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KPMG study shows UK businesses unable to scale fast enough

A new study conducted by KPMG shows that British businesses are not scaling intelligent automation (IA) technologies fast enough to meet desired objectives and returns.

The report, “Easing the pressure points: The State of Intelligent Automation”, surveyed 600 business leaders, including 42 VP, director and C-Suite executives in the UK. It considers how IA, which incorporates artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and robotic process automation is being used to boost financial performance by some companies.

Shamus Rae, Head of Digital Disruption at KPMG UK, said: “Investment in IA technologies, as well as their adoption, is gaining traction rapidly, but many companies are still struggling to demonstrate significant impact.

“All too often these projects are stunted in pilot mode and fail to deliver the intended results because they are not underpinned by a digital transformation strategy for the whole organisation.

“When implemented with a clear vision and integrated approach, IA can propel businesses forward by providing a stark competitive edge but also deliver considerable returns in the shape of cost saving and revenue generation.”

Key stats:

  • Investment in IA tech is strong with more than a third (38%) of UK companies confirming investments of more than £7.7 million; yet investments are imbalanced across functions.
  • There is a distinct correlation between scale and top financial performance with two thirds (66%) of the top performing companies surveyed having developed their IA propositions. In contrast, the same proportion (66%) of underperforming companies say they need another 2 – 5 years to fully deploy IA initiatives.
  • Overall, just over a fifth (22%) have scaled up or commercialised IA technologies. Natural language processing, smart analytics and artificial intelligence were the most scaled technologies, while RPA (robotics process automation) was the least. The technology that organisations are experimenting with or piloting the most is AI (43%).
  • Lack of in-house talent to support AI remains a leading challenge to achieving key goals with IA technologies. Other notable challenges pinpointed include uncertainty about the financial investment needed; lack of senior management mandate and vision to deploy IA; and a lack of organisational clarity and accountability for driving the IA agenda.
  • Business executives are positive about the impact IA will have on jobs – half (51%) of respondents are optimistic and they believe that automation will impact fewer than a fifth (20%) of their staff.