Many British enterprises have been investing in intelligent business automation even as overall UK IT spending declines, according to a new research report published by Information Services Group (ISG), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.
“Labor shortages, supply chain issues and energy costs give companies more reason to use intelligent business automation”
The 2021 ISG Provider Lens Intelligent Automation – Solutions and Services report for the U.K. finds organizations flocked to conversational AI early in the COVID-19 pandemic and many are also contracting for managed AIOps services and adopting intelligent document processing. These trends occurred while a triple shock to the nation’s economy—from the pandemic, rising energy prices and supply chain challenges related to Brexit—reduced IT investment, the report says.
“Labor shortages, supply chain issues and energy costs give companies more reason to use intelligent business automation,” said James Ewing, U.K. director for ISG Automation. “Over the next several years, British enterprises are likely to seek more automation solutions and services to become more efficient and reach customers through new channels.”
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Many enterprises in the UK deployed conversational AI in the early days of the pandemic so virtual agents, including omnichannel agents for text, messaging and voice, could handle a surge in customer and employee queries as commerce and work were disrupted, ISG says. Software-as-a-service models lowered the cost of entry for this technology, allowing small enterprises to add the new capabilities.
In addition, intelligent document processing is empowering a wide range of U.K. enterprises, including major banks, telecoms companies and outsourcing providers, to automate manual processes and extract valuable information from documents, according to the report. These capabilities will be even more vital as trade processes and regulatory compliance grow more complex in the wake of Brexit.
British organizations are also embracing artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) to ensure the smooth functioning of IT systems, as well as adopting automated process discovery and mining, the report says. The latter is helping enterprises to fully understand their processes and operate more effectively as a result.
These UK trends are part of a global wave of automation built into products, services and consumer and employee interactions, ISG says. The pandemic led many organizations to see automation’s full potential to transform ways of working, producing and consuming. In place of episodic, piecemeal initiatives, enterprises are seeking holistic hyper-automation solutions that allow them to completely reimagine their processes, operating models and work modes.
As part of this revolution, low-code development platforms are giving non-technical employees the power to tailor automation solutions, ISG says. Enterprises are using plug-and-play solutions to introduce intelligent automation faster and gain early returns on investment, while cloud-based services are spreading new automation technologies to small and midsize organizations. These initiatives come with challenges, including the need for new skills and effective change management.
The 2021 ISG Provider Lens Intelligent Automation – Solutions and Services report for the UK evaluates the capabilities of 93 providers across five quadrants: Intelligent Business Automation, Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps), Conversational AI, Intelligent Document Processing, and Process Discovery and Mining.
The report names Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, HCL, Hexaware, IBM, Infosys, TCS and Wipro as Leaders in two quadrants each. It names ABBYY, ABBYY Timeline, Amelia, Artificial Solutions, Automation Anywhere, Celonis, Cognizant, Creative Virtual, Genpact, Google, Kofax, Microsoft, Minit, SAP Signavio and UiPath as Leaders in one quadrant each.
In addition, Acuvate, AntWorks, FortressIQ, LTI, QPR Software, Soroco and WNS are named as Rising Stars—companies with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in one quadrant each.