The end-to-end automation of processes plays a crucial role in the digital transformation of companies. In the current study “Intelligent Automation 2023” by CIO, CSO and Computerwoche, 73% of companies attach very great or great importance to process automation. 56% of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the current status of their process automation. However, less than half rate the proportion of fully automated processes as high or very high.
To ensure successful implementation, process automation should be taken into account in the strategic objectives. While around half of the companies (51%) have defined their own automation strategy, in many companies process automation is part of the general business strategy (48%) or the digitization strategy (43%).
Goals of process automation
The most important goals that companies want to achieve with the help of process automation include accelerated processes (45%), greater cost efficiency (38%), higher customer satisfaction (33%), reduced susceptibility to errors (30%), a reduction in the workload for employees (23%) and better quality of products and services (20%). The key criteria used to measure the success of automation initiatives are profitability (40%), time savings (37%) and return on investment (35%). Large companies also include customer and employee satisfaction (31% each) in the measurement of success more often than average, while this aspect is only relevant for 21% and 18% of smaller companies.
Prerequisites for automated processes
Successful process automation requires high data quality in the company. However, this prerequisite is far from being met in all companies. 60% of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the existing quality level of their data.
Furthermore, success also depends on whether process automation is accompanied by change management and a change in corporate culture. This is because process automation breaks up familiar ways of working and thus has a considerable impact on employees’ everyday working lives. However, companies still have some convincing to do in this regard. Only 37% of respondents agreed with the statement that process automation should be accompanied by change management. 46% consider a cultural change to be necessary as part of an automation project.
RPA or IPA?
As the means of choice for process automation, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is currently slightly ahead of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). For 53%, RPA has been strategically embedded for some time or recently, compared to 50% for IPA. Just under two-thirds of companies state that they will definitely or probably invest in RPA in the next twelve months. The comparable figure for IPA is 52%. However, the results of the study indicate that the importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning for process automation will increase. In the future, 29% firmly plan to use IPA, and 26% plan to use RPA.
How companies find the right solution
When it comes to selecting an RPA or IPA solution, the ability to integrate with the existing IT landscape and cloud services plays the most important role (40%), followed by security aspects (31%), low implementation effort (30%), licensing costs (27%) and ease of use (23%). AI technologies such as voice assistants, natural language processing (NLP) and optical character recognition (OCR) are already used by 60% of respondents.