UK Enterprises Step Up Intelligent Automation Projects


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More enterprises in the U.K. are deploying intelligent business process automation, partly in response to the effects of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by Information Services Group (ISG), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2020 ISG Provider Lens™ Intelligent Automation – Solutions and Services report for the U.K. finds an increasing number of companies fast-tracking digital transformation. Many of these initiatives incorporate automation technologies such as natural-language processing (NLP), machine-learning-enabled optical character recognition (OCR) and conversational artificial intelligence (AI). These capabilities have met or exceeded U.K. companies’ expectations of higher productivity, lower costs, greater data accuracy and improved customer experience.

“Business process automation will play a major role in British firms’ responses to the long-term challenges emerging from Brexit and the pandemic,” said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. “Even with these storm clouds over the economy, enterprises are investing more in outsourcing and in automation technologies.”

The report focuses on providers that offer proprietary platforms and related integration and delivery support services. Many customers prefer this type of solution, while others prefer to work with consultants and providers, such as ISG Automation, that are platform-agnostic and offer integration and support services across a range of platforms.

Declining revenue due to Brexit and COVID-19 has forced many large and midsize U.K. companies to do more with less, driving them toward automation and AI for IT operations (AIOps) to maximize productivity, the report says. Brexit may also create an acute skills shortage in the U.K. market, which is highly dependent on a skilled workforce from EU countries, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Enterprises have begun implementing AI capabilities, including conversational AI, to soften the impact of new regulations after Britain leaves the EU. Brexit is expected to lead to an increase in border checks and legal paperwork in the supply chain, and conversational AI could help to ease the transition for companies and their customers, ISG says.

As in other countries, enterprises in the U.K. are adopting intelligent automation to remain competitive, agile and effective – turning to service providers if they lack the in-house knowledge or skills to carry out transformation, the report says. While large enterprises are rapidly embracing the technologies, midsize companies also are gradually moving in this direction. Goals are shifting from cost-cutting through job elimination to improved productivity with automation of routine tasks.

Other trends identified in the report include enterprises embracing low-code/no-code development, so citizen developers can build conversational AI bots or virtual assistants, and integration of business process automation solutions with leading enterprise technology stacks, especially through application programming interfaces (APIs).

The 2020 ISG Provider Lens™ Intelligent Automation – Solutions and Services report for the U.K. evaluates the capabilities of 52 providers across four quadrants: Intelligent Business Automation, Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) for Large Accounts, Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) for Midmarket and Conversational AI. The report evaluates only those providers offering their own proprietary automation platforms; it does not cover independent providers, like ISG Automation, that offer solutions across a range of platforms.

The report names IBM as a leader in three quadrants. It names Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, HCL, Infosys, TCS and Wipro as leaders in two quadrants. Computacenter, Creative Virtual, Genpact, IPSoft, Mindtree and Mphasis are named as leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, Cognizant and Hexaware are named as Rising Stars—companies with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in two quadrants each. Mindtree is named as a Rising Star in one quadrant.

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