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UK organisations leaders in adopting business automation

Published: 26 June 2019 - Sarah Mead

A new survey commissioned by UiPath finds that growing business challenges are being addressed with automation – with the UK being one of the four countries populating the leader pack.

UiPath, a leading Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software company, has released a new study that reveals the current and future progress of automation in organisations across the world. The survey, entitled The Advance of Automation: business hopes, fears and realities, was developed in collaboration with The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU). It questioned senior executives of mid- and large-sized enterprises in the UK, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore and the United States.

Results from the survey revealed that the future is bright for the automation of business processes in the UK. The survey was broken down into ‘leaders’ – those making extensive use of automation technologies – and ‘laggards’ – those making moderate or limited use of automation. UK respondents were one of four countries populating the leader pack (11%). The other leaders are Germany, France and the US.

67 percent of UK business executives report being satisfied with the results of their automation initiatives so far – and are experiencing business benefits as a result. 73% of UK firms expect their companies operating costs to improve as a result of automating business processes – whilst 65% predict revenue growth and 62% forecast increased profitability. As a nation, the UK is ahead of the curve when it comes to business automation. Nearly half (48%) of UK businesses describe their use of automation as ‘extensive’, whilst 48% describe their organisation’s progress with automation as advanced. 15% consider their progress to be very advanced.

Globally, over 90 percent of businesses already use technology to automate business processes, companies in every industry surveyed – including manufacturing, healthcare and financial services – find value in it. Furthermore, nearly one-in-ten businesses (88 percent) worldwide believe that automation will accelerate human achievement.

There are few fields of organisational activity that are untouched by automation. That’s because it’s enabling businesses in every industry around the world to drive efficiencies by replacing manual tasks with automated ones. In the UK, the share of business processes currently being automated is being dominated by IT operations (67%), followed by administrative work and office management (60%) and customer service (58%).

Key benefits observed from business process automation globally include:

· Focused employee attention on less repetitive, mundane tasks (91%)

· Increased capacity to handle volume (91%)

· New revenue sourcing (85%)
 

84 percent of respondents globally report that the c-suite is the driving force behind automation initiatives for their business, with automation responsibility rolling up to the CEO (22 percent), CTO (29 percent) and CIO (17 percent). Over 70 percent of c-suite respondents also report that RPA and AI are a high or essential priority to meet their strategic objectives, predicting that it will make them more competitive as a business. Specifically, RPA is an extremely high priority to meet strategic objectives for 70% of UK businesses.

“Business usage of automation is accelerating and widening to create opportunities for growth, and is encouraging greater creativity and innovation from employees as a result. We are pleased to see that business process automation has made considerable headway – but there is clearly room for organisations to improve their use of automation. We look forward to helping businesses drive their automation further, given the massive benefits they could experience as a result,” Bruno Ferreira, Area Vice President, UK & Ireland.

There are still challenges that companies face when automating business processes. In Europe, data privacy and security concerns (32%) top the list of hurdles, whilst employee resistance is a close second (31%). This shows a crucial need for change management – and accordingly, 38% of UK firms consider providing education and upskilling as an important consideration for implementing business process automation.

To enable companies to meet and advance their automation efforts, UiPath is delivering the leading RPA platform to create an automation first mindset – driving corporate boards and c-level executives to think and discuss “automation first”, as they have previously done with “mobile first” and “cloud first”.

About the study

The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 502 senior executives of mid- and large-sized enterprises, all with annual revenues over U.S. $250 million and half over U.S. $1 billion, in eight countries: the UK, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore and the United States.



 
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