We just completed our webinar on our shared services or GIC Talent Pinnacle Model. And what were trying to there is understand, what are those key business issues.
So the first thing we looked at is how the talent shortage is becoming chronic. And one of the statistics I used here with clients – I talk about how it used to be that executives were just concerned about the top talent – “how do I get the best talent in the organization” – so they can have an impact on the rest of the organization. But now, as we become more chronic in the numbers – and what I mean by the number is ten years ago, in the US, it used to be 700 people looking for 100 jobs. And right now in the U.S., we have 90 people looking for those same 100 jobs.
And so, what you’re finding is that there is more demand than there is supply in that conversation. But it’s a bit of a tale of two worlds. While you have shortages in the U.S. and Europe you’ve got a very different thing going on in low-cost locations, especially like India. And there, there’s not a shortage of talent, it’s finding the right talent – they’re concerned with, “how do I take the existing pool of people in and upskill them or reskill them into the needed skills for the organization to go forward.
So, what we’ve done is look at the Pinnacle Model, and we have found that there is a very dramatic cause and effect. And what we’re looking at in the Pinnacle Model – the way it works is you’ve got capabilities on the X axis, and you’ve got outcomes on the Y axis. And what you’re looking for is a nice correlation that goes from lower left to upper right. And what we’re trying to do there is establish the things that make a difference. And so, what we did in the rest of the video was talk about those capabilities that made that difference.
So we think those are impactful items, and if people were endeavoring to execute on those items, they got the results they were looking for. So click the link, and take a look.
There is little doubt that 2018 has been an interesting year. And it makes one wonder what’s ahead. As we all know, the fate of most businesses is now based upon the global economy. In the U.S., the economy has been on fire with great GDP growth, record stock markets (until the recent dip!), and unemployment rates that are at generational lows. But President Trump’s “America First” policies have introduced a layer of uncertainty to the business world. And the rest of the world certainly has experienced a mixed bag of economic results. So, what’s next? While it is easy to worry about rising interest rates, tariffs, increasing global/regional geopolitical tensions, and maybe even global warming – none of these issues are directly within your business’ leadership team’s control. Yet, there is one common issue (at least in the U.S./European markets) that is becoming even more persistent, and that is the talent shortage across many different segments of the economy. Our hypothesis is that organizations are going to need to double down on their automation efforts to get more productivity out of their existing workforce. Do you agree with our automation prediction? Or are there other challenges more pressing for your organization? We want to hear what you think are truly the most important topics impacting your organization and its plans for 2019. Take our 10-minute survey and let us know what you think about:
Your top growth challenges
Changes in global services buying centers and service delivery activities
Your digital priorities
Your talent challenges and priorities
As thank you for your participation, we’ll share a summary of the results; you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the areas where your peers are focusing their attention. Are they the same as yours? Completely different? A mix? Will 2019 be a repeat of 2018 Crazytown? Take the survey and see. (Although no promises on getting the right answer to that last one.) TAKE ME TO THE SURVEY
How hot has Summer 2018 been around the globe? Red hot…but not as hot as the RPA marketplace. The speed of evolution in this industry segment is almost without precedent. Firms that had revenues worth tens of millions of U.S. dollars just a couple of years ago are talking about reaching a billion in revenue in just a couple of more years. So why all the excitement? Some chalk it up to Robotic Process Automation being a clever product idea and others to the even cleverer marketing of sexy robots. But the reality is that it’s the perfect storm – or heat wave – of innovation and capital intersecting at just the right time.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that enterprises have already captured most of the potential value from offshore labor arbitrage. But when you combine the need for a new source of cost savings with the acute shortage of labor in the U.S. and Europe, you have a market condition in which enterprises are screaming for automation that allows continued productivity improvements for less money, with less human labor-based effort.
The RPA Virtuous Circle Story
These four keys make up the RPA virtuous circle: More sophisticated software platforms, real value propositions, significant capital infusion, and aggressive buy/build decisions. Let's unpack each one to get the full story. More sophisticated software platforms – the software platforms underlying RPA are not new; some of them have been around for many years. But as interest and revenues in the segment grow, the vendors are investing in better software and getting invaluable real-life implementation experience. And great use cases and robust feedback loops will drive enhanced software innovation. Real value propositions – while a great idea is always fun to talk about, the story quickly fades if the economics are insufficient. In RPA’s case, enterprises are finding real savings and, probably most important, operational improvement. What makes this such an exciting story is that RPA doesn’t apply to just one aspect of the enterprise – it applies anywhere human resources are being deployed for labor-intensive services. So not just G&A functions, but also core business operations. Significant capital being infused – where there is monetary value creation, Wall Street and Silicon Valley will certainly be found nearby. In the RPA segment, multiple investments in excess of US$100 million have been made. In total, we have seen more than a half billion dollars in investments in just the past six months. These are huge flows of capital, especially considering that in many cases they far exceed current revenues. Aggressive buy/build decisions – of course, when that much capital is deployed, there’s tremendous pressure to take action to generate real, quantifiable results. The most obvious is to deploy larger sales/account teams to support the growth. But, there will be also significant development needs as use cases expand. We also anticipate that RPA firms will go on a buying spree of niche competitors or companies that increase automation functionality for items like OCR, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing. Right now, the velocity of the Virtuous Circle is increasing…better software, increased enterprise value propositions, and another round of investments. To learn more about Everest Group’s take on RPA, view the replay of our popular August 8 webinar on the latest developments and implications for enterprises. By registering, you will also receive a a copy of the presentation and deck for download after the webinar.
My recent meetings with the top RPA vendors made it clear that RPA is shifting into new gears of adoption and implementation. But the vendors also made it clear that the true promise of RPA is getting lost in flashy headlines and hype-ridden marketing messages. Here are my five recommendations for how enterprises can drown out the noise and harness RPA’s real benefits.
Experimentation is Over – The Value is Real
The question “Should I pursue RPA?” has been answered and is widely being replaced with “How can I leverage RPA to gain the most value?” As you see in the graphic below, the benefits of RPA are very real. Nearly every enterprise we have spoken with is seeing real savings – typically around 30 percent lower cost and 30-50 percent improvement in accuracy, cycle time, staff productivity, etc.
Forget about RPA Vendors’ Pitches
Despite all the hype, enterprises must remember that RPA vendors are not selling a digital workforce; they are selling software that can speed up, improve, and support many processes currently performed by staff members. While this is sophisticated software, it’s not a physical entity or an army of robots. It can be tempting to get lost in the imagery, but enterprises need to be careful not to lose sight of what they are getting. Otherwise, they can be left with the feeling that vendors have overpromised and underdelivered.
Ignore the Buzz Words
From OCR to NLP to Intelligent Automation, there’s no shortage of RPA buzzwords. But the labels themselves don’t really matter. What does matter is the ability to identify processes that are using precious staff resources, limiting operational improvement, or diminishing the customer or employee experience. Enterprises should start with the process they want to improve and then approach the vendor with that specific need as the starting point in the context of their overall automation – including and beyond RPA – journey.
Focus on the Operating Fundamentals
The basics of building an enterprise automation capability can seem amazingly easily…until it becomes obvious that it’s not. Some enterprises undoubtedly acquire robots for simple plug-and-play automation. But when mission critical processes come into play, serious and complex issues – like enterprise-grade security and business continuity – come into play and must be carefully and thoughtfully addressed. Don’t allow these issues to become barriers to RPA adoption (as many enterprises do), because, if well implemented, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Automation Tools are a Must for Business Growth
Automation tools can help enterprises tackle the labor shortage challenge by making their existing teams more productive and retaining key employees by offering opportunities to perform higher-value work. Although cost savings are important, an automation-augmented workforce is key to competing and excelling in the marketplace. To help you avoid getting caught up in the industry hype around RPA, we’ve created a simple graphic that describes the four key dimensions you should be thinking about. This enterprise automation analysis framework looks beyond vendors’ marketing pitches and addresses questions based on opportunities from your point of view, including:
Business problem complexity – how big and complex is the business process?
Rate of operational improvement – how much of a business process improvement do we want to see?
Solution/technology investment – which of the many different automation solutions should we deploy (considering investment and benefit)?
Operational execution – how do we best implement in your organization?
Chief Research Guru Michel Janssen shares three sneak peeks from the forthcoming report: Enterprise RPA Adoption | Pinnacle Model™ Assessment for 2018. The full report - featuring survey results from several enterprises adopting RPA - will be released soon and will challenge multiple assumptions and myths circulating around the industry today. After surveying enterprises about RPA adoption across a wide swath of industries, we have finalized the analysis and are about to release a goldmine of data. The new research is full of insights for enterprises looking to take a confident step forward in their journey toward Pinnacle RPA status. In this video, Chief Research Guru Michel Janssen shares three sneak peeks from the forthcoming report: Enterprise RPA Adoption | Pinnacle Model™ Assessment for 2018. After surveying enterprises about RPA adoption across a wide swath of industries, we have finalized the analysis and are about to release a goldmine of data. The new research is full of insights for enterprises looking to take a confident step forward in their journey toward Pinnacle RPA status. In this video, Chief Research Guru Michel Janssen shares three sneak peeks from the forthcoming report: Enterprise RPA Adoption | Pinnacle Model™ Assessment for 2018. After surveying enterprises about RPA adoption across a wide swath of industries, we have finalized the analysis and are about to release a goldmine of data. The new research is full of insights for enterprises looking to take a confident step forward in their journey toward Pinnacle RPA status. In this video, Chief Research Guru Michel Janssen shares three sneak peeks from the forthcoming report: Enterprise RPA Adoption | Pinnacle Model™ Assessment for 2018.
Now that we've put the finishing touches on our first-of-its kind assessment of enterprise RPA adoption around the globe, we’re seeing a full dismantling of several RPA assumptions and myths. After surveying enterprises across a wide swath of industries, we have finalized the analysis and are releasing a goldmine of data and insights for enterprises looking to take a confident step forward in their journey toward Pinnacle RPA status. While the full results are laid out in our Enterprise RPA adoption | Pinnacle Model™ Analysis for 2018, I want to provide an overview of some of the findings here that I think you’ll find interesting.
RPA adoption is size- and industry-agnostic across enterprises
Enterprise RPA adoption is not a trend for big organizations in certain industries to pursue while smaller players maintain the status quo. Stagnation is a recipe for complete disaster in the industry’s rotation to digital. In our research, we’ve found that all types and sizes of enterprises are adopting RPA. This includes both top-down adoption across the org to improve overall speed to impact and bottom-up adoption where segments of orgs are adopting RPA to optimize specific processes. Regardless of size and type, enterprises are going all-in and getting results.
So, what happens if you’re not a part of that? Well, you can imagine the way Toys ‘R Us execs felt when they realized they were about to watch the titan enterprise enter into complete oblivion. Part of that is due to a failure to transform the model in the age of digital transformation. Enterprises that are not thinking in the direction of some level of enterprise RPA adoption are in danger of charting a course to that same end. The takeaway here is clear: adopt or be disrupted.
RPA Pinnacle Enterprises™ significantly excel in three impact areas
RPA Pinnacle Enterprises exceed others in the three critical areas of cost impact, operational impact and business impact. Statistically, they have seen a 50% improvement in operational impact alone. Those enterprises not at the Pinnacle level, but who are still adopting RPA, have seen a 30% improvement. So the news for all enterprises moving along the RPA adoption curve is either good or great – there is really no bad news here. This is a fascinating and important statistic for all enterprises, and warning of what’s to be missed out on for those on the sidelines of adoption.
RPA and massive job loss is a myth
Automation is soon to be a driving factor for sweeping job losses across all industries. While that’s great fodder for headlines, blog titles, and social media clicks, the actual enterprises we’re talking to aren’t singing that song at all. I talk about this more in a recent blog, The Robots are Coming – Should You Fear or Welcome Them, but in essence, enterprises are talking about reskilling, upskilling, and enhanced training; they’re not talking about eradication of the human element. As you might have heard, in the midst of this rotation to digital across all industries, we’re actually experiencing a labor shortage in the United States and Europe. We’re just not seeing it in the headlines. Instead of the comparison to Skynet or some other Terminator-related theme, a better comparison for RPA and jobs is one that involves our actual history. When you review what happened in the industrial revolution, you don’t find the entire workforce replaced by machines (Of course, individuals were impacted at various levels). Instead, you find massive reskilling and upskilling so that the new technology can complement and improve human effort – AND by improving productivity, allow our companies to continue to grow even in the face of a labor shortage. That’s much more along the lines of what enterprises are discussing, planning, and doing. Unfortunately, news like that doesn’t make the cut for trending stories.
RPA Pinnacle Enterprise webinar
Many more in-depth details about these enterprise RPA trends are laid out in our Pinnacle Model analyses. Moreover, this research is brimming with data-packed analysis on what is truly differentiating Pinnacle RPA enterprises from the rest of the pack. The kind of analysis that all enterprises are clamoring for as they determine where they are on their journey to Pinnacle, and decide what the next best steps should be. We also hosted a webinar on April 12 that dispels popular myths surrounding RPA using our fact-based analysis from the RPA Pinnacle Model study. Watch the webinar replay. Please contact us with any questions you may have about our Pinnacle Model analyses, or reach me directly at [email protected].
You might recall, back in December we identified digital agility as a key 2018 initiative. In that blog, we discussed how you can create business value by making things easy, reliable, and fast for your customers. The question I would ask GIC organizations for 2018: In realizing that goal, are you part of the problem? Or are you part of the solution? Our research, Digital Maturity in GICs | Pinnacle Model™ Assessment 2018, seeks to answer those questions. Most GICs started small and expanded over time as they proved their value. Now that most GICs have realized the fundamental benefits of labor savings, quality and process improvement, and – in some cases – business outcome improvement, it’s time for them to look to their next act. Our central thesis is that a GIC can be a critical driver in building and running new digital competencies. But we want to hear from you about the functions and processes that are getting the most attention and investment. Which digital technologies are you focusing their efforts on? And what capabilities did you deploy to build out these capabilities? There are plenty of digital surveys that you can participate in, so – why Everest Group’s? Because we take a different approach that results in more meaningful, useful outputs. Our Pinnacle Model™ approach asks questions about what the very best GICs are doing in terms of real impact and then correlate the capabilities required to achieve those results. And we go beyond the online survey, talking with some respondents to understand their journeys – what worked and what didn’t. With that information in hand, we identify a set of Pinnacle Practices™ that you can consider deploying in your GIC. Yes, there is a ton of hype around digital; let’s get beyond the headlines and talk outcomes and practices in your GIC. Take the survey
Our banking analyst team just finished its evaluation of how the leading North American retail banks are doing in their efforts to create the best digital customer experience, and we want to share some highlights from this breakthrough research. This is our third year of assessing 30 of the largest retail banks. The premise for the research is to examine the new consumption context of financial services – where customers are demanding a SUPER (Secure, Ubiquitous, Personalized, Easy, Responsive) banking experience. Our research assessed the functionality and pervasiveness of the banks’ consumer-facing digital interaction layer to help establish correlations with superior customer experiences, stronger customer engagement, and higher overall business growth. Based on our research, nine U.S. banks (Ally Bank, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, PNC, SunTrust, USAA Bank, and Wells Fargo) and two Canadian banks (CIBC and RBC) have been featured as “Digital Banking Pinnacle Enterprises™.” These banks demonstrated business results that stood above the rest:
Better growth – 3% higher growth in deposits
Better efficiency – 9% lower efficiency ratio
Better customer experience – 20% higher mobile application ratings
We have also recognized four retail banks as “Agile Performers,” as they made the greatest improvements in 2017. These banks include Ally Bank and Bank of America, both of which launched multiple initiatives to meet millennials’ customer experience expectations, such as virtual assistants for personalized experiences and voice-command enabled banking capabilities. USAA demonstrated best-in-class adoption of digital banking channels and maintained its frontrunner position in customer-centric innovation. USAA also joined the cryptocurrency world by adding the ability to display customers’ bitcoin balances. SunTrust made considerable investments into self-service technologies across its branch network and recorded strong growth in customer engagement on social media. The retail banking industry will continue to make dramatic changes in the next few years. These shifts will require banks to have increased capabilities to deliver an enhanced customer experience whose key elements include:
A paradigm shift from the current “product” mindset to a “customer lifestyle” mindset to combine, package, and offer products/services from banking and allied businesses
Open banking and partner ecosystems leveraging APIs to integrate third-party services into the bank’s digital banking platforms
Collapsing the siloes across the front-, mid-, and back-office to create a frictionless front-to-back experience
Harmonized data repositories to enable a unified view of the customer
A technology operating model that embraces automation, AI, blockchain, and cloud to enable the needs of the “new business”
We believe the current Digital Banking Pinnacle Enterprises have created superior customer experiences because they deliberately invested in their digital capabilities. But the bar for success is constantly moving, as the industry continues to witness rapid and significant changes. Nonetheless, our data from the last three years establishes an increasing correlation between digital functionality and business outcomes. Banks that are able to quickly adopt a human-centered design thinking approach, build usable experiences, and create a culture of obsessive customer focus will be able to better differentiated experiences, achieve growth, create shareholder value, and ensure market relevance. To read all of our research findings, see our report: Digital Effectiveness in Retail Banking | Pinnacle Model™ Assessment 2018: Journey of North American Banks to Build SUPER Experiences
A few weeks back, we opened our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Pinnacle Model study to enterprises to compare their RPA adoption performances head-to-head. Everest Group Pinnacle ModelTM assessments are unique in that they correlate quantified outcomes and capabilities with a special spotlight on the Pinnacle Enterprises that are outperforming their peers. As part of the study process, we also interview select participants to gather qualitative information about these same enterprises. Having completed a number of these interviews and looking at some of the early tabulations from those have completed the RPA adoption survey, I'm sharing some of my early thoughts below.
Four thoughts on our RPA Pinnacle Enterprise survey results
The robots are truly coming, but the fears about the impact on jobs is way overblown – it is clear from our conversations that RPA is going to have an impact in many different parts of the organization, including both front office and back office, but the number of jobs being impacted is not going to be the primary value proposition. Yes, cost take out will be part of the equation, but it is highly likely it will impact slices of jobs and/or departments that will allow for those employees to be transitioned to higher-value tasks.
Improving the job for employees – One of the clear messages that we have heard so far is that employees are embracing RPA. In fact, the branding of these initiatives is about getting rid of the worst tasks of their current jobs and includes names like “Smart Automation” and “We Innovate.” In fact, many of these employees are already implementing their own home automations like Nest, Alexa, Google, Rachio, etc. and are becoming quite comfortable with these quality of life improvements automations. One of the enterprises we spoke with actually talked about seeing improvements in their employee retention rates when they were included in these initiatives and allowed to improve their own jobs. However, change management has not been “easy,” and companies have adopted various ways to create awareness about the benefits of RPA and how employees can use it to be more effective in their jobs. Some of the examples of approaches include workshops, training programs, newsletters, project of the year, and hackathons.
The real skirmish is between the business units and IT for ownership – one of the interesting aspects of this analysis is to see where the study participants reside in their organizations. In the conversations, it becomes apparent the business is the one driving the conversation and IT has been the reluctant partner. But I got the sense this was changing pretty quickly, and IT was beginning to see the light that they have to be part of these implementations for a variety of reasons. Also, organizations have internally gone through a debate as to whether to approach this is an IT project or a business process redesign. We will be interested in hearing how your organization is thinking about this. Participate in the study.
We are just getting started – we can see it in the data and with our conversations, enterprises are running multiple RPA initiatives and projects are spread across RPA implementation stages. At least 65% of respondents are in the process of scaling up their RPA efforts or running steady-state automations. However, the majority of enterprises are still in their rookie year when it comes to setting up RPA CoEs (or expanding existing automation CoEs). The implications is that the initial proof of concepts projects are seeing enough promise that formal teams are being stood up to begin the scaling process.
We will be analyzing the data over the next several weeks so watch this blog for more interesting tidbits from those results. Join the party … it is not too late for you to participate. Take the survey to compare your enterprise RPA adoption to others in the industry.
Since the global financial crisis nearly 10 years ago, many enterprises have been riding high on the “free money” made available to them through endless central bank bond buying and low or even negative interest rates. But there’s zero doubt that this capital bubble will burst. And as the flood of money recedes, some organizations that have been “faking” their digital transformations, i.e., taking a non-strategic approach to digital, will falter. Others will likely fail. Does lack of a digital strategy really equate to such doom and gloom? You bet it does. Because digital isn’t just about technology. In fact, Everest Group’s definition of digital specifically looks beyond technology and focuses on how digital dramatically enhances the experience of users – customers, employees, and partners alike. Need to be convinced of the importance of a superior digitally-based experience? Look no further than the alarming number of retail stores that have closed and gone bankrupt because they haven’t been able to provide an Amazon-like experience. Of course, it’s just not the retail industry facing challenges. True digital transformation is and will cause future disruptions in the healthcare, financial, pharma, and other industries. Against that back-drop, here are my top five predictions for 2018, and what you should do to address them.
Top five digital predictions for 2018
Digital agility will be the basis for competitive advantage: Your business value will increasingly come from making things easy, reliable, and fast for your customers. To win in 2018 and beyond, your focus must not be on the functional attributes of your product or service, but instead on the context for how customers purchases and use them, and how you manage their relationship and interactions with your company. These will be the critical proof points for building and sustaining customer loyalty.
Delivering the right experience will become your organizing principle: The structural limitations of legacy organizational models – where functions and insights into customer needs and behaviors are fragmented and siloed – severely impact delivery of an enhanced customer experience. In order to effectively compete, you need to adjust structures, internal processes, incentives, reporting, and other levers to directly align to the customer experience. Imagine the impact if you took 20 percent of the team members in each of your functional departments and had them report to a newly-established customer experience department?
Success won’t be about the information you have, but what you do with the insights: Your organization has most likely built and analyzed large sets of data about your customers, products, operations, etc. But data is only valuable if you take action on the insights you gain from the information. In the words of Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of GE: “An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” And, borrowing Nike’s trademark: “Just do it.”
This won’t be your grandfather’s job: The increasing impact of technology and the acceleration of change will have dramatic impact on how humans are utilized and managed by companies. Success will mean increasingly virtualizing your employee and career models. These could take various shapes, including using talent free-agency models to staff initiatives, and replacing the concept of a career path with skill dashboards whereby individuals accumulate related sets of experiences and expand those experiences into new areas.
There will be seamless interaction between humans and automation: Don’t fret about the FUD around automation replacing human workers. RPA, analytics, and other new technologies are accelerating the need for humans to evolve their roles and skills, which means less effort on collecting and manipulating information and more focus on identifying insights, understanding needs, developing new ideas, and applying judgment to make decisions. Empowering your employees with knowledge on how to use these new technologies for higher value activities will provide you with a distinct advantage over your competitors.
Three no-regret actions to ensure you aren’t left entirely behind
Understand beyond your immediate competitive landscape. You can gain all kinds of gems and jewels on how to leapfrog the competition from businesses in sectors other than your own. Make the ask of enterprises you respect: most are generally willing to share, as long as you are too.
Get your digital technology degree. Educate yourself on how available technologies can be applied to competencies, processes, and activities that are relevant to you. What types of problems do they help solve? What are the new tools in the tool box, and how can they build upon each other?
Don’t go it alone; invite your friends. Every one of my above predictions have big implications that go well beyond one function or process. They’re enterprise-level initiatives that need the collective to succeed in a meaningful way. Silos need to develop a shared need and vision, which is generally the biggest barrier to fundamental digital change.
2018 may not be the year the money bubble bursts. But it is the year that you must make highly strategic digital investments. So, the question your enterprise should be asking itself is, “am I ready for it, or am I faking it?”