2023 Research Insights on Combating Inflation with Intelligent Automation

May 23, 2023

Manufacturers Lead RPA Adoption, Finance and Healthcare Gaining Speed

If you work in Manufacturing, Banking/Finance, or in Healthcare, you’re probably hearing a lot about Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and for good reason. Each of these verticals has adopted and will continue to refine existing deployments to automate repetitive and tedious tasks that otherwise bog down staff. RPA frees staff to do work that is more meaningful, saving time and money for the organization. And as employers are finding, RPA is a great way to address staffing shortages, and allow employees greater work morale in regard to the tasks they complete.

Allowing bots to complete these repetitive tasks is only one reason more organizations are heeding the call of RPA. According to Gartner, RPA is the fastest-growing enterprise software since at least 2018. Its adoption picked up speed during the pandemic as more and more organizational leaders started to view RPA as a tool to add flexibility and purpose to work, and increase the speed and accuracy of information from the organization to customers and key stakeholders.

So it’s no surprise these three verticals stand to benefit the most from automated processes. RPA also delivers more efficiency and cost savings – along with higher job satisfaction for employees by eliminating time-consuming and repetitive low-value tasks.

Who is doing the most – and getting the most benefit – with RPA?

While there are clear advantages in use cases for RPA, there may still be confusion and indecision about how to best put bots to work in order to gain the most benefit. Konica Minolta wanted to learn more about the state of companies’ RPA investments, processes and pain points, so we commissioned Keypoint Intelligence to conduct a study with U.S. CFOs and CIOs to investigate the prevalence of RPA solutions within their organizations and the benefits they’ve received through automation.

Survey Methodology

A sample size of 100 executive respondents from enterprises of 500 or more employees

Respondents work in the Banking/Finance, Manufacturing or Healthcare verticals, in a Finance (44%) or IT (56%) C-level role. The majority of the respondents work within organizations that have 500-4,999 employees, and the mean forecasted revenue for these verticals for 2023 is $2.1 Billion. Respondents were headquartered in every region of the U.S., with the greatest numbers in the NE and SE. The highest number of respondents (24%) held the title of Director of IT. Other top-ranking titles included Chief Financial Officer (19%), VP/Head/Director of Digital Transformation (17%) and Director of Finance (16%).

Findings confirmed the three industries are in different phases of the RPA journey

Organizations in the Manufacturing sector are further along the RPA adoption curve than those in the other verticals surveyed. Manufacturing organizations have been using RPA or Intelligent Automation (IA) tools for the longest period of time, reiterating that they are the earliest adopters of the technology among the three verticals. Manufacturers have also deployed automation earlier and for more of their processes, with Finance/Banking organizations not far behind.

Manufacturers have deployed the largest number of automations (averaging 10.9) vs. Healthcare, with the fewest (7.6 on average), and in some Healthcare organizations surveyed, only one automation had been deployed. The Banking/Finance vertical was in the middle, with six to ten automations deployed.

While Healthcare organizations are the most recent adopters of the three verticals, they represent the greatest growth opportunities for RPA providers: 87% of Healthcare CFOs/CIOs indicated that they’re considering investment in RPA or IA solutions in the coming year.

How these verticals are developing and using their RPA and IA solutions

The survey indicated that most of the organizations are developing their RPA or IA solutions in-house vs. outsourcing. 72% were developed by IT, and 21% of companies have a dedicated RPA developer on staff. In Banking, there’s a higher likelihood of having staff developers dedicated to automation processes. In addition, companies with 1,500+ employees are a bit more likely to use a large, global RPA firm.

Departments with the highest incidence of piloting RPA within these verticals included:

  • Sales
  • Field Service and Support
  • Purchasing

What are the biggest challenges when implementing automation?

Security challenges and concerns topped the list of each vertical. Nearly 50% of finance and IT executives confirmed this is a top concern or major challenge. This is not surprising, considering the growing amounts of data every organization works with today, and the critical role of privacy and government regulations in protecting sensitive information.

Infrastructure and outsourcing were both areas in which respondents indicated there was room for improvement. We recommend working closely with your IT team to ensure proper infrastructure requirements are in place so the project can continue as planned. If you choose to outsource, it’s key to ensure that each team is properly aligned with goals, timeframes and experience so you can keep achieving the goals you set forth.

Manufacturing organizations are the oldest and most aggressive RPA adopters

The survey not only found that Manufacturing was the most aggressive in its approach, but also had the highest number of automations deployed overall. These organizations had the most aggressive and financially driven investment approach, focused on cost reduction, with 70% of the respondents wanting to identify areas with repetitive tasks so they can focus on cost savings and ROI.

Banking/Finance organizations are more moderate RPA investors

These respondents indicated a more conservative investment approach to RPA, as they are somewhat newer adopters. But a high percentage of the respondents said they are considering more automation solutions because the top benefit they seek is increasing staff productivity, with 44% stating they want to improve tracking and monitoring.

Healthcare organizations are the newest and most cautious adopters

This group is characterized as conservative in their approach to RPA implementation, but they are the highest percentage of executives considering more automation. These respondents stated that ensuring accuracy and reducing errors are top benefits, and 41% want to use it to free up time within HR processes.

Bottom line: RPA success requires planning, processes and the right solutions provider

Despite the current economic uncertainty, there is plenty of momentum for investment in RPA and IA to enhance efficiency, ensure business continuity, and help you to be more profitable.

It’s essential to choose the right processes to automate before investing in solutions, so planning is critical. It should involve the people at the front lines doing the work, not just the IT department or RPA developers. For Finance executives, increasing employee productivity was the main focus for 2023, while IT executives primarily plan to invest in two automation areas: data integrity management across systems and network monitoring.

Konica Minolta has the experience and expertise to help any automation effort

To help with automation that delivers the right results, we will first conduct a thorough analysis to understand your processes, challenges and needs. The result will be a recommendation report, delivery roadmap and execution plan.

Konica Minolta can help you navigate the ever-changing market landscape. Learn more online about our dedicated back office and RPA solutions, created to help you streamline enterprise operations, reduce costs and automate mundane business processes.

Heather Maitre
Vice President, RPA Business Practice

Heather Maitre is the Vice President of Konica Minolta’s RPA Business Practice, and also leads its internal Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence. She is a former CIO and has held executive IT positions in large, complex global enterprises such as KPMG. She has consulted with VP- and C-level executives at numerous Fortune 100 clients in the government, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, entertainment and financial services verticals on digital transformation and solving complex business problems with transformation mapping, Intelligent Automation and IT Service Management as key approaches.