A recent HfS and KPMG survey asked 590 business leaders including 100 C-level execs what their top three inhibitors were in ‘achieving strategic and operational goals’ in relation to Intelligent Automation (IA). (1)

From experience the results where unsurprising when addressing IA in a real-world context beyond the marketing hype of armies of robots and artificial intelligence. Overall the top 3 cited were: the limitations of being able to scale with IA, the uncertainty of the financial investment required in second place, closely followed by a lack of organisational clarity and accountability for driving the IA agenda.

Top 3 Barriers to adopting IA and how to remove them

Challenges to Intelligent Automation

Scale: Break out of Silos.

“IA programmes managed and governed as IT initiatives within existing organisational frameworks are having trouble scaling” (2)

Traditional RPA or DTA that has been developed (and often coded) and is managed by the IT Team delivers what Gartner refers to as the ‘myriad islands of automation’ driving operations down a cul-de-sac and into operational silos.  One bot to perform one process does not scale at an enterprise level across an organisation.  True scalability comes from a solution which automates and orchestrates closed-loop end-to-end operations with no coding requirements.  Automation should be run by those at the heart of your organisation, the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

Autonomous environments are living entities which must mirror the changes and adaption of your business so as not to become outdated or obsolete and it is critical that the SMEs manage this to maintain the success of automation.

Financial Investment: Cost vs Reality


“Focus on ‘what do we want to achieve’ rather than ‘what can we use this tech for’ creates a compelling imperative which drives tech investment and integration” (3)

Understanding what the organisations overall objective and vision is should be at the forefront of any business case for financial investment for transformation.

Traditional ROI calculators typically focus on the cost equivalent of directly replacing Full Time Employees. Considering the impact of a 24×7 operation in terms of capacity and scalability and what your existing staff can deliver in addition to the autonomous environment provides a wealth of opportunities.

Is your objective to minimise customer churn by providing industry-leading customer services or being the first to launch new products and services? Are you looking to increase the scale of operations to branch into new competitive markets and increase market share?  Do you have an organisation being challenged by new ‘digital natives’ who have the advantage of green-field operations without the baggage of legacy and organically grown systems?

Understanding and defining your target outcomes become the framework in approaching financial assessment. Aligning the technical investment to both hard and soft ROI provides a greater understanding of the transformational impact of IA.

Clarity and Accountability in Intelligent Automation:


“Factors such as the need for clear IA vision and leadership, talent development, and a much broader approach to change in the face of massive cultural change are needed to align thus far linear execution with exponential expectations” (4)

As a captain of a ship, you wouldn’t embark on a voyage without having in place the team required to man the ship, with the relevant resources and supplies to enable and sustain them. Ultimately you would be unlikely to set sail without a mapped course to your destination.

Likewise, an Intelligent Automation journey requires a captain at the helm to provide overall direction and sponsorship and to clearly articulate and obtain buy-in for the vision. Consider your employees as crew, would they want to join and support you on an unchartered voyage? Putting in place a crew who share the vision combined with the abilities and resources to deliver is key.

Conclusion: Get Team Buy-In For Intelligent Automation Project


To scale, maximise financial investment, and obtain the ultimate man-machine collaboration with IA you must secure the wider business buy-in, it should be more than the latest technical toy. All parties who could or would be affected by IA need to understand the vision and desired outcomes.

By defining these outcomes beyond a traditional ROI, you can view the full impact on the organisation and align these to the operational changes required and the organisational transformation programme which must be run in parallel.

Embrace a Digital Evolution Approach

To help your business ease into the integration of Intelligent Automation systems, your company can adopt a Digital Evolution approach. This minimised-risk strategy sees you redesigning small areas of your business with automation instead of an all-in-one transformation. Learn more about Digital Evolution today.

Find Out More About Intelligent Automation Strategy

Learn more about how Cortex achieves strategic and operational goals for Intelligent Automation in our Strategies and Methodologies.

Source: HFS Research in conjunction with KPMG International, State of Intelligent Automation, 2019 (1) (2) (3)