Analysts such as Gartner see RPA as one of the fastest-growing technologies, with industry revenues (both software and services) projected to grow in the double digits, to $4-7Bn over the next 2-3 years. Throw in the additional artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies that can make a bot more intelligent, and the market could reach $30Bn+ over the next few years at a CAGR of 25% or more.

Despite the explosive growth of this software industry, many companies outside of financial services are finding that the promised ROI has not (yet) materialized. Technology and implementation companies have told us that they see almost 80% of implementations failing, where failure means the program has failed to be transformative and is still only very tactical in nature.

In talking with the technology companies, and customers, in the middle of this industry there appears to be a common set of reasons why intelligent automation is not delivering on the hype and we will explore these in future articles. Some of these reasons include:

  • Intelligent automation is viewed as an “IT project” and not something that can transform how non-IT work is delivered;
  • There is no clear business sponsor who will push to transform how work is done, with automation as the leading candidate for transformation;
  • Processes themselves are not standardized (enough) or repetitive (enough) to make automation an obvious thing to do, and doing the hard work of standardization can itself be a major undertaking; and
  • The saving from moving work to a lower-cost location (still done by humans) is seen as quicker to implement than automation, and the saving to move from offshore resources (for example) to robot resources is not as great as to move from high cost to low-cost resources

If you are looking at launching an intelligent automation initiative, or you have recently started, then the clear message to you still is “buyer beware." In upcoming articles we will look at what you can do to help your program be successful, or take a failing program forward, using lessons from successful companies