Friday, 13 September 2019 13:02

Australia lags rest of world in robotic process, desktop deployments

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Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in robotic process and robotic desktop automation, with many organisations finding robotics hard to deploy and maintain.

According to a recent global study by Pegasystems of 500 decision-makers, including 77 in Australia, organisations are spending more time and effort getting bots up and running than anticipated, with 68% of Australian respondents citing bot deployment as their greatest challenge and 66% confessing that bots are harder to deploy than they first thought.

Meanwhile, globally, only 39% of bots are deployed on schedule – Australia lags behind at 33% – and it typically takes 18 months on average to successfully push bots live into production.

But despite concerns over deployment and maintenance 73% of Australian organisations said that robotic automation is even more effective than they originally anticipated, compared to the global average of 67%.

And Australian respondents ranked the top benefits of robotic automation as:

  1. Better work production: Respondents said ‘enabling people to work more efficiently, effectively, and accurately’ ranked as the biggest benefit of bots (picked by 62% of respondents).
  2. Healthier bottom line: ‘Reducing overall business costs’ ranked second with 49%.
  3. Happier employees and customers: 47% report the top benefit is improved employee experience.

Globally, most respondents to the survey said they gained significant value from automating their operations with bots, and to be highly effective in streamlining work – but maintaining those results wasn’t as simple as it seemed.

Survey respondents reported other issues including:

  • Bot lifespans aren’t all that long: Inevitable changes to the underlying enterprise architecture will likely lead to increased bot breakage over time. Already, 92% of Australian respondents experienced some level of bot failures, exceeding the global average of 87%. Overall, maintenance ranked as the second biggest problem bot users face. Across the globe, expectations of a bot’s lifecycle vary – Australian organisations expect bots to last on average 2.6 years, versus 4.1 years in the US, and 3.8 years in the UK.
  • Bots need more maintenance than expected: With bot breakage a near certainty, RPA and RDA can’t be viewed as a set-it-and-forget-it task. Globally, 41% of respondents said that ongoing bot management is taking more time and resources than expected, and two out of five (40%) Australian decision makers are feeling the same frustration. Bots also add another layer of complexity to IT. How much? In Australia and the rest of the world, 38% of bot use has brought more complexity than expected and on average globally 26% said they added more ‘shadow IT’ issues than expected.

But despite these issues, Pegasystems says one thing is clear - bots deliver on their promise when deployed in the right situations – and globally 66% of organisations think bots bring more value and ROI than originally expected, while only 13% have been let down by the amount of value and ROI they’ve seen.

Pegasystems cites a recent Gartner report that: “RPA software revenue grew 63.1 percent in 2018 to $846 million, making it the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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