Blog 19/11/2018

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is taking the world by storm. To-date much of the attention has been on RPA for large-scale enterprises but RPA is also suitable for medium-sized growth companies. In fact, it can be instrumental to help them remain relevant to compete against larger, better-resourced competitors; and to grow without necessarily adding headcount.

Softomotive has recently completed a first-of-a-kind global survey to specifically focus on RPA for medium-sized growth companies. This involved nearly 600 companies participated, drawn from 7 countries and all the major regions in the world.

Here is a summary of the main highlights:

  •  Adoption of RPA is becoming more mainstream among MSBs looking for ways to improve operational effectiveness and lower costs. Among the MSBs surveyed in “Softomotive’s Global Study 2018, RPA Solutions for Growth Companies” nearly half (46%) are investigating or have already tried RPA on a small scale at this point. Even more (50%) have implemented RPA in their business or scaled it across multiple parts of the organization and geographies.

 

Adoption of RPA

Source: “Softomotive Global Study 2018, RPA Solutions for Growth Companies”

 

  • RPA adoption is the strongest in the Americas and Europe, but MSBs in Asia are gaining ground. For example, nearly three in ten MSBs surveyed in Japan are using RPA currently and many more are exploring or testing RPA in their organizations already.

 

  • Several functions within these organizations are realizing tangible benefits from RPA. RPA usage is strongest within IT / Technology and Business Operations processes. However, more than half are also using RPA within Finance / Accounting, HR, and Procurement.

 

  • MSBs are also finding new areas to leverage RPA with the understanding that any rules-based process represents an opportunity to automate. Unprompted, survey respondents identified a broad range of areas they are starting to use RPA to improve process performance including Supply Chain / Logistics, Marketing, Advertising, Product Management, Customer Service, Sales, and Legal to name a few.

 

The benefits these MSBs are realizing through RPA are encouraging:

  • The top three benefits of using RPA cited include improved productivity, better accuracy (i.e., reducing human error), and lower operating costs. Although any one of these benefits alone is often enough reason for MSBs to begin leveraging RPA, most are realizing multiple benefits including those closely tied to growth (enabling us to expand our business / grow faster), the customer (improving customer satisfaction / retention), and employees (freeing up employees to work on other “higher value” jobs / activities).

 

RPA benefits

Source: “Softomotive Global Study 2018, RPA Solutions for Growth Companies”

 

As a result, most MSBs are optimistic they will leverage RPA more in the future:

  • More than half of MSBs say they will use RPA “much more” than they do currently. Encouragingly, current RPA users are even more likely than potential users (those still investigating or trialling RPA) to indicate they will use RPA much more in the next couple of years (65% and 45% respectively).

In contrast, only 4% indicate they will maintain or reduce their use of RPA so its usage is likely to become more mainstream and MSBs not investigating how they can leverage it may soon be at a competitive disadvantage.

  • The push for RPA will likely come from the top if current adoption is an indicator of the future. MSBs in the study most often cited C-level executives, business unit heads, or vice presidents and directors as the key stakeholders driving the need for RPA in their organization. For many, even the CEO can get involved in driving the need for RPA at least one-fourth of the time or more.

 

 As RPA garners more interest, MSBs have good questions about how they can best leverage it in their organizations:

  • Most of these questions focus on three areas – determining where to start; the potential benefits and costs; and how to best implement RPA. These questions are interrelated as MSBs wrestle with what part of the organization, or even specific processes, to implement RPA; how difficult it will be to implement RPA considering current approaches and technologies; and what the ultimate payoff is in the end. The right RPA solution provider can help address these questions and greatly simplify what may appear to be a daunting task at the start.

 

  • These same RPA solution providers, with the right depth of experience and tools, can also alleviate other concerns identified by many MSBs. These include data security concerns, “software robot” reliability, system integration challenges, RPA vendor support worries, and any negative impact on employee morale.

 

To learn more about the study listen to our webcast of the full findings or download the whitepaper

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