Automate… under half? Fewer than 50% of enterprises have deployed intelligent automation technology

In the third part of Appian’s research Future of Work survey, the focus is on “intelligent automation”. This is defined as the integration of emerging cognitive and robotic computing technologies into human-driven business processes and customer interactions.

These technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotic process automation (RPA).

The data shows a huge disconnect between the expected business benefits of intelligent automation and a typical organisation’s ability to realise those benefits.

RPA: we take a look at UiPath, Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere

Robotics process automation, or RPA, is becoming big. And this month, RPA is our main theme. Information Age talks to three of the top players: Blue Prism, UiPath and Automation Anywhere. So here we begin RPA month by comparing and contrasting. Read here

Business urgency

Less than half (46%) of organisations have deployed intelligent automation. This is despite the fact that a large majority of IT leaders agree that effective intelligent automation holds enormous potential for their businesses:

• 86% of executives surveyed say intelligent process integration will improve customer experience;
• 68% say it will lead to improved customer satisfaction;
• 92% say it will make the employee experience more rewarding;
• 69% say it will lead to monetisation of new revenue.

IT leaders in enterprise organisations across North America and Europe feel tremendous urgency to take advantage of intelligent automation. However, the vast majority admit their companies can’t currently do it: 86% of executives interviewed indicated that human work, AI systems, and robotic automation “must be well-integrated by 2020”, yet only 12% of executives said their companies “do this really well today”.

Impact of automation: employers plan to increase or maintain headcount

While the existential fear around robots eliminating jobs continues to persist, for the third consecutive year, research from ManpowerGroup, the recruitment firm, has shown that the opposite is true. Read here

Challenges: complexity and lack of strategy

While there are deployments of individual emerging automation technologies, a lack of strategy and clear alignment to business goals is resulting in siloed deployments and overwhelmed internal application development teams. Less than half of surveyed companies have deployed any form of intelligent automation. Fully half of those companies boast IT staffs in excess of 20,000 employees. Specific pain-points include:

• 89% of respondents say their organisations struggle to adapt with technology;
• 80% say their organisations “fail to understand how artificial intelligence would change everything”;
• 66% have difficulty integrating existing IT investments and skills with demanding AI and RPA technology;
• The need to change IT culture (44%) and application development practices (31%) were the next highest-ranked responses.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.