Number of organisations scaling automation doubles in 2019

12 September 2019 3 min. read

The number of businesses with automation able to handle a growing amount of work in a capable, cost-effective manner has doubled in 2019. A new study has found that 8% of organisations around the world have already delivered over 50 automations in the last year.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are disrupting businesses across the globe. As these new technologies develop, many companies are increasingly thinking about integrating AI or at least automation into their operations.

The early adopters of these innovations are already beginning to witness the benefits of the technology, while those who lag behind are realising that now is the time to act to avoid being left behind. A number of reports have already outlined the potential rewards to be reaped, which include improving operational efficiencies, reducing human error risk and increasing the proportion of time that staff are now able to focus on value-added activities.

Number of organisations scaling automation doubles in 2019

As a result, it is not especially surprising that a new study from Deloitte has found the number of organisations scaling their automated aspects has doubled in the last year. According to a global survey of executives, the number of firms to have deployed more than 50 automations has risen from 4% in 2018 to 8% in 2019.

Commenting on the findings, David Wright, Partner at Deloitte, said, “Automation has been top of the business agenda for many years, promising to boost productivity, cut costs and redefine the role of the worker. It is exciting to see that the technology is finally being embraced in a sizeable way, but there is now an urgent need for leaders to address the impact it will have on the workforce. A lot more thought needs to be given to the integration of humans and machines and the new roles that will be created.”

Firms that are scaling or are already scaling have an increased understanding of how they can capture value from automation. According to the study, 30% of this group strongly believe they know how to get the best from the technology, while a further 48% agree. The rate of firms scaling automation in their organisations is surely set to grow rapidly, however. Deloitte found that a majority of firms piloting, implementing, and doing both, all featured a majority of respondents that agreed that they had a good idea of what automation can do for them.

Number of organisations scaling automation doubles in 2019

Companies expect that automation can deliver a range of benefits to their organisation. Increases in productivity were cited by 73% of organisations, while cost reduction and improved accuracy were noted by 60% and 44% respectively.

A number of hurdles still stand in the way of firms looking to tap the new technology, however. Deloitte found the top two barriers for organisations at all stages of adoption are reported to be process fragmentation – the way daily processes are managed in a wide range of methods at the desktop level, felt by 36% of survey respondents – and IT readiness – or infrastructure and systems, considered the biggest barrier by 17%.

Commenting on how firms could tackle these issues, Justin Watson, Global Robotic and Intelligent Automation Leader at Deloitte, concluded, “Automations go beyond the routine to the innovative, from collecting and processing data to predicting, analysing and making contextual decisions. Organisations that reimagine how they work, take advantage of a combination of human and machine workforces, and have the skills and knowledge to harness intelligent automation will be best placed to take advantage of the opportunities the technologies promise.”