‘US lead the robotic revolution, as UK boardrooms lack understanding’

Today, Redwood Software, has revealed that businesses in the US consider robotics more important than organisations in the UK, with 19% of UK businesses ranking the technology as a ‘top priority’, compared to over 30% in the US.

In fact, while 64% of UK survey respondents see robotic process automation (RPA) as important to their wider IT strategy, over three quarters of US businesses answered the same, again placing them in the number one spot.

>See also: The robots keep rising as AI-driven business transformation evolves

However, the research does also reveal similarities in robotic uptake over the last year, as both the UK (62%) and U.S. (78%) participants admitted RPA has become ‘more of a priority’ for them in this timeframe.

A lack of buy-in from leadership

The research also highlights a worrying lack of understanding from those in senior positions across the UK, with just 20% of businesses believing their company’s management understands the essentials. This demonstrates quite a difference to the US market, as 34% of businesses believe their management are pioneers of robotics.

Neil Kinson, chief of staff at Redwood Software, commented: “While it’s great to see an increase in the number of businesses across both the UK and U.S. that have prioritised RPA over the last 12 months, there’s still a lot to be done to educate those at management level as to the benefits of software robotics.”

>See also: The secret behind scaling RPA across the enterprise

“Without buy-in from those in senior positions the success of automation within a business will be limited. And not only buy-in from the c-suite but from across the business in general. The impact of understanding the benefits of automation will see a significant shift in the overall culture of the company and attitude towards the technology. Most importantly, every employee will understand how robotics can help them in their role and day to day tasks.”

When asked to consider whether they felt 80% or more of business processes could be automated using RPA in the next five years, just 12% of UK organisations agreed, while almost 50% more US businesses agreed.

Robotising the digital transformation

Despite the research unveiling many differences between the American and English robotics landscapes, one fundamental area that both agree on is the role of robotics in achieving digital transformation. Overall, 83% of the IT decision makers surveyed believe RPA is an ‘essential’ or ‘key part’ of their digital transformation.

>See also: 5 steps to successful RPA implementation

Unsurprisingly, the top reasons for favouring the role of robotics in the digital transformation process included cost saving (59%), increased agility (54%) and scalability (43%). In addition, 32% of US and UK businesses referenced RPA as bringing improved customer satisfaction to their transformation strategy.

Supporting the understanding that RPA plays an essential part in digital transformation, the research revealed that over two thirds (80%) of organisations involved in the survey have a robotics process automation strategy in place, with 82% using RPA to automate business processes.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...