And the Survey Says… (Intelligent Automation Edition): Automate Smarter August 2022

Jon Knisley
Written by:
Jon Knisley

It must be survey season. Our email and social media feeds have been flooded this month with reports and research from analysts and industry. For organizations looking to benchmark their intelligent automation journey, these surveys provide a quick and easy way to check progress and see how their peers are performing.


Plenty of runway for automation

Companies have yet to achieve automation’s full potential, and even organizations meeting their targets still face a lengthy journey to the finish line. Although executives reported it’s possible to automate at least one-quarter of their organizations’ tasks over the next five years, less than 20% say their organizations have already scaled automation technologies across multiple parts of the business, according to the latest McKinsey Global Survey.

Automation is taking hold across industries and regions. 70% of respondents now say their organizations are at least piloting automation technologies in one or more business units, up from 66% in 2020 and 57% in 2018. For the 13% of organizations with no plans to automate, the largest share say it is because there are few clear opportunities for doing so. Insufficient resources is the second most-cited reason for not automating.


Ready, aim, fire

Executives are prioritizing the high-value operational, customer and financial processes for automation that have the biggest impact on growing revenues, streamlining operations, and improving customer and employee experience. Kofax’s 2022 Intelligence Automation Benchmark highlights eight workflows where business leaders are hoping to put Intelligent Automation to work.

The top priority workflows include: accounts payable automation (85%), transaction processing (84%), bank statement processing (83%), document security management (83%), invoice automation (82%), onboarding (78%), digital mailroom (77%), and claims processing (77%). The process transformation clearly has a long way to go as many of the workflows were still partially or entirely manual, and none of the respondents have fully automated any of the targeted workflows they report as being critical.


It takes a village

The greater use of a range of intelligent automation tools appears to help transformation. Deloitte’s 7th annual Global Intelligent Automation survey reports RPA and OCR technologies have finally hit the mainstream. 74% are already implementing RPA, and 50% are already implementing OCR. Organizations are building on the successes of the early adopters and using the full suite of intelligent automation tools. AI is the next most desirable emerging technology, with 46% planning to implement AI in the next three years, followed by 43% for process mining and monitoring.

Low-code technologies are on the rise too. In 2020, 24% had already implemented low-code. This year, the figure has risen to 40%. The number of organizations with no plans to implement low-code has dropped from 47% in 2020 to only 30% this year. The rise in these technologies opens the door for better human-machine integration.


Power to the people

Support for citizen developers continues to increase year over year. In 2022, 84% of organizations reported they were willing to broadly encourage citizen developers or allow them to participate in some aspect of bot development. That’s up from 53% in just one year, according to Automation Anywhere’s annual Now & Next Report.

The key drivers of the accelerating support for citizen development are reported to be (1) improved security or monitoring abilities, (2) increased employee interest or awareness, (3) access to low-code/no-code tools, (4) additional training and resources for IT to support citizen developers, (5) greater executive support, and (6) additional budget resources.


Mining for (process) gold

Shared Service Organizations (SSOs) in 2022 are focused on cost savings, efficiency, value creation, and digital transformation across their business, which is why end-to-end (E2E) process automation has become such a hot topic for practitioners. SSON’s Intelligent Automation 2022 Benchmarking Survey provides a good look at where SSOs stand with automation as they look to transform E2E processes.

SSOs typically invest in RPA without having completed a proper deep dive into their current processes and their readiness for automation. With process discovery and mining, SSOs have a resource that helps them determine which processes would benefit the most from automation. 43% of respondents had yet to invest in process mining and/or discovery. Meanwhile, 35% have invested, and 9% are looking to in the next six months to one year. Those that have invested in one of these tools tend to choose process mining (35%) over discovery (19%).


Start now, think big, go fast

Building a scalable, sustainable intelligent automation solution with tools like advanced workflow capabilities and AI-powered process discovery means your enterprise has the power and resiliency it needs to serve customers right.

If you want to learn more about how IA helps you win in the market and delivers operational excellence to the enterprise, let’s talk.

Written by:
Jon Knisley