By 2019 almost three quarters of firms will using robotics, says ISG © 123RF
By 2019 almost three quarters of firms will using robotics, says ISG © 123RF

Robotics 'cutting average costs by 37%'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
9 May 2017

Robotics is enabling firms to execute business processes five to 10 times faster with an average of 37% fewer resources, according to research.

A study by Information Services Group (ISG) said Robotic Process Automation (RPA) was allowing a 43% reduction in resources for order-to-cash processes including billing, credit, collections and pricing. The saving for processes including vendor management systems, recruiting and talent management was 32% and for invoicing it was 34%.

The report said by 2019 72% of enterprises would be using RPA to reduce costs, improve productivity, increase compliance and shorten transaction times.

“RPA currently is favoured by enterprises because it offers a rapid, low-cost way to automate basic, rules-based business processes without needing to re-engineer them,” said ISG.

The report said IT would be the “next big wave in automation”, with 43% of respondents in a survey of the IT sector saying automation would have the biggest impact on spending until 2019.

Stanton Jones, director and principal analyst at ISG, said: “Nearly every IT outsourcing vendor is introducing some form of automation into its services.

“Vendors are doing this most commonly with autonomics software, which automates standard operating procedures and correlates data to improve these procedures over time.

“Whereas, in the past, enterprise clients could expect a 5-10% productivity improvement in their outsourcing contracts after two years, we now see examples in which enterprises are realising 40-140% improvement over the same time period.”

The report said job losses were not the most significant change and Jones said: “Humans are working alongside software robots, be they virtual agents or engineers, to increase their ability to take more customer calls, resolve more service desk tickets and process more invoices.

“This improved productivity is seeing important downstream effects: increasing operational speed and scalability, improving compliance and avoiding future costs.”

However, ISG does expect job losses in the future. “We are not there yet, because the impact of automation is still very much task-oriented,” said Jones. “However, over time, as entire roles become automated, we do expect some job losses, but we also expect automation will create jobs, as market opportunities are addressed more quickly and the cost of production is lowered.”

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