Automation of business processes gaining momentum

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Nearly 60% of all businesses processes, including the majority of the repetitive tasks that make up the back office, could well be performed by software robots within the next five years.

That's the key finding of a recent survey conducted by London-based market research company, Sapio Research, among 500 IT decision-makers working in companies employing 1 000 or more people in the US and UK.

The survey, which was conducted on behalf of business automation and robotics software company Redwood Software, found that on average, survey participants predicted that 59% of business processes would be automated by 2022. Some 70% of respondents said that robotics had become more of a priority in the last 12 months.

The key benefits of automation were listed as the speed of process and reduction of manual effort, while security and cost were regarded as the main risks.

The results of the survey highlighted the key role that robotics will play in the digital transformation, with 83% of respondents saying that they considered robotic automation to be "essential" or "very important" to digital transformation of their companies.

XHead = Driven by IT departments

In addition, the study showed that the vast majority of IT decision-makers saw automation as being driven by the IT department, CIO or CTO, with only 26% saying that they saw automation being implemented by other personnel.

"Companies are rapidly unlocking the potential of robotics and automation, and transforming their entire businesses in the process," said Dennis Walsh, president of Americas and Asia-Pacific, Redwood Software.

"The acceleration of this adoption in recent years means that will result in less mundane work, more strategic thinking and ever greater prominence for the IT department.

"The IT department has the most holistic view on the impact that automation can have on a business, so it is natural that they lead the implementation of automation. As C-level executives look to transform their businesses into truly digital operations, they will increasingly look to the IT team to provide insight, clarity and guidance into company-wide automation," Walsh added.

The survey results showed a clear gap in acceptance of robotics between the US and the UK, with the US consistently showing a greater adoption and prioritisation of automation and robotics.

Over 30% of US respondents said that robotics was a 'top priority' for them, compared with 19% in the UK. Seventy-eight percent of US respondents said it had become 'more of a priority' in the last 12 months, compared with 62% in the UK.

"There is no question that the US is currently the world leader in robotics automation. From heavy manufacturing to retail giants to tech innovators, the US has implemented automation solutions and is seeking others," Walsh concluded.

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