At an Executive Insights Luncheon hosted by the SS&C Blue Prism leadership team, Michael Araneta, Associate Vice-President for IDC Financial Insights gave attendees an exclusive insight into the company’s research that looked at trends to watch in 2023. This covered the challenges faced by businesses, the high impact business processes ripe for automation and the potential of intelligent automation in different industries.
The world is in the midst of a series of disruptive forces, from supply chain constraints to inflationary pressures, and from the skills gap to geopolitical tensions, said Araneta. The forces are gathering pace along with a fragile recovery from the pandemic to create a uniquely compounding event, which is also exacerbating the cost of living crisis.
He explained that not only are the problems facing the world getting worse, but that they are also increasingly interwoven – and can lead to further risks such as cyberattacks and operational downtime.
“It costs $1.4 million per hour of downtime for a typical bank in the Asian region,” he said. “Every time that they fail or are not able to operate, they face the risk of fines, too, which could be punitive.”
While organizations are used to weathering temporary disruptions, there are signs that the present difficulties organizations face may be here to stay. The economy is experiencing so-called ‘sticky inflation’, where prices have risen quickly but may be slow to come down again.
Fractured digital transformation projects
There is also a big gap between high performing and low performing companies, but also a fracturing effect on digital transformation projects because of pressure on the bottom line. “Some projects might be reversed or even cancelled; some will be accelerated,” Araneta said. “In fact, some subprojects within these large digital transformation projects might face different strategies or maybe take a different trajectory altogether.
Araneta added. “Some organizations are saying that they will intensify their transformation projects because we know for a fact that some of the issues are beyond our control, so let's just control what we can.”
However, there are some risky strategies that the financial services industry continues to follow, including Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes and the overestimation of crypto assets. To understand how ready organizations are to recover from the current crisis, IDC has carried out research focused on their current IT challenges.
The research finds that responses can be broadly divided into five equal categories. The largest category (35.4%) is described as ‘justifying the IT budget’, with a less than 6% year-on-year IT budget growth. “There are some markets that will perform better, but 6% is really one of the lowest I’ve seen in a long period of time”, observed Araneta.
The second group includes those that are integrating disparate applications. To fight obsolescence, just 10% of applications are net-new, while 50% of the portfolio are iteratively modernized. As companies modernize, they move towards more flexible cloud platforms – the 10% of new apps are cloud native.
The third group includes organizations that manage outsourced vendors for IT. There is a clear trend for such vendors to hire significantly more DevOps or DevSecOps resources, so they can provide the digital and mobile apps that companies want to use. “Vendors are talking about a ‘golden team’ of around 200 developers, who would emulate the success of centres of excellence (CoEs) run by corporates,” said Araneta.
The fourth group includes IT teams that deliver to service levels as required by the business, and which are increasingly important as key performance indicators (KPIs) in digital companies.
Finally, the fifth group include those that see cloud as the underlying architecture of the future, but still have a preference currently for multi-cloud, or hybrid cloud platforms. Their infrastructure constrains their scalability and flexibility.
Eight marks of a 2023-ready business process
Transaction volumes continue to rise as customers adopt digital channels: there were 100% more transactions in 2021 than there were in 2020, said Araneta. “There are new modes of customer engagement and pre-staged interactions. It means that data needs to be made ready when the time is right for the consumer. This involves co-browsing and information heavy interactions that require data and insights, so that customers can make decisions right away.”
Different industry sectors are working on high impact business processes which are reducing friction for customers. Financial services institutions, for example, have managed to reduce onboarding from a benchmark of 10 minutes in 2021 to just two minutes in 2022.
Customers will continue to expect empowerment from providers across all industries in the years ahead, added Araneta. “It’s not just about the interface,” he said. “What customers want the most is certainty and trust. The delivery of real time, personal, instantaneous business processes will bring us out of this cycle of a storm that we are facing. But the good news is that we've done it before and hopefully with a good set of technologies we'll do it again.”
The eight attributes needed to deliver business processes:
- Ability to scale
- Supportive of new types of interactions
- Customer empowerment
- Frictionless redefined
- Instantaneous value
- Ecosystem oriented
When considering an intelligent automation platform, organizations should therefore be looking for the ability to deliver enterprise-wide scale, for the platform to be simple, usable and reusable by business users, resiliency and stability through governance and controls, availability of real-time analytics and intelligence powered by AI and innovative tools.
Moving forward with intelligent automation
In 2022 and beyond, growth is both the ultimate goal and arbiter of technology priorities. IDC’s most recent research reveals how intelligent process automation is applied to business processes that create the most impact to growth – either because they assure greater ability to push new products to market, deepen the customer relationship, or create positive customer experiences.
Another integral component of the session was an open forum with SS&C Blue Prism executives, who shared the company’s plans for the future of the business and the Blue Prism platform, as well as providing insights in response to questions raised by the customer community.
The Executive Insights Luncheon covered a lot of ground, and many views and questions were shared, especially during Michael Araneta’s take on the threats and opportunities for business. If you would like to know more, please view the presentation here.