CIOs, Unleash Intelligent Automation in 12 Easy Steps

  • C-level executives increasingly see the potential of generative AI to reshape operational paradigms.
  • The combination of AI with proven automation capabilities is being heavily invested in, to supercharge business transformation and increase productivity.
  • 88% of respondents highlight the crucial role of AI in achieving successful automation.
  • Investment in Intelligent Automation is rising year-by-year, with an average spending of $5.6 million in 2023, a 17% increase from 2022.
  • 75% of respondents are actively deploying or scaling Intelligent Automation across their enterprises.
  • RPA-based automation is being prioritized less, and investments in AI/ML automation technology more.
  • The main motivation behind this shift is the desire to enhance productivity.
  • Virtual assistants are the leading use case for Intelligent Automation technology, as cited by 68% of respondents.
  • Business users play a key role in driving automation scale, with 84% emphasizing the need for aligning automation initiatives closely with business objectives.
  • Challenges in adoption include data issues and regulatory and ethical concerns, with 39% of respondents identifying these as the top barriers.
  • To ensure successful automation implementation, CIOs need to: identify an executive sponsor, treat automation as a joint program, define clear KPIs, initiate new projects on the cloud, develop a migration plan, encourage citizen development, et cetera.

The increasing interest and investment in Intelligent Automation, also referred to as the seamless integration of automation with AI/ML, has the potential to significantly impact organizational operation and productivity. The Automation Now & Next: State of Intelligent Automation Report presents important findings on the global landscape of automation, focusing particularly on the dynamic intersection of automation and AI/ML.

The data indicates that businesses are transitioning away from RPA-based automation and investing heavily in AI/ML automation technologies. This shift is motivated by the aim to enhance productivity, a goal shared by 76% of respondents. In fact, productivity has been identified as the leading KPI for measuring the impact of Intelligent Automation investments.

Most businesses are deploying or scaling Intelligent Automation across their enterprises. The primary application of this technology is virtual assistants, followed by customer service and intelligent document processing. Despite the promising potential of Intelligent Automation, various challenges are encountered. Data problems, regulatory and ethical issues, security and privacy concerns were reported as the main barriers to adoption.

To succeed in the automation journey, CIOs need to take strategic steps. These include identifying an executive sponsor with a deep understanding of automation’s potential, fostering collaboration between technology and business leaders, defining clear and measurable KPIs, initiating new projects on the cloud and gradually migrating on-premises tools and automations to the cloud. To foster innovation, businesses need to maintain focus on productivity gains, encourage citizen development, provide employee incentives, establish channels for sharing automation ideas among employees, and find opportunities to deploy generative AI in automation development.