Adopt AI at speed to achieve scale
Adopt AI at speed to achieve scale

Adopt AI at speed to achieve scale

Global leaders describe their efforts to realize the promise of intelligent automation.

“Easing the pressure points: The state of intelligent automation,” a new report by KPMG International and HFS Research, offers substantive insights into the challenges and opportunities industry leaders are facing as they strive to capture value from their intelligent automation (IA) investments.

Based on a survey of nearly 600 business leaders across 13 countries, the report explores the scope of IA implementation around the world. Findings show that executives expect IA to create value and speed up time to market, but the data also point to a lag in achieving real results. 

“Every business needs to be a tech company in its mindset and actions. In essence, leadership must approach automation boldly and intelligently to redefine core processes and the roles of people in the full range of functions – how they work, what they can do and the intelligent interactions they have with customers,” says Cliff Justice, Principal, Intelligent Automation, KPMG in the US.

Among the report’s most significant findings:

  • Most organizations are actively pursuing IA initiatives but are hindered by a lack of coordination, integration, and prioritization. Yet more than half of those surveyed believe they can scale up their IA initiatives within 12 months.
  • While investment in IA is taking place broadly, only 10 percent of respondents are integrating solutions across its various dimensions: automation, artificial intelligence, and smart analytics. Even with RPA¾arguably the most mature of the IA technologies¾organizations are struggling to achieve scale.
  • Piecemeal or disorganized initiatives remain a stumbling block. Fewer than 10 percent of respondents indicated they approach IA management and implementation from an enterprise-wide perspective.
  • Wide and quick adoption of IA is constrained by lack of a leadership mandate and vision to carry it through and rally employees who face changing roles and skill upgrading or possibly job loss.
  • Skills shortages, particularly in machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, are inhibiting IA growth.

The report concludes that, to get the most from IA efforts beyond cost savings, broad-ranging transformation is needed, even to achieve benefits from lower-level RPA. IA’s end goal is not just better management of costs but improved customer engagement by getting more insights from data and boosting growth.

Realizing IA’s potential requires a corporate culture that is ready and capable of embracing fundamental changes in how it operates. It requires tangible and active top-level executive commitment and strategic leadership. It takes an understanding of the impact of IA on the workforce and the change management capabilities to address it. And it requires practical knowledge of the various IA technologies, judicious use of third-party expertise and a recognition of the amount of time, money, and resources it will take to unleash IA’s potential.