Global businesses failing to scale automation technologies

Investment in intelligent automation (IA) technology has failed to deliver fast enough returns, with many projects still stuck in “pilot mode”.


Tuesday 2

Global businesses failing to scale automation technologies

That is according to a global study of nearly 600 businesses with more than $1bn (£0.86bn) in annual revenue, which found a “distinct correlation” between scale and top financial performance.

The findings show that 59% of poorly performing companies still need another two to five years to achieve IA scale, while 64% of top performers will be scaled in 2019.

Just 17% of the companies surveyed had scaled up or industrialised their technologies, despite 52% confirming they had invested more than $10m in projects.

KPMG, which carried out the research, said IA initiatives like advanced analytics and robot process automation are hindered by a lack of coordination, integration and prioritisation.

“Investment in and adoption of IA technologies are occurring at a rapid pace, but many organisations are struggling to demonstrate significant impact,” KPMG US head of IA, Cliff Justice, said.

“Without a holistic digital transformation strategy that underpins IA investments across an entire organisation, these projects are stunted in pilot mode and fail to deliver the intended results.”

Smart analytics was cited as the top most scaled technology by the companies studied, with robot process automation the least scaled, and artificial intelligence (AI) the most piloted or experimented with.

But it was found that investments in these technologies are imbalanced across functions, with finance and accounting receiving the lion’s share.

Along with scalability, other challenges mentioned by the respondents included uncertainty about the financial investment needed, lack of clarity on accountability, and concerns around governance and risk management.

KPMG Germany partner, Thomas Erwin, said: “To ensure an effective, comprehensive IA strategy that integrates complex technologies such as AI, three key components are essential.

“Clear business objectives, an adequate budget and an orchestrated approach are fundamental to successfully scaling up IA across the enterprise.”


Most popular

  1. Cyber incidents top ranking of business risks in 2020

    An increasing reliance on data and IT systems has seen cyber incidents shoot to the top of the most pressing risks facing businesses worldwide, research by Allianz has uncovered.


    Friday 17

    17 January 2020

  2. Risk managers overwhelmed by new technologies

    The majority of risk managers worldwide cannot adequately assess the threats posed by new technologies, research by Accenture has found.

    10 December 2019

  3. Blockchain to save financial services firms $7bn by 2024

    Financial institutions will save $7bn (£5.43bn) by 2024 thanks to blockchain technology and the automation of customer checks, a market research firm has predicted.

    05 November 2019

White paper

  • Quarterly InsurTech Briefing Q1 2017

    Why InsurTech? A Pressured Insurance Value Chain

    By Andrew Sagon, Andrew Johnston and Matthew Wong

    InsurTech is a burgeoning phenomenon that is modernising the insurance industry. It is disrupting the traditional value chain whereby insurers offer loss protection, and shifting the emphasis to risk mitigation. Incumbents face disintermediation as investors in search of higher yields pour money into insurance-linked instruments in the capital markets. And entrepreneurial businesses are targeting friction costs and inefficiencies within every aspect of the traditional value chain.



  • Insurance big data – float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

    Nimbleness and agility will unlock potential

    By Elinor Friedman, Andrew Harley and Klayton Southwood

    Recent Willis Towers Watson surveys in the U.S. have shown that P&C and life insurers in developed markets are taking seriously the potential of big data and predictive analytics to improve their businesses. Nimbleness and agility, rather than brute force, are likely to be key to realizing that potential.

    Download PDF

  • The new era of insurance analytics

    Driven by technology, toolkits and talent

    By Claudine Modlin and Graham Wright

    Advanced analytics is helping some insurers offer innovative products and solutions. What do insurers need to know about the changing nature of analytics and whether it is worth the investment? Claudine Modlin and Graham Wright discuss technology, toolkits and talent — topics that may help you decide.

    Download PDF

  • How can we manage the dynamic nature of cyber-risk?

    Risk transfer is part of a comprehensive solution

    By Adeola Adele, Patrick Kulesa, Kevin Madigan and Alice Underwood

    Given the dynamic nature of cyber-risk, taking a multidimensional approach that integrates board governance, technology solutions, behavioral change and risk transfer solutions can help reduce risk to a manageable level.

    Whitepaper Form