UK organisations leaders in adopting business automation

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has published a report sponsored by RPA company UiPath which revealed a bright future for the automation of business processes in the UK.

The survey was broken down into ‘leaders’ – those making extensive use of automation technologies – and ‘laggards’ – those making moderate or limited use of automation. UK respondents were one of four countries populating the leader pack (11%). The other leaders are Germany, France and the US.

According to the report, 67% of business executives surveyed are satisfied with the results of their automation initiatives so far. They’re expecting ambitious benefits too; 73% expect their companies operating costs to improve, 65% predict revenue growth and 62% forecast increased profitability.

As a whole, the UK is ahead of the curve regarding business automation, 48% of UK businesses described their use of automation as ‘extensive’, while 48% said their organisation’s progress with automation was advanced — 15% consider their progress to be very advanced.

In the UK, the share of business processes currently being automated is being dominated by IT operations (67%), followed by administrative work and office management (60%) and customer service (58%).

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Globally, 90% of businesses already use technology to automate business processes, companies in every industry surveyed – including manufacturing, healthcare and financial services – said that they find value in it.

Key benefits observed from business process automation globally include:

  • Focused employee attention on less repetitive, mundane tasks (91%)
  • Increased capacity to handle volume (91%)
  • New revenue sourcing (85 %).

84% of respondents globally report that the c-suite is the driving force behind automation initiatives for their business, with automation responsibility rolling up to the CEO (22%), CTO (29%) and CIO (17 %).

“Business usage of automation is accelerating and widening to create opportunities for growth, and is encouraging greater creativity and innovation from employees as a result. We are pleased to see that business process automation has made considerable headway – but there is clearly room for organisations to improve their use of automation. We look forward to helping businesses drive their automation further, given the massive benefits they could experience as a result,” Bruno Ferreira, Area Vice President, UK & Ireland.

There are still challenges that companies face when automating business processes. In Europe, data privacy and security concerns (32%) top the list of hurdles, whilst employee resistance is a close second (31%). This shows a crucial need for change management – and accordingly, 38% of UK firms consider providing education and upskilling as an important consideration for implementing business process automation.

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future