Analysis

The robots are waiting

Are you ready to reap the benefits?

The value of work done by robots is proven, and confidence in robotics has grown significantly over the last year. The benefits of robotic process automation (RPA) are now better understood with demonstrable and measurable results, and the value of automation lies in its ability to achieve benefits from augmenting as well as replacing human effort. However, despite all of this organisations are still struggling to scale RPA, rising by only 1% to 4% in the last 12 months.

Building on our findings from previous years, the fourth edition of Deloitte’s Global Robotics Report, The robots are waiting: are you ready to reap the benefits?, will explore why we believe organisations are still not managing to scale, and provide insights on how we believe organisations can overcome the common barrier to scale.

The robots are waiting Are you ready to reap the benefits?

Key Insights

The value of work done

Since 2016 there has been a noticeable shift in the executive aspirations for robotics from cost reduction to increased productivity, customer experience and the ability to deliver automation at significant scale. Key stakeholder support for RPA strategies has increased year-on-year including support from the IT function; the increase is in part due to the widely recognised benefits achieved by many robotics programmes.

  • More than 90% of organisations believe that RPA has met or exceeded their expectations on improved productivity, improved compliance and cost to implement.
  • Improved productivity and customer experience have overtaken cost reduction as the leading motivation for companies developing automation strategies.
  • Over 80% of organisations implementing or scaling RPA indicated a happier workforce.

Still struggling to scale

Despite evidence to suggest the conditions for automating at scale are in place, it is equally clear that organisations are struggling to scale in the way we might have anticipated only a year ago. Only four per cent of respondents to our survey are operating more than 50 robots, a one per cent increase on last year.

  • The number of organisations scaling the RPA strategy has risen by only 1% in the last year.
  • 27% are either piloting RPA with under 10 robots or have moved into full implementation with between 10 and 50 robots.
  • The top three citied barrier to scale are process fragmentation, lack of IT readiness and lack of a clear vision.

Barriers to scale

In the same way that executives are clear on the benefits of automation, and have secured senior stakeholder support to invest, it is also apparent they understand what prevents them from reaching substantial scale.

The top three cited barriers to achieving scale are process fragmentation, lack of IT readiness and lack of a clear vision.

Process fragmentation
  • To overcome this, organisations should be process and value-led; take a portfolio approach and experiment with cognitive.
  • Only 19% of organisations are focusing on RPA alone, aligning their strategy with cognitive technologies.
Lack of IT readiness
  • IT support for robotic process automation is critical to achieving substantial scale; and has almost doubled in the last year.
  • IT teams need to learn and adapt, and the pace of robot deployment will accelerate rapidly.
Lack of a clear vision
  • Organisations should ‘think big, start small’.
  • 70% of organisations are piloting robotic process automation as part of a company-wide initiative.

How to start scaling

Robotics is past the point of proof of concept. RPA is being used globally by organisations in every industry. As the appetite for automation grows, the importance of combining with emerging technologies will lead to fundamental changes in how all organisations operate and deliver services.

Deloitte’s Enterprise Automation Framework enables organisations to successfully achieve scale, maximising return from their automation investments.

At Deloitte, we have developed the R&CA Scaling Lab, an interactive exploration of how combining R&CA technologies can create greater value. By exploring the untapped benefits of combining RPA and cognitive automation and understanding the shift to digital, executives uncover the importance of working together to streamline ambitions and achieve an enterprise-wide vision – a ‘symphonic C-suite.’

Want to scale robotics in your organisation? Speak to one of the team.

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