Accelerating automation

Plan your faster, smoother journey

Intelligent automation is set to transform our lives. For business services, it promises huge gains, including lower costs along with better market insight into customer experiences.

  • 45% of activities individuals currently perform in the workplace can be automated using already demonstrated technologies.(1) 
  • 60.5% compound annual growth in robotics automation market forecast by 2017-20(2) 
  • More than 55% of global corporations currently exploring new automation opportunities(3) 

As a result, many organizations are already using basic robotic process automation (RPA) to carry out simple, rules-based tasks to become more productive.

The next step is to introduce more sophisticated intelligent automation classes that have the potential to lead to transformational change.

To realize intelligent automation benefits faster, many organizations want to accelerate the automation journey. In our experience, seeking this goal requires planning that should follow four principles.

  1. Business led; technology enabled
  2. Use RPA to achieve greater productivity and as a stepping stone for enhanced process and cognitive automation that can lead to transformational change
  3. Start small, execute well and scale up rapidly
  4. Develop an internal automation capability to sustain progress 

A variety of potential benefits are available among the different types of automation

Implementing intelligent automation is more than just technological change. It affects components across your operating model. With a detailed action plan, you can be ready to scale up to production in about three months.

  1. Rethinking automation myths
  2. Misconceptions about intelligent automation can delay the automation journey or dilute potential benefits. Following are five common myths along with our views on the truth.
  3. “Implementing a bot will significantly improve productivity.” Yes, but boosting productivity is often more complex than expected. For example, implementing a new process and managing change simultaneously can dilute savings.
  4. “We need to transform our processes before adding RPA.” Ideally yes, but you can incorporate process transformation into your RPA journey, either before or after automation. RPA is another lever that can be combined with more traditional transformation tools.
  5. “We can deploy our first bot quickly.” The pilot can take longer than expected. This is because you need to build the right infrastructure, capabilities and sponsorship. The cost per bot will decrease significantly as you scale up and accelerate your execution speed.
  6. “We need to build lots of bots.” Don’t get mesmerized by volume. Utilization per bot is a better measure for understanding automation effectiveness and efficiency.
  7. “We can move straight to cognitive solutions.” Evaluate your needs and capabilities. While some organizations begin with small cognitive pilots, RPA can also be a stepping stone in your automation journey.

The KPMG case study: Our own transformation

KPMG’s network of firms has investigated short-, medium- and long-term opportunities for deploying intelligent automation technologies in our own business to drive operational efficiency, effectiveness and create a platform for innovation using intelligent automation technologies.


Operating model considerations

  1. Reporting and data
    Adopting a new digital operating model will become an enabler for data quality programs, performance dashboards and centralized real-time information to enable better management information.
  2. People and change
    Refining the employee value proposition across the organization will become increasingly important. The new operational environment means you will need to upskill resources, provide alternative career paths and reinvigorate existing roles, such as continuous improvement specialists and process owners.
  3. Governance model
    The new environment will give you better control of changes or decisions that could affect operations. An environment with clearly defined roles and responsibilities will have potential impact across your current and target operating model.
  4. Technology ecosystem
    Intelligent automation can make it easier to deploy resources across different virtual environments. This can make operations more resilient, accelerate integration across systems and buy you time to address more structural and costly systemic changes.
  5. Process design
    Intelligent automation provides an opportunity to design thorough processes and realize the associated benefits. This will make operations more consistent, reduce process fragmentation and make ways of working more transparent.
  6. Organizational impact analysis
    Automation will shift the organization’s focus from a departmental view to a process view. New roles will be created to control the digital operation, handle exceptions, and maintain and change bots. All of this will enable better integration across functions and geographies.
  7. Risk and compliance
    Deploying digital labor will give you measurable SLAs and auditable processes. Overall adherence to processes, policies and data disclosure across the organization will be significantly enhanced.

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Accelerating automation: Plan your faster, smoother journey