  • Integration and flexibility of the solution
  • Employee impact and training
  • Stakeholder buy-in and expectations

The absence or the inability of these factors to work in tandem increases the cost and difficulty of implementing and design RPA. Implementation teams need to collaborate to understand the detailed processes fully and proactively address any issues. Just 17% of organizations that are piloting RPA, faced significant employee resistance. Among those that have progressed to implement or scale, only 3% of respondents said they faced negligible resistance.

More than 28% of those implementing and scaling RPA are implementing cognitive automation as well. This shows that RPA can fuel both the interest and the agility required for the adoption of other digital technologies, enabling firms to move further on the digital automation journey.