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Every RPA Research Report We Could Find

Given all the exuberance around RPA, there’s surprisingly little research on it. We decided to collect (and share) all the RPA research we could find. Our goal is not only to spark discussion, but also inspire additional research projects that will benefit the RPA and automation community.

2020 RPA Research Reports 

Barriers and Best Practices for Scaling RPA

By Forrester Consulting (commissioned by Tricentis) 

Goal: Assess what RPA programs really look like on the ground and evaluate what challenges firms face related to scaling those programs.

Interesting findings:

  • Less than one in five firms are very effective at resilient automation, and firms that struggle with resiliency are also four times more likely to say they are very ineffective at controlling costs associated with RPA.

  • Virtually all respondents (99%) say their organizations’ bot logic requires some scripting, with a weighted average of 42% of bot logic expressed within a script. Seventy-nine percent of firms report that their RPA programs require advanced programming skills.

  • Two-thirds of all RPA maintenance work is performed outside of centralized IT.

Read Barriers and Best Practices for Scaling RPA


The Future Of Work Is Still Being Written, But Who Is Holding the Pen?

By Forrester Consulting (commissioned by UIPath) 

Goal: Evaluate the impact of automation and how firms are enabling better planning and preparedness for the future while considering employee experience.

Interesting findings:

  • For 66% of companies in this study, RPA software spend is going to increase by at least 5% over the next 12 months (see Figure 1). Forrester predicts that the RPA services market will reach $7.7 billion, and eventually balloon to $12 billion by 2023.

  • 41% of respondents believe their employees are concerned that their existing digital skills may not match what their job will require in the future, and more than half (53%) said employees are concerned or feel threatened by the growing complexity of tasks they face and will face in the future.

  • Firms believe the following activities will cope with potential automation impacts: Upgrade technology faster for improved employee satisfaction (64%), Workplace certifications (58%), Financial support for education outside of the workplace (42%).

Read The Future Of Work Is Still Being Written, But Who Is Holding the Pen?


The Real State of Automation Progress: Insights into Closing the Digital Maturity Gap

By Catalytic

Goal: Explore key factors contributing to today’s state of automation, including how businesses assess their automation efforts, how well companies are prepared to take automation to the next level, who’s making automation decisions, and what holds companies back from reaching automation maturity.

Interesting findings:

  • 21% of C-suite leaders believe their feel optimistic about their organizations’ automation progress is at “Pro” level, but only 8% of managers do.
  • Fewer than 1/3 say their department is extremely skilled at handling automation
  • Companies where business users drive 40%+ of the automation are 3X ahead of their peers in terms of automation progress.

Read The Real State of Automation Progress: Insights into Closing the Digital Maturity Gap

2019 RPA Research Reports

RPA and Digital Transformation

By Pega 

Goal: Understand more about the benefits and challenges of RPA, both unattended and attended, why it has seen such an uptick in growth, and how it factors into digital transformation.

Interesting findings:

  • Only 39% of planned bots get deployed on time.

  • The biggest challenges with bots: Hard to deploy (52%), Difficult to maintain (41%), Introduces too much complexity (29%).

  • On average, respondents said it takes 18 months to push bots into production and only 39% of bots are deployed on schedule.

Read RPA and Digital Transformation


Taking RPA to the Next Level

By Protviti and ESI ThoughtLab

Goal: Compare the approaches of RPA leaders with those less advanced and to identify those RPA strategies that generated the highest returns.

Interesting findings:

  • RPA leaders are spending five to ten times more on RPA than other companies. 

  • RPA leaders are over 8X less likely to outsource RPA work.

  • RPA leaders are twice as likely to have IT professionals train non-IT employees on RPA.

Read Taking RPA to the Next Level


The Rise Of RPA Will Drive Higher Levels Of Business Efficiency

By Forrester Consulting (commissioned by NICE) 

Goal:  Explore the rapid growth of the RPA market and the impact on customer service efficiency and deliver

Interesting findings:

  • How RPA is impacting jobs (according to managers): reduce manual errors (41%) , lower costs (36%) , enable humans to focus on more strategic work ( 34% ).
  • 49% of employees said RPA has significantly reduced mundane tasks and helped them to focus better on their work.

  • 53% of employees feel that the more successful bots are, the more investment will be diverted toward the tools, rather than the people.

Read The Rise Of RPA Will Drive Higher Levels Of Business Efficiency


The Impact of RPA on Employee Engagement

By Forrester Consulting (commissioned by UIPath) 

Goal: Investigate the impact of RPA on employee engagement and experience

Interesting findings:

  • 66% said RPA restructures existing work, enabling employees to have more human interactions, and 60% said RPA helps employees focus on more meaningful, strategic tasks.

  • Fear builds up the emotional resistance of people and can potentially kill an RPA initiative. Of the firms surveyed, 82% emphasized change management as a challenge, especially when it comes to cultural issues.

  • More than half of surveyed firms report improved employee engagement as a benefit of RPA. Other benefits include increased efficiency (86%), deeper insights into customers (67%), and improved customer service (57%).

Read The Impact of RPA on Employee Engagement

2018 RPA Research Reports

The Robots are Waiting: Are You Ready to Reap the Benefits?

By Deloitte 

Goal: Help senior executives understand market trends and emerging practices in Robotic and Cognitive Automation, assisting them to more effectively achieve widespread adoption.

Interesting findings:

  • Maturity of RPA implementation: Not yet started (32%), RPA proof of concept/value (37%), RPA piloted (13%, RPA implemented (14%), RPA achieved substantial scale (4%).

  • RPA implementation pay off in under a year. Organizations piloting RPA expected, on average, a 9.3-month payback period. In reality, the payback achieved by those that have implemented and scaled RPA was 11.5 months.

  • Only 17% of respondents faced some employee resistance when it comes to piloting RPA. This dropped to only 3% with respondents who were implementing or scaling RPA.

The Robots are Waiting: Are You Ready to Reap the Benefits?


Automate or Stagnate: The Impact of Intelligent Automation on the Future of Work

By Sapio (commissioned by Blue Prism) 

Goal: Develop a roadmap for RPA success by exploring 1)  To what extent RPA and automation, in general, is understood and applied effectively, 2) What impact the technology could have on the global economy, 3) What employees think of the rise of the digital workforce, and 4) The competing views of business leaders and their teams regarding RPA.

Interesting findings:

  • 90% of business decision makers feel that their organization is effective at deploying automation (52% of which say ‘very effective’), compared to just 71% of knowledge workers.  

  • 75% of business decision makers say that they are clear on exactly what the organization wants to achieve through automation. However, just over half of knowledge workers agree that their organization has made it clear exactly what it wants to achieve through automation. 

  • 68% of knowledge workers agree that they appreciate the positive career opportunities provided by automation.

Read Automate or Stagnate: The Impact of Intelligent Automation on the Future of Work


Automation Shapes Digital Transformation

By Forrester Consulting (commissioned by EdgeVerve) 

Goal: Explore the best operating model practices for RPA to deliver long-term value to stakeholders

Interesting findings:

  • The vast majority of respondents reported the TCO of a bot to be anywhere between $15,000 to $25,000 (81%). Only 18% reported the TCO to be more than $25,000 per bot.

  • 70% said for every bot invested, they
    are saving or removing two to three FTEs for back-office operations,
    and 54% said the same for the front office.

  • Top uses of RPA: complaint handling (54%), account onboarding (50%), reporting (48%).

Read Automation Shapes Digital Transformation

Recommended RPA Resources

An analyst's perspective on how to get started with RPA--and the fast track from test automation.

Gartner's recommendations for selecting an RPA tool.

Why resilient RPA is critical, and how Tricentis RPA delivers exceptional resilience.