Avoiding setbacks in the intelligent automation race
Cliff Justice - Published on 09/08/2018
Executives have high expectations for the impact of intelligent automation, but they're not yet ready to implement it from the top down and at scale. They'll struggle to get adequate ROI until they recognize two critical issues: 1) intelligent automation investment decisions need to be C-level strategy imperatives, 2) intelligent automation is about business and operating model transformation not simply technology deployment.
It's not clear whether most companies understand that intelligent automation is about changing business processes, and then restructuring the organization around those new processes now driven by technologies that didn't exist before. This means shifting the business and operating model from one of people supported by technology to one of technology supported by people. It's a digital-first operating model.
KPMG recently undertook a study to understand the reasons for and implications of deploying IA and what it takes to scale. KPMG professionals interviewed executives from numerous industries and geographies worldwide about their experiences with deployment and their perspectives on the future. Most emphasized that IA is poised to digitally transform their companies and industries and profoundly impact their employees' roles.
At the same time, executives highlighted several challenges. In addition to grappling with the extraordinary pace of change, they are faced with understanding and choosing among hundreds of technology options, the need for effective data and analytics, prioritizing automation focus, and defining their future workforce. KPMG research considered three main areas of intelligent automation -- basic or robotic process automation (RPA), enhanced automation and cognitive automation.
These results underscore the need to not only act quickly but to plan deployments strategically with scale in mind. Most companies' executives acknowledged they are still experimenting only with RPA, applied to legacy applications and processes. With such a narrow focus and a bottom-up approach, they have not positioned themselves to transform their business and operating models so they can become and remain competitive with digital-first companies.