Being faster and more flexible is vital for the survival of German medium-sized companies. Therefore, the automation of business processes and AI are classified as critical technologies by more and more companies.
A lot has happened not only technologically in production and trade, but also the mindset has changed, as a new study by IDC shows, supported by Comarch, among others. More than two-thirds of the surveyed companies of all sizes will rely on intelligent automation of their processes in the future, with the orchestration of the solutions and AI functions being of particular importance.
IPA And AI On Course For Success
The potential of intelligent process automation is high: The usage rates of intelligent process automation (IPA), robotic process automation (RPA), and artificial intelligence (AI) will increase rapidly in the next 24 months. The current IDC study “Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) in 2022”, based on a cross-industry survey of 201 companies in March 2022, shows a future change. In the next 24 months, more than half of the process automation tools will be equipped with AI functionalities. Sixty-seven percent expect platforms and the orchestration of the means to provide significant added value for their intelligent automation.
Automation Offers Advantages For Production And Trade
For Frank Siewert, CEO at Comarch, all sectors benefit from the technology: “The first thing that comes to mind when we think of automation is improvements in production processes since there is exceptionally high potential here for faster, cheaper, and more individual production. However, those responsible should by no means overlook the opportunities that are opening up in other areas. With the customer in mind, sales processes can be optimised and automated through a better understanding and intelligent guidance of the customer through their product world. The evaluation of professional AI order sets, in turn, offers added value for the customer since their wishes and requirements can be understood more deeply. This, in turn, results in better communication, customer loyalty, and possibility.
Companies Want To Solve Their Business Requirements With IPA
Matthias Zacher, senior consulting manager and project manager of the study explains the results: “The goals of intelligent automation go hand in hand with the business priorities of the companies to a large extent. These include reducing operating and product costs (32 percent), improving employee performance and attracting and developing talent (31 percent), improving sustainability (30 percent), and modernising processes (29 percent). “The results indicate the value proposition of automation that organisations are facing in the current challenging year of 2022.”
But a lot has happened technologically in the past five years. In robot-controlled process automation, the use of bots will increase rapidly and double over the next 24 months since these software programs are taking on more and more tasks to support employees directly, act independently and fully automatically in the IT systems and make suggestions for preparing decisions. Consultant Thomas Böing from Comarch sees these results as confirmation of his course in software development: “Comarch’s ERP system Comarch ERP Enterprise with its Service-Oriented Business Architecture (SOBA) is already technologically very well positioned to use such technologies.
Two-Thirds Of Users Will Rely On Intelligent RPA In The Future
Intelligent process automation is becoming increasingly established parallel to classic robotic process automation. They are technologies that restructure, integrate, orchestrate and automate business operations and related processes. This makes it possible to combine methods in process chains and let them interact with each other. More than 30 percent of companies are already using tools for intelligent process automation. More than 70 percent want to use these tools in the next 24 months.
Artificial Intelligence Supports Intelligent Automation
As in many other areas of the company, artificial intelligence is also an essential tool for improving and modernising solutions in process automation. Therefore, it is not surprising that 26 percent of decision-makers rely on cognitive RPA. Added to this is that artificial intelligence is present in more and more solutions as a partial functionality, such as in document processing and conversational AI (30 percent). These two usage paths will lead to more than half of the solutions being equipped with AI functionalities in the next 24 months.
With the help of AI, automation is becoming increasingly intelligent, and new use cases are emerging. Ideally, this even enables companies to develop new business models. In this context, the question of the “side-by-side and co-existence” of tools for process automation and business applications also arises for decision-makers. Sixty-eight percent of decision-makers believe that business applications such as ERP and CRM will have full “built-in” automation functions in the medium term.
RPA And IPA Are The Future – If Adequately Integrated
The study shows that companies want to continue to push process automation – not least because of the economic framework conditions in the organisations. “But we also see that process automation is currently changing. While the potential for RPA remains high, IPA is becoming increasingly important. The closer linking of RPA, BPM, and integration tools, as well as the rapid technological advances in artificial intelligence including analytical approaches, are significantly increasing the utility and value of process automation for companies,”.
“This paves the way for end-to-end automation based on IPA and ecosystems. Many processes in the core applications are outdated and urgently need to be modernised. This requires a precise analysis of the processes – i.e., process mining. Despite all the differences in the technical requirements, the mapping, automation, management, and orchestration of the processes should also be promoted based on standards.”
Intelligent Automation: RPA As A Key Technology
Frank Siewert, CEO at Comarch, agrees with the study’s authors: “Constant digitization enables more and more automation. Therefore, the IDC study confirms our impression from discussions that more and more medium-sized companies see RPA as a key technology. However, sustainable success can only be achieved with a holistic perspective. RPA and IPA develop maximum benefits in the company when the automation is well thought out and centrally controlled. Processes must be tested concerning possible optimization before they can be automated. The basis for this is a connectable ERP system that coordinates automated processes as a flexible data hub.”
Thomas Böing, Consultant at Comarch, has already dealt with RPA and IPA in several customer projects and draws the following conclusion: “Data management is taking on a whole new role. In automation projects, IT can decide how data is to be weighted according to its relevance and when it is made available for which processes for further processing. Technologies from the fields of artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and intelligent process automation are already available in modern ERP applications such as Comarch ERP Enterprise. ERP can control them in a low-threshold and holistic manner”.