Rise of the robots

BY Richard Summerfield

Robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) are being increasing harnessed by organisations across a number of different sectors, according to a new report from PEX Network.

The report, which was produced following a survey of over 150 banking, financial services and insurance executives, sets out the key challenges, priorities and strategies for AI and RPA utilisation in 2017.

For the financial services, banking and insurance industries in particular, AI and RPA could have a truly transformative effect over the coming decade. Accordingly, it is imperative that companies embrace automation and robotics as quickly as possible.

Some companies have begun their implementation process with respect to RPA. Thirty-five percent of respondents have set about integrating RPA and are looking to expand their usage of automation where possible.

However, the firms that have invested thus far have typically only dipped their toe in the water. Around 80 percent of firms have invested less than $1m into RPA thus far. AI investment also remains on the low end of the spectrum, with 60 percent of respondents investing less than £100,000. Just 11 percent of firms have invested £1m and above.

The relative immaturity of RPA may have served as a roadblock to implementation to date. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents cited a lack of process standardisaton before RPA implementation as the main obstacle in implementing an RPA solution, 16 percent of executives cited a lack of resources to allocate to RPA implementation and 13 percent cited a lack of available budget as primary reasons that their firm had not yet implemented an RPA solution.

For those firms looking to automate their services in the future, they must begin by considering which of their processes would be suitable. Also, they must evaluate the forms of AI and FinTech technologies available to them. Fifty-seven percent of firms are considering cognitive RPA, while 53 percent are evaluating machine learning and 50 percent are exploring Big Data.

In the coming decade, technology solutions, including RPA, AI, Big Data and the blockchain, will have a transformative effect on the financial services, banking and insurance sectors. Companies would be wise to embrace these technologies early, when the price points are low and the potential returns are much higher.

Report: 2017 Benchmarking Report: The future of robotic process automation and artificial intelligence

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