Deloitte finds 18% hike in robotic process automation

Almost all (95%) organisations that have implemented robotic process automation (RPA) say the technology has improved productivity, according to research from Deloitte, which also indicates 93% report improved compliance, but many are finding it hard to build up scale

The firm’s fourth annual survey, based on responses from 530 business leaders across organisations with combined revenues of $3.5 trillion (£2.65 trillion), also showed 81% agree RPA has reduced cost and 77% say it has provided better management information.

Currently only 5% of businesses implementing RPA are just doing so to reduce costs, compared to 21% of businesses who said the same in 2017.

Deloitte’s research has found that two thirds (67%) of organisations have now begun implementing a strategy for RPA, up from 49% in 2017.

The research indicated organisations are finding it hard to scale up robotics. Just 4% of organisations are now operating more than 50 robots, a negligible increase from 3% in 2017. A quarter (27%) are either piloting RPA with under 10 robots or have moved into full implementation with between 10 and 50 robots.

Respondents cited process fragmentation, the wide variation of offline and online tasks involved in processes set-out to be automated by robotics, as the main barrier to achieving scale (32%), followed by lack of a clear RPA vision (17%) and lack of IT readiness (17%).

Justin Watson, robotics and cognitive automation lead at Deloitte, said: ‘Few organisations have been able to scale robotics quickly, with many struggling to move beyond early experiments. Workforce behaviour needs to change in order to recognise the benefits of robotics and the potential boost to productivity.

‘We are now at a stage where the pace of robotic deployment has the potential to accelerate rapidly, but to fuel this organisations must have a clear vision, strategy and approach to automation.’

Deloitte Global Robotics Survey is here

Report by Pat Sweet

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