UiPath has announced the results of the IDC APJ Automation Survey 2022, commissioned by UiPath, revealing that 62% of the organizations in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) will scale up their robotic process automation (RPA) initiatives or achieve an enterprise-wide RPA deployment. The survey also shows that 91% of the organizations do not have enterprise-wide RPA deployment in place today despite recognizing the importance and benefits.
The survey polled organizations in nine countries across APJ, including Australia, China, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. It examined the level of automation maturity for APJ organizations, and how enterprises can scale automation to achieve business growth and outcomes. Fundamentally, 86% of the organizations in APJ agree that automation will be a critical requirement for business excellence, customer experience, and competitive success within the next 3 years.
“APJ business leaders are increasingly acknowledging the pivotal role of automation in resolving their pain points and accelerating growth across the region, against the backdrop of an intensifying competitive climate and turbulent macroeconomic environment. While improving operational efficiencies and enriching customer experience have been top of mind for leveraging automation, many organizations also believe that automation is a pathway towards meeting ESG and sustainability goals, which will be a gamechanger for corporate trustworthiness,” said Sneha Kapoor, Senior Research Manager, IDC Asia/Pacific. “However, despite securing these unprecedented benefits, most organizations have been slow in taking the leap into implementing an enterprise-wide automation program due to myriad yet addressable challenges, including finding automation skills and talent, identifying the right automation software, and ensuring robust security and governance.”
The new survey also found that automation has become an important accelerator as enterprises look to achieve exponential growth.
Acceleration of investments in automation in the next 3 years across APJ
Between 2020 and 2021, automation spending has continued to accelerate as 67% of the APJ organizations have increased spending. The top three business priorities for implementing automation include improving operational efficiencies (63%), streamlining processes (56%) as well as digitizing processes and workflows (48%). Going forward, automation will play a larger role for APJ enterprises by driving new revenue streams, deepening existing relationships with customers and achieving operational efficiencies.
At a regional level, automation is becoming a discussion at the C-suite level, with about one in three (32%) APJ respondents acknowledging that their CIOs and CTOs are leading the automation drive towards enterprise-wide adoption.
“Additionally, with growing significance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability, there is a massive upsurge expected in APJ organizations to garner automation investments for related use cases. Over 30% of the APJ organizations will automate ESG and sustainability use cases next, an increase from 13% in 2022.”, adds Kapoor.
Paradigm shift to Intelligent Process Automation
Today, over 90% of organizations in Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and China underscore their shifting focus toward Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). Given that the IPA market in APJ is estimated to grow to USD5.5 billion in 2025, this highlights the necessity and potential to go beyond RPA to achieve a comprehensive end-to-end process automation at scale. In the next 3 years, 59% of the APJ organizations will use IPA in over 20% of the total deployments.
Lack of skilled talent hampers enterprise-wide scaling of automation
However, the talent crunch has become a significant business challenge as many APJ organizations point to the shortage of automation skills and talent (59%) as the top challenge they face in scaling automation. As a result, 53% said that the availability of skilled automation talent and strong implementation partners’ support are key when selecting automation solutions, while 50% said they look out for end-to-end enterprise grade solutions with a modern and modular architecture.
Citizen-led development and training become hygiene needs in the future of work
Across APJ, 44% of the organizations already have non-IT domain employees involved in automating aspects of their work, while 39% plan to get their employees involved. In particular, the banking and insurance industry is leading the pack, with 56% of non-IT domain employees already involved in automation, followed by the telecommunications (50%) and retail (49%) sectors.
As more organizations integrate automation in the work of non-IT domain employees, respondents highlighted that collaboration with IT (33%), clear guidance on best practices (21%), and easy to use tools (19%) are the key requirements for successful implementations. Additionally, organizations will need to develop a comprehensive training and development plan with a focus on reskilling and upskilling across teams and units, which only 38% of the APJ organizations are currently doing.
“Organizations across APJ clearly recognize the need to make enterprise-wide automation a reality to realize productivity gains, cost-savings, and enhanced customer experience among many other benefits. However, the reality remains that the majority of them are facing challenges to scale automation across all aspects of the business,” said Scott Hunter, Vice President, Customer Strategy and Solutions Lead, Asia Pacific and Japan, UiPath. “To level up their automation initiatives, organizations must elevate their automation mindset by leveraging a holistic strategy with executive buy-in, coupled with a robust employee upskilling and training program to automate at scale in the APJ region.”
“Since 2020, IPA has played a pivotal role in ICICI Bank by augmenting Cx and driving operational excellence. Automation has been a linchpin in the bank’s risk- calibrated growth strategy and has enabled the teams to manage massive upsurges in the volumes of transactions and requests during the pandemic with a consistent throughput time. going forward, IPA will continue to be a vital componentof the Bank’s Technology Strategy #2025 and more teams are expected to turn to automation to bring exceptional value by delivering real-time personalized customer journeys and superior business outcomes.” said Balaji Rajagopalan, Bank Technology Group Head, ICICI Bank.