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What makes an intelligent automation leader? Pegasystems releases new study

For automation implementations to be successful, businesses need greater executive buy-in, implementation across the organisation and more robust governance.

This is according to new research by Pegasystems. The global study, conducted by research firm iResearch, surveyed 1,000 respondents in C-level, vice-president, and director positions from 12 nations and multiple industry sectors on the maturity of intelligent automation projects today.

The study found that the technology is developing at a rapid pace and identified three areas crucial for any organisation to consider to become an intelligent automation leader.

Secure executive buy-in

The vast majority (81%) of intelligent automation deployments today are led by only one individual at the C-level, and these projects may not be reaching their full potential, the research finds.

The 18% of respondents that report across-the-board C-suite buy-in of such projects demonstrate greater collaboration between the business and technical sides of their enterprise, stronger governance, more cross-department strategies, and more platforms on which to build out new applications.

Businesses running projects with the full support of the C-suite also tend to view low-code and intelligent automation as a means to digital transformation, with 72% of these organisations running low-code projects that are either considered intelligent or mature.

This compares to just 51% of companies whose projects are only CTO-driven and 48% of businesses with only CEO-led projects and whose projects are at a minimum considered integrated.

Develop as many champions as possible

Securing support from the top isn't enough, according to the research.

The study shows the importance of engaging both IT and multidisciplinary business units for true transformation.

In fact, 53% of respondents who had both the support of the entire executive suite and active participation by all key decision-makers across IT and business operations in their intelligent automation projects reported full collaboration in application building across all business functions, resulting in applications that work with everyone in mind not just one siloed department.

By contrast, barely one quarter of respondents with a single C-suite intelligent automation champion report the same level of business-wide collaboration in the creation of low-code applications.

Implement a strong governance framework

When implemented properly, low code can bring business users into the intelligent automation development process, the study states.

However, just 30% of respondents have a formal governance structure in place for all their intelligent automation projects to help minimise risk of inconsistencies and maximise business outcomes.

This again underlines the importance of executive buy-in; almost half (49%) of projects that are driven by the entire C-suite reported as more likely to have formal governance structures in place to ensure the health and success of all projects, compared to 26% with CEO-driven projects, and just 24% with CTO-led projects.

Pegasystems general manager Eric Musser says, “The world of intelligent automation is fast-growing and quickly evolving. Businesses using intelligent automation solutions just a few years ago would have been considered leaders in the space, but would be laggards by today's standards.

"The challenges and opportunities created by new data streams, low-code technologies, and ever-expanding customer engagement opportunities make it imperative that organisations engage at all levels of the business, as part of a centre-out approach that structures technology around specific outcomes you want to achieve for the business and for your customers.

"Only then will you be able to reap the benefits of effective intelligent automation implementations now and into the future.”