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BPO and BPS. How much disruption? Deloitte Global Outsourcing | Part Two Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Successful clients are pursuing RPA for reasons beyond cost

RPA continues to be a major driving force in outsourcing solutions, but today's challenges are more granular. Over 75 percent of our interviewed clients are actively considering or pursuing RPA in their sourcing arrangements. In 2018 we predicted that the adoption of RPA would continue to grow, with companies implementing automation solutions through third party providers, Centers of Excellence (CoE's), or a combination of the two. At that time, 72 percent of the organizations in the survey had adopted or were considering RPA. Since then, organizations have progressed much further by “overcoming technology limitations” and “improving management awareness”.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Our 2020 survey results show a clear progression in the adoption of RPA through outsourcing. Our interviewees are now focused on solving the tactical challenges of RPA adoption, such as developing and maintaining a positive business case, defining provider responsibilities, and assigning data ownership. This contrasts with our 2018 survey, when organizational resistance, process fragmentation, and regulatory constraints were the biggest roadblocks to the adoption of RPA.

Again, reducing costs is a key driver. The primary motivation seems to have shifted with most 2020 interviewees (two-thirds) citing cost savings as the major driver for RPA adoption (while our 2019 Shared Services Survey showed that results had been modest), whereas two years ago it was never “top of mind”.

The road ahead for RPA

According to the 2020 survey interviewees, the biggest barrier to RPA adoption is the inability to capture immediate value. Some clients find it difficult to justify the investment as they don’t see a positive business case in the short-term. However, while the current pandemic crisis makes technology adoption an even bigger challenge for many organizations, it offers aggressive organizations with liquidity an opportunity to implement automation programs that transform their operating models and outpace competitors lacking the means, or the foresight, to adjust. Investments today are likely to produce large scale benefits in the long term. RPA adoption is not just about cost reduction. It can also free up the workforce to focus on more strategic issues. Doing so can lead to greater employee and customer satisfaction, with subsequent improvements in enterprise value.

As the popularity of RPA matures for logical rule-based processes, the use of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also becoming widespread. According to Deloitte’s, “Automation with Intelligence” survey (2019), 58 percent of respondents had already started implementing AI. There was higher acceptance and increasing adoption of AI in companies that were using RPA. As maturity increases, this trend is unstoppable as more and more organizations experience these benefits.

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