Automation with intelligence

Intelligent Automation Survey

According to the current study ‘Automation with Intelligence’, more and more companies are using the advantages of intelligent automation technologies. With the help of AI and Analytics, these technologies are fundamentally changing business processes in companies. For the employees, this brings new tasks and thus opportunities for more demanding activities.Our global intelligent automation survey looks at the impact of COVID-19 on automation strategies and the use of cloud and automation-as-a-service to ensure scalability and rapid deployment.

The key findings at a glance

• Worldwide distribution: 73% of companies now rely on intelligent automation

• Financial advantages: cost reduction through automation averages 24%

• Top message: Nine out of ten respondents want to use process automation by 2023

New opportunities: Managers are planning training courses for around a third of their employees

According to Deloitte’s recent annual global survey of 441 executives from 29 countries, including Slovakia, around three out of four respondents (73%) are increasingly relying on automation technologies such as intelligent automation, machine learning and language processing. In the previous year, less than half of the businesses (48%) used this. Its wider use within companies has also advanced. At least 13% of executives now state that over 50 corresponding automations have been implemented in their company. For comparison: in 2018 it was only 4%.

The number of companies using automation on a large scale has tripled in two years. During the pandemics crisis, automated processes enabled many companies to increase their effectiveness and productivity. From a global perspective, automation has become more relevant due to COVID-19.

 The use of automation technologies not only increases productivity, but also pays off financially, according to the study: the cost reduction through intelligent automation averages 24%, the additional sales growth achieved around 9%. The return on investment is achieved on average in less than 11 months.

Deloitte Survey "Automation with Intelligence"

Process automation trend

By far the most popular automation technology currently is Robotic Process Automation. 78% of managers have already implemented this technology, and another 16% plan to do so it in the next three years. Accordingly, by 2023 the technology should be in use by over nine out of ten companies surveyed.
In addition to the top message of process automation, additional areas such as Business Process Management, Process Monitoring and Mining as well as the use of Artificial Intelligence in combination with Data Analytics are increasingly coming into focus. The leading providers of corresponding solutions try to expand their software to the largest possible platform in order to create benefit for the company.

Further information on the automation of operational processes can be found here. 

Critical transformation 

For organisations to successfully integrate intelligent automation, they must first acknowledge that transformation is necessary. It starts with making a conscious choice about what they want to achieve, based on the ‘art of the possible’. This decision is then fed into a robust and realistic intelligent automation strategy. That is the ideal, but here is the reality: Only 26 per cent of Deloitte’s survey respondents that are piloting automations – and 38 per cent of those implementing and scaling –have an enterprise-wide intelligent automation strategy.

There is a clear difference between organisations piloting automations and those implementing and scaling their efforts. The latter are more likely to reimagine what they do and incorporate process change across functional boundaries. Those in the piloting stage are more likely to automate current processes, with limited change – they may have not yet taken advantage of the many technologies and techniques that can expand their field of vision and open up even more opportunities. 

There are other barriers to success: process fragmentation and a lack of IT readiness were ranked by survey respondents at the top of the list (consistent with responses in the past two years). Resistance to change was ranked third, closely followed by a lack of a clear vision.

Matching ambitions to reality

There is a clear difference between organisations, that are piloting automations and those that are implementing and scaling their efforts. The latter are more likely to reimagine what they do and incorporate process change, improving returns from automation. But in the piloting stage, organizations are more likely to automate current processes, with more limited change. The most advanced are transitioning away from the traditional approach of incremental, continuous improvement and re engineering of their existing processes; they are now pursuing organization wide process re-imagination.

Our survey respondents stated that nearly half (49%) of their automations require some form of process change, such as eliminating, simplifying or standardising.


Overall, Deloitte’s 2020 survey showed that great strides have been made to arrive in this brave new world of widespread intelligent automation. But the race to our robotic future is not quite won, because adoption does not guarantee added value. Those that see the greatest benefits from automation will have engaged in entity-wide transformations, rooted in forward-looking, human-centric strategies. To learn more, download Deloitte’s full report, ‘Automation with Intelligence’.

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