Tag: RPA

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.

Five Keys to Unlocking the Benefits of RPA for Enterprises | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

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.

RPA Value blog image

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?

RPA Framework blog image

At the end of the day, however you choose to move forward with RPA technology, start by considering your enterprise’s use cases and business requirements. Then, build the business cases to support them. And then set your automation team loose on an increasingly exciting new set of capabilities.

Click here to read more of our RPA thought leadership

View a complimentary abstract of the Enterprise RPA Adoption | Pinnacle Model™ Analysis

How Banking is Adopting and Using AI Technology | In the News

The pace at which companies are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) continues to gain momentum and the financial sector is not immune to this trend. According to research by global management consultancy Accenture, banks that invest in AI and human-machine collaboration tools could boost their revenue by over a third (34 per cent) by 2022.

Robotic process automation (RPA) that uses cognitive AI is being deployed by banks to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, and many large finance firms are already seeing benefits.

Therefore it’s not surprising that, according to data by analyst firm Everest Group, banks and financial firms account for 40 per cent of the RPA independent software vendor market.

Read more in IDG Connect

Where Most Companies Go Wrong In Digital Transformation | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Many companies’ senior leaders and board of directors believe a company can buy digital technology, implement it and get the benefit of it in a few months. That’s an illusion. Because of the depth and breadth of change required to succeed, that belief is not realistic. The record of studies on digital transformation indicate a high failure rate, with a notable 2013 McKinsey study finding that 70% fail. That is a lot of wasted time, money and unmet expectations. In investigating why digital transformation often fail to meet expectations, I find several factors contribute to the failures. However, I believe the biggest problem is the mind-set. This is where most companies go wrong.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

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.

Smart Interactions in the Cloud — June 6 | Event

Automation expert and research VP Sarah Burnett will speak at the NICE 2018 Smart Interactions in the Cloud event in London on June 6. She will be part of a breakout session where they discuss how organizations are using the latest developments in RPA to get ahead of the competition.

About the event: Interactions 2018 will feature over 25 sessions, with over half of them led by industry experts and NICE customers. The conference features a rich array of breakout tracks dedicated to helping you and your organisation succeed in areas such as customer experience, operational efficiency and compliance.

 

When

June 6, 2018

Where

Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club
Fulham Road
London
SW6 1HS
United Kingdom

Speaker

Sarah Burnett, Research VP, Everest Group

Learn more and register

WorkFusion Ascend Summit — June 5-6 | Event

Research VP Sarah Burnett will be an expert speaker at the 2018 WorkFusion Ascend Summit in London held on June 5 and 6. On Tuesday, June 5, she will present on the very hot topic of Trends in Intelligent Automation and what orgs need to pay attention to now.

Sarah will also participate in a panel discussion on the best practices of AI-powered RPA and how to get better outcomes from this disruptive technology.

 

When

June 5, 2018

Where

Tobacco Dock: Wapping Lane
London, E1W 2SF

Speaker

Sarah Burnett, Research VP, Everest Group

Learn more and register

Two Key Enablers for ROI in Robotic Process Automation | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

I spoke with Peter Quinn, who orchestrated the highly successful Robotic Process Automation (RPA) implementation at a large wealth management firm, about some of his insights and lessons learned. In that discussion, two of his methodologies stood out to me. That’s because they’re great examples of key enablers for achieving superior business outcomes through RPA. His methodologies for funding the implementation and for change management led to capturing greater ROI from RPA.

In our Pinnacle Model™ research at Everest Group, we investigated more than 200 leading companies undertaking RPA adoption. While the cost savings from RPA were similar across all the enterprises we studied, we found that Pinnacle Enterprises™ – those that achieved superior business outcomes – achieved a significantly higher (4X) return on investment.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

 

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