RPA is officially the shiny new silver bullet: 53% of the Global 2000 are planning significant RPA investments to slash costs in 2018

While we were discussing the confusing realities of the RPA hype at the HfS FORA Summit, we got a sneak preview of the interim data from the 2018 State of Operations and Outsourcing Study, conducted in conjunction with KPMG, where 250 interviews with Global 2000 operations leaders have now been completed.

We asked them where their investment priorities were currently lying when it comes to 2018 cost reduction:


So it’s abundantly clear all the hype about rampant adoption has been warranted and we can hang our hats on our recent enterprise robotics software and services forecast, which now appears conservative, increasing with 47% growth to $1.46bn this year (click here for full forecast):


The Bottom-line: RPA has succeeded in being positioned as the easiest silver bullet to find that next wave of cost take-out.  Now the real fun and games begin…

We have discussed, argued and deliberated the true value, impact and way to run RPA software for many many hours here of HfS… for over five and a half years.  And you only need to read our recent work to conclude that “RPA often starts out like a teenage romance: a lot of enthusiastic fumbling around that ends quickly, frequently leading to disappointment“.  And you can also read the RPA Bible, which preaches best and worst RPA practices to such an extent, you’ll need to visit your local RPA Rabbi, Bhikkhu, Priest or Mullah to find your soul again.

The real issue, here, is that the majority of enterprises are taking the plunge and investing the dollars – 81% are actually taking it seriously, and 53% very seriously.  So what’s going to happen in a few months when those ambitious CIOs and CFOs ask to see real demonstration of the resultant cost takeout?  Are companies generally going to be ready to quantify the value effectively?  Can they really convince their superiors that there is true cost impact beyond merely offering up headcount elimination?  And what if headcount reductions were promised to offset investments, and adopters have failed to free up the workload that can enable them?  And can they reward the staff, who cooperated in the automation work, by getting them “retrained”?  Is there really a plan?  While the “one human to oversee every 10 bots” is becoming the latest robo-governance rule of thumb, how real is this?  Or are we just all bull*****g ourselves about the future, and merely circling the hype to stay relevant today?

One thing is clear, it’s very murky out there, and all we can really do is hatch a semi-realistic plan and try and stay on top of it as the future unravels in front of us…


(Cross-posted @ Horses for Sources)

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Founder and Chief Executive Officer of HfS Research, the leading global research analyst organization covering global sourcing strategies. Acclaimed Industry Analyst and Consultant who scribes the leading blog for the services industry "Horses for Sources".  Previously worked  at AMR Research (Gartner Inc),  Deloitte Consulting’s BPO Advisory Services, the  Everest Group and  IDC .  In 2010, Phil was named “IIAR Analyst of the Year” by the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR). This is the most coveted global award for industry analysts in technology and services.

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