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Most Companies Waste Time with Repetitive Tasks Despite Awareness of Automation Benefits

November 19, 2012
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - TMCnet Contributor

What’s the biggest time suck in your company? In your call center? If you’re like most organizations, if you really think about it, you’ll realize that it’s repetitive tasks that chew through a majority of your employees’ or agents times. You’re not alone – this is typical of most companies.

New research commissioned by UK-based IT and business process automation specialist Redwood Software (News - Alert) found that 99 percent of organizations spend considerable time doing repetitive manual tasks, with almost two-thirds of respondents – 64 percent – reported spending over a quarter of their time doing so. The study, conducted by research group Vanson Bourne, found that all organizations claim to automate processes to some degree, but this was largely limited to certain tasks and functions within organizations, such as human resources or payroll (23 percent) and billing (26 billing).

Clearly, many organizations are missing opportunities to automate business processes that can save their employees’ time and boost productivity.

Respondents on average claimed only 30 percent of their IT and business processes are automated, despite around half believing many of their processes – IT, business intelligence and reporting – would benefit from greater level of automation. While automation is lagging, awareness of the benefits of automation are high, curiously enough. The study found that:

·         83 percent of enterprises said automation delivered time savings;

·         73 percent cited ‘improved business productivity’ as the key benefit of automation; and

·         63 percent said automation regularly provides cost savings.

So if companies are aware of the benefits of automation, why aren’t they implementing it? The study asked just that question, and found that the three primary barriers to the implementation of business process automation solutions included not having the right knowledge to do so (49 percent); concern about managing complex processes (66 percent); and not being able to integrate legacy applications with new applications (67 percent).

“It seems that businesses have just cherry-picked the ‘easy’ automation targets across a range of processes rather than tackling them from A-Z, despite seeing the value in doing so – it’s a contradiction in terms,” said Tijl Vuyk, CEO of Redwood Software, in a statement announcing the results of the study.

“Whether it’s a lack of education, a lack of willingness, or a lack of confidence in branching out one’s process automation network, enterprises suffer because of the automation silos they have generated. This is a significant opportunity for enterprises to confront the automation contradiction. But the key to grasping this opportunity is knowledge – knowledge of what processes can be automated, and how this can directly impact business goals. Only then will the gap between silos be bridged, and benefits achieved,” Vuyk added.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli