ISG Bot 3.0 Study Finds Rapid Enterprise Adoption of Automation and Cognitive Technology
Bot 3.0 Companies Say They Are Meeting or Exceeding Business Expectations
The number of enterprises that have established an automation center of excellence and are experimenting with cognitive technology has more than doubled in the last year, according to a new study from Information Services Group (ISG), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.
Preliminary results of the 2019 ISG “Bot 3.0” study were presented today at the ISG Automation Summit in New York City. The study examines the level of automation maturity in enterprises on a scale of Bot 0 to Bot 3.0. Respondents were categorized by the ISG “Bot Framework” methodology, encompassing 30 qualitative and quantitative aspects of automation strategy, organization, best practices, governance and technology.
The preliminary results found the number of companies operating at the Bot 2.0 level has more than doubled over 2018, the biggest increase of any stage on the ISG Bot maturity scale. Nearly half of respondents are at Bot 2.0, having established an automation center of excellence (COE) and actively experimenting with cognitive automation technology. Approximately one-third of respondents are at the Bot 1.0 level, automating some production processes and starting their COE.
The 2019 results show a bell curve, with the fewest respondents at Bot 0 and Bot 3.0, the lowest and highest ends of the automation maturity scale, respectively. Less than 10 percent of respondents are at Bot 0, those just getting started with automation. Likewise, approximately 10 percent of respondents have reached Bot 3.0, the most mature state of enterprise automation capability, with RPA in multiple functional areas and cognitive solutions in production. Bot 3.0 companies report the business value gained from automation is exceeding their expectations.
“ISG is finding that Bot 3.0 companies are using their high-performing COEs to scale automation across the enterprise and drive business results,” said Stanton Jones, director and principal analyst, ISG Research, who delivered the findings in a presentation this morning. “Our initial results for 2019 find the investment in an automation COE has paid off, with nearly all Bot 3.0 companies meeting or exceeding their expectations for cost savings, reduced cycle time and improved data accuracy.”
Bot 3.0 companies are also focusing on their people, the study finds. Nearly 70 percent of Bot 3.0 companies regularly assess the impact of automation on their employees, and more than half can almost always find higher-value work for employees impacted by automation.
Jones said this reflects a broader market trend. “Companies with more advanced automation capabilities recognize the immense productivity gains that can be made by pairing people with bots,” he said. “This requires a significant focus on re-training and upskilling employees, but the effort is well worth it.”
Enterprises at the lower end of the capability scale – Bot 1.0 and 2.0 – said their biggest obstacles to automation are security concerns, lack of executive commitment and skills limitations, while Bot 3.0 companies said their progress is also limited by a lack of skilled employees, as well as software limitations and organizational resistance to change. However, Bot 3.0 companies still expect to make significant changes to their staffing models over the next two years, with plans to bring automation skills in-house and hire more trained workers.
“ISG is pleased to be taking an in-depth look at the state of enterprise automation for the second consecutive year, with results that show enterprise commitment is growing and investment is paying off,” said Mark Davison, partner and global leader, ISG Automation. “The rapid increase in companies that have matured to Bot 2.0 in the past year shows that enterprises understand the value of automation and are quickly taking steps to fully realize the technology’s potential in their own firms.”
The study also identified the critical success factors for companies that have achieved Bot 3.0 capability: They have an automation roadmap; they get active executive support; they successfully train and communicate with their organizations the benefits of automation; they have a proven process to ensure bots are available and secure; they regularly look for ways to reduce errors in their bots, and they regularly track and report on the ROI of their automation programs.