New research finds
majority of organizations prioritizing automation skills and cloud-based
delivery in order to ramp up Intelligent Automation
London, 26th November 2019: Almost a third of UK businesses report that a
lack of skilled resources and difficulties in managing bots are the two biggest
barriers to increased automation within their organization.
30% of automation
strategy leaders cite skills as the biggest operational challenge they face in
scaling up their automation initiatives, whilst 31% point to the complexity and
cost of bot lifecycle management as the top technological challenge.
Research published today by Thoughtonomy, a Blue Prism company, and Teknowlogy,
reveals that the majority (60%) of UK businesses are planning to at least double their
current level of process automation over the next five years.
However, the white
paper, ‘Taking Automation to the
next level’, reveals how organizations are encountering a range of
challenges that they must overcome in order to scale their automation
programmes and to take full advantage of Intelligent Automation, where AI and
machine learning is integrated into automation in order to deliver more
Along with a lack
of skilled resource, other operational barriers to greater levels of automation
include a lack of engagement between business and IT stakeholders (cited as the
biggest challenge by 24% of strategy leaders), a lack of buy-in from the
general workforce (22%), and a failure to gain the right level of sponsorship
within the business (7%).
given the evolution of automation technology and the emergence of intelligent
automation, 18% of strategy leaders pointed to a lack of access to cognitive
and AI skills as the number one barrier to scaling up their automation.
organisations look to increase the pace of automation, they are encountering a
new set of technology challenges. The research shows that the cost and
complexity of process automation platforms was the main stumbling block for
organsiations when they first began their automation programmes. However, as they
now look to scale these initiatives over the next five years, bot lifecycle
management, software licensing and virtualization costs (26%) and low bot
utilization levels (24%) are deemed to be the biggest barriers.
In response to these
challenges, organizations are selecting automation platforms based on a broader
range of technology factors. 58% of automation strategy leaders report that
their selection of an automation platform provider was influenced by its cloud
delivery model, 54% by its technology roadmap and 52% by the flexibility and
scalability of its solution.
Terry Walby, CEO of
Thoughtonomy, said: “As organizations plan to expand their use of intelligent
automation to drive productivity and business performance over the next few
years, they will encounter a new set of challenges that they need to overcome.
Business leaders need to ensure they have access to the specialist skills they
need to roll out their automation programmes in a seamless way, as well as
developing the right skills and behaviours across the broader workforce to
ensure that all staff feel comfortable and confident working alongside virtual
workers. Equally as important, they need to ensure they have the right automation
platform in place – that means a cloud-based delivery model which can scale at
speed as they accelerate their automation delivery.”
In order to develop the
right governance structures, 24% of businesses have created a Centre of
Excellence (CoE), tasked with ensuring that automation programmes are
approached in a consistent and coordinated way across the organization and with
supporting different departments to beging to automate processes.
However, strategy leaders
believe that a more de-centralized approach is required as they scale up their
automation programmes. Only 12% believe that expanding the CoE is the best way
to accelerate the adoption of process automation within their organization,
compared with 79% who favour expanding distributed teams across the business.
9% feel that a combination of both is the best approach.
Nick Mayes, Principal
Analyst at teknowlogy Group, said: “Strategy leaders need to strike a balance
between ensuring a consistent approach to automation across the business
through a central function, and the benefits that a more distributed model can
bring in helping to accelerate adoption and demonstrating value across
different silos. This research reinforces the importance of laying the right
foundations and planning for scale, even for organizations that are just
starting out on their automation journey. This means putting in place
governance structures, skills development programmes and automation platforms
which are able to flex beyond single use cases and take full advantage of
intelligent automation across all parts of the business in the future.”
The research finds that
many organizations are building significant internal resources to drive their
automation strategies forward. 44% of strategy leaders report that they have a
team of between 10 and 50 employees tasked with driving the use of process
automation across the business. And within larger enterprises of more than
10,000 staff, 70% have automation teams with in excess of 50 employees.
Walby concluded: “Forward
thinking business leaders are recognizing the huge potential of intelligent
automation, not only in delivering short-term operational efficiencies within
specific departments, but the longer-term strategic possibilities, driving
business transformation across the organization and creating new opportunities
The full research findings are available in the ‘Taking
Automation to the next level’ white paper, available for download here. The report offers
practical guidance to senior decision-makers that are looking to lay the right
foundations for developing a scalable strategy for automation from the outset.
Thoughtonomy enables organisations to enhance the productivity of their workforce through the intelligent automation and digitisation of knowledge work. It uses AI and robotic process automation software that is delivered straight from the cloud to emulate how people work, allowing companies to add flexible resources to their team without disruption and delivering rapid ROI.
The full research findings are available in the ‘Taking Automation to the Next Level’ white paper, available for download here.