Software advancements in the field of process automation will unlock significant value for businesses within the next three to five years, according to a Cognizant survey of 537 senior executives across North America and Europe.
About half of the respondents saw automation as significantly improving their business processes within three to five years, and about 44 percent said they have similarly high expectations for business analytics.
The survey defined automation as any activity that was previously performed manually and that is now handled by technology such as process automation tools.
Survey results indicated respondents are largely in agreement concerning the benefits of intelligent process automation (IPA) and mining the resulting big data.
"The list of game-changing and differentiating examples of process analytics is immense, especially when IPA tools using artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive time-sensitive outcomes are applied," Robert Hoyle Brown, associate vice president of Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, told eWEEK. "Examples could include real-time dynamic fleet optimization for destination and delivery capacity for logistics or collation of huge volumes of clinical data for optimized pharmaceutical trials."
Faster processing with fewer errors, unlimited scalability and lower cost of ownership, along with the ability to make more timely business decisions through automation-enabled analytics, were among IPA's key benefits.
Respondents believe they are automating, on average, 25 to 40 percent of their workflows today, and this automation is occurring with workflows that follow rote procedures and manual inputs, paving the way for next-generation IPA technologies to drive greater cost savings and efficiency while driving greater business insights when applied to more complex workflows.
Health insurers emerged as industry trailblazers, pushing frontiers of cost reduction through the automation of middle-office functions, such as claims coding and processing, with more than one-quarter seeing at least 15 percent cost savings year-over-year.
In banking, nearly half of those surveyed reported at least 10 percent revenue growth driven by process-aligned analytics over the past year, and nearly three out of every four banks (73 percent) expect to see similar growth in the next three to five years.
"What's also changing is the impact that IPA is having as it helps to bridge the divide to digital processes on value chains and operating models," Hoyle explained. "Each industry and its processes, whether claims management in insurance, or reconciliation or mortgage processing in banks, are swiftly adopting new process models."
He noted value is more aligned with process data than with the process itself, and as operational models focus more on services or outputs, they enable organizations to build new, truly flexible and adaptable process models that can be quickly piloted and refined.