Tag: robotic process automation

Have RPA Vendors been MARVELous? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

The relationship between RPA vendors and their clients isn’t so different from the relationship between Marvel Studios and its fans.

Since the movie Iron Man hit the big screen in 2008, fans’ expectations of superhero films have skyrocketed. Despite the rising and evolving expectations, Marvel has satisfied its audience and has made a little pocket change in the process.

In a similar way, RPA buyers are expecting increasingly more from their RPA vendors. So, have RPA technology vendors been MARVELous in their customers’ eyes?

The Drivers

Our recent research study among 50 enterprise RPA buyers makes it clear that vendors have excelled in addressing their primary drivers, which are cost reduction and process optimization.

RPA Vendors blog2
However, vendors didn’t score as high on secondary drivers such as improved customer experience, governance, and top-line growth. With increasing awareness about the potential impact of RPA beyond immediate cost and efficiency benefits, enterprises have started to view RPA as a primary contributor to their digital strategy, rather than a tactical measure.

Consequently, technology vendors should focus on continuously evolving their RPA solutions with a host of capabilities to help enterprise buyers achieve their strategic business outcomes.

The Capabilities

As to be expected, the buyers in our research study found their RPA vendors excelled in certain areas and had work to do in others.

The key strengths for those vendors who were identified as the Leaders as per our PEAK Matrix™ assessment on RPA included:

  • Customer support and service
  • Ease of use and robot development
  • Vision and strategy

Key improvement areas for Leaders included:

  • Responsiveness
  • Product vision and strategy
  • Product training and support

The X Factors

As there are so many RPA tools available in the market, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, it can be daunting for enterprises to select the right vendor for their unique needs. One critical part of the decision-making process is to focus on the X factors that are most important to their strategic agendas.

Our study found that factors including “ease of use and robot maintenance” and “scalability” highly correlate to buyers’ overall satisfaction levels. This is not surprising, as these are factors that buyers typically face issues with during RPA adoption. “Product vision and strategy” – and in some cases vendor expertise in a specific vertical industry or function – are also important buyer X factors.

While it’s clear that RPA vendors can do more to satisfy the needs of their customers – and that they’ll need to continually evolve their solutions – they have indeed been relatively MARVELous in delivering value and overall satisfaction to their buyers.

To learn more, please read our report “Buyer Satisfaction with RPA – How Far or Close is Reality From Hype.”

 

 

IEEE WIE International Leadership Summit 2018 — August 13-15 | Event

Research EVP and distinguished analyst Sarah Burnett will be a key speaker at the IEEE WIE International Leadership Summit held on August 13-15 in Southhampton. During her August 14 session, Sarah will unpack findings from industry-leading research into the capabilities of RPA and AI for enterprises, as well as how they can be combined for advanced automation of business processes.

Sarah’s presentation will highlight:

  • The capabilities of the two different types of technologies and how they differ in what they can offer
  • Evolution of RPA technology and its development into enterprise-grade software
  • How AI technologies are helping extend the scope of RPA, making it easier to apply, use and maintain
  • How the two combine to help enterprises automate more business processes
  • What the office of the future will look like with a mixed workforce of people, AI and robots
  • What the future holds in terms of technology and market development for real life applications of business process automation

About the event

The 2018 IEEE WIE International Leadership Summit (ILS) mission is to empower women to choose their own career path and facilitate the recruitment and retention of women in technical disciplines. Our summit is dedicated to promote women in Engineering, Science and Technology and inspire girls around the world to achieve rewarding careers in engineering.

When

August 13-15, 2018

Where

University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ

Speaker

Sarah Burnett, Research EVP and Distinguished Analyst, Everest Group

Learn more and register

RPA’s Virtuous Circle Story | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

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.

Related: Five Keys to Unlocking the Benefits of RPA for Enterprises

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

The RPA virtuous circle for business

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.

Symphony Robotic Operations Centre Launch — June 27-28 | Event

Research VP and RPA expert Sarah Burnett will be a key speaker at Symphony’s Robotic Operations Centre Launch in Krakow, Poland held on June 27-28.

Sarah’s presentation, Are “Colleagues” Electric?, will distill volumes of unique and detailed, industry-leading research on the rise of robots in enterprises. She will discuss the state of the automation market and its phenomenal growth, technology trends, how leading enterprises are taking advantage of the technology to get ahead of competition, and what the future holds for the industry.

Join Everest Group at this event for a round of discussions and presentations on the state of the automation market.

When

June 27-28, 2018

Where

Krakow, Poland

Speaker

Sarah Burnett, Research VP, Everest Group

Learn more about the event

Are Colleagues Electric? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

“Max, please send our new terms and conditions’ letter to all our Prime current account holders,” said Louise, a customer contact manager in a retail bank.

“I will ask Alf to do it. Is there anything else I can do for you today Louise?” Asked Max, the personal virtual helper on Louise’s desktop computer.

“Yes, please tell Alf to update Elsa.”

You may have guessed that Alf and Elsa are robots too – one processes letters for mailshots, the other makes records for regulatory compliance.

Is this scenario hype or reality?

Are colleagues going to be electric?  Everest Group data indicates that by 2021 there will be as many Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA), attended robots running on users’ desktops, assisting agents, and employees, as there are people currently delivering contact center outsourcing services globally; that means about three million attended robots by 2021.

There will also be a huge rise in the number of virtual workers or unattended Robotic Process Automation (RPA) robots, running on servers in data centers and delivering end-to-end process automation without the need for employees to activate them. Exhibits 1 and 2 highlight the projected rise of both attended and unattended robots through to 2021. These estimates are for robots purchased on license from independent third-party RPA software vendors. They exclude robots provided by vendors at no charge for proof of concepts, and training, etc.

Exhibit 1 – Attended robots

 

Exhibit 1 - Attended robots blog

Exhibit 2 – Unattended robots

Exhibit 2 – Unattended robots blog

Methodology

Our calculations are based on data from multiple Everest Group databases including but not limited to:

  • Revenue, average license costs, and growth of 18 RPA vendors projected out to the larger market
  • Numbers of people currently working in contact center outsourcing services, in Global in-house Centers (GICs), also known as shared services centers, in both front- and back-office functions globally

Everest Group analysis indicates that many colleagues will indeed be electric by 2021, a shift that will impact enterprises, not only in operations but also in terms of HR policies, recruitment, succession planning, process knowledge and other skills development, process and program document management, IT investment, management and maintenance, and business and IT continuity.

Sarah Burnett will be discussing this topic and other RPA trends during her talk at Symphony Venture’s Robotic Operations Centre Launch in Krakow, Poland on June 27.

RPA Study Reveals Difficulties in Achieving ROI | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Everest Group conducted a comprehensive study on enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) adoption. The study provided us with important insights into what allows companies to realize value from investing in RPA. For instance, at the outset, executives believe RPA is an easy way to automate tasks and thus increase productivity. But the study participants’ experiences reveal that, in theory, RPA is simple but, in practice, it’s difficult. Why? Because RPA is a digital transformation journey, and there are complications when trying to unleash digital transformation.

A company that wants to realize much value from implementing RPA must invest in the capability to drive automation. This involves more than configuring the robots. It requires process redesign, navigating the different stakeholders that have purview (security, IT, audit compliance, etc.) and navigating the business unit with the problem. Often the opportunities and problems span multiple business units, which requires coordinating and focus on multiple units and departments.

The technology itself is simple, but the problem of driving change is difficult. To overcome this, companies are establishing RPA Centers of Excellence (CoEs) – one of the best practices evident among 52 participants in our Enterprise RPA Pinnacle Model study. Getting IT involved early in the adoption effort is another best practice.

It’s very clear that companies that make the commitment and invest in resources to enable change to achieve a higher return on their investment. Pinnacle Enterprises™ – those that achieved superior outcomes as a result of their advanced capabilities – achieved 4X greater ROI than enterprises that didn’t take the RPA opportunity seriously by investing in such success factors as a COE, partners to do the configuration and coordinating the numerous stakeholders that need to be aligned to drive change. 4X is a huge difference in benefits!

A Surprising Outcome of the Study

In our detailed interview discussions with the companies participating in the study, we found significant frustration among the executives sponsoring RPA adoption. They discussed their struggles in trying to communicate with boards of directors and with the business units the need for adequate investment, support resources and the amount of change necessary to capture the value of RPA. The depth of the change and the extent of the investment is difficult for executives to convey to their organizations and their boards.

Interestingly, companies get a robust return from these investments in driving change. But because of the perception that the technology is simple, executives expect that value can be extracted without investment, without resources and without stakeholder alignment. This study clearly proves that is not the case.

One of our goals in the Pinnacle study was to investigate the participating companies across six dimensions of change required for RPA success so that they and other companies can learn from their experiences. A second goal was to develop an assessment tool. Any company can take the 30-minute questionnaire, followed by a four-hour workshop, and compare its RPA journey results against others’ experiences and against the Pinnacle companies, which are the most mature and achieving the most value from their investments.

We anticipated that people would compare their experiences against others, which would then give a practical road map where people can understand the investments and activities they needed to do to get a greater return from their RPA investment. In fact, this happened. Clearly, the people who take the assessment quickly identify the gaps they have against the best practices and build a road map to close the gaps.

The surprising outcome is that we didn’t anticipate how effective the assessment tool is for the executive sponsors of RPA to help communicate the level of effort and resources required. It’s a helpful communication vehicle for justifying the kind of investment and budget necessary to be a high-performing organization in extracting value from RPA and for getting the support for change and aligning stakeholder interests.

Assess Your Company’s Gaps

If your company is undertaking an RPA adoption journey, we believe you’ll get great value from going through this assessment process. Comparing your company’s results to other industries and leading companies will help you understand what you’re doing differently and help you build a road map to close the gaps. It will also provide a tool to help you discuss the business case for the appropriate amount of investment and the appropriate amount of resources necessary for top performance.

Each company progresses down the RPA adoption curve at its own pace. But there’s always something a company can learn from others. Even the best-performing companies – the Pinnacle Enterprises – benefited seeing what others had done and knowing where they should double down on investments and activities that capture value from RPA.

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