Automation with intelligence

Intelligence automation remains firmly on the agenda of the C-suite. Once again, our Global Intelligent Automation survey found that the C-suite is, together with functional leadership, a staunch supporter of their organisations’ intelligent automation strategy – and, by some margin, the group most likely to be highly supportive.

This is for a good reason. Intelligent automation has proved itself and is now firmly in the mainstream. Organisations realise a broad set of benefits: improved accuracy, increased productivity, enhanced customer and employee experience, and, of course, cost reduction. Significant opportunities exist for organisations that can integrate enterprise-wide automation with process improvement, process intelligence, and other complementary capabilities from across the organisation to bring value to end customers holistically. We expect that this holistic approach to enterprise-wide automation will, in the coming years, become an imperative that enables organisations to deliver on rising expectations from automation programmes and business leaders.

This approach drives a true digital transformation agenda but is novel and sometimes challenging to operationalise as it relies on the leaders’ ability to foster followership and instigate change with their fellow executives. The first indicator of this shift, which we expect to continue, is automation leaders reinventing their operating models to take a customer-centric approach where process outcomes and customer value take ultimate precedence over functional distinctions and departmental boundaries.

A more transformational approach to delivering more significant benefits also requires larger investment. This year’s survey showed that the estimated average payback increased from 16 months in our last survey to 22 months this year, as organisations invest more to deliver more. Some of this investment is into new tools. Organisations are using a wider range of intelligent automation technologies, such as AI and low code, to realise their ambitions. We also see greater use of process intelligence data to inform business cases and to monitor and drive benefits realisation.

We want to thank all the executives who participated in our survey and interviews. We hope you find our insights thought-provoking and practical, and we look forward to your feedback.


Dave Wright
Partner, Intelligent Automation Team
London, United Kingdom

Gina Schaefer
Managing Director, Intelligent Automation Team
Atlanta, United States

Automation with intelligence
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