Local organisations are ramping up investment in robotic process automation (RPA) according to a new study from emerging technology analyst firm Telsyte.

The Telsyte ANZ Robotic Process Automation Study 2017 found the ANZ RPA market will grow strongly with a CAGR of 45 per cent from 2016 to 2020. The market is set to grow from $216 million in 2017 to $870 million by 2020.

RPA has many uses across industries with large customer support and request processing requirements, including insurance, banking, telecommunications and government. Finance and insurance operations are expected to be the fastest adopters of RPA in the short term.

Telsyte’s RPA maturity model classifies the organisation’s stage of RPA adoption – from not using RPA, to a mature, established use of RPA in the organisation. It shows most organisations are still at the basic stages of adoption.

RPA is now being used or investigated by 6 out of 10 ANZ organisations surveyed by Telsyte (businesses greater than 20 employees). Already 12 per cent are in production with a RPA strategy in place.

But 38 per cent of organisations with more than 500 employees have active RPA programs already, showing automation is becoming a cornerstone of many business transformation strategies.

Telsyte’s research investigated the role and impact of RPA, including:

  • Business roles most impacted
  • Existing BPO maturity and its impact on RPA adoption
  • Industry sector uptake forecast
  • Operations most expected to benefit from RPA
  • Assessment of procurement models
  • DYI and procurement preferences
  • Investment drivers and barriers

Telsyte Managing Director, Foad Fadaghi, said the business case for RPA is clear, but IT and business leaders need to look to partners that can understand their business problems and to improve efficiencies while generating a competitive advantage.

“RPA is not simply about cost cutting, it can drive innovation and change the way organisation’s conduct their business altogether,” Fadaghi said.

He said a proof-of-concept is important for organisations to first understand the nature of processes that can be best solved through RPA, before progressing to an enterprise-wide strategy.

“Equally important is to use of pilot programs to understand the change management requirements before a further roll out,” he said.

Telsyte recommends organisations assess the processes to be automated by their level of complexity. Complexity has a positive correlation with automation costs and targeting lower-complexity processes initially can result in better initial returns.

Telsyte research shows 57 per cent of enterprises prefer to engage with an IT service provider for RPA solutions.

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