TS493221631_web2Google the term “process automation,” and you’ll quickly realize that it’s also called any number of other things:

  1. Service Delivery Automation
  2. Robotic Process Automation
  3. Intelligent Process Automation
  4. Machine Learning
  5. Artificial Intelligence
  6. Cognitive Computing
  7. Autonomics

Simple as alphabet soup, right? This search result reflects a confusing market that is still up for grabs. The debate over how to define the market, its potential, and real-life implementations exemplify where we are in the broader automation discussion right now — still early, as service providers try to define solution boundaries and market territory.

At its core, whatever you choose to call it, “automation” enables a digitally savvy enterprise to transform service delivery operations, helping to extend past gains from labor arbitrage and bringing cost savings, accuracy, and scale to a whole new level.  Beyond that, automation also generates volumes of incredibly valuable and rich data which enables smarter decision making for everything from optimizing current processes and operations to predicting where and how best to provide new products and services.

Systems integrators and cognitive technology platform companies, along with the analyst community, are leading the automation debate to make sense of this trend that will transform enterprises over the next 3-5 years:

Meanwhile, Horses for Sources wrote four blogs on automation over the last four weeks about its potential, and also released its first HfS Autonomics Premier League Table for 2016.

HfS is attempting to bring some order into this fluid market, combining the terms Robotic Process Automation, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, etc., under one umbrella — “Autonomics” — which is a broad reference term for process automation approaches beyond RPA.

And they make some bold statements in their latest December 2015 report:

  • Large service providers and BPOs…haven’t yet fully understood the impact on revenue models as well as being anxious about the levels of transparency resulting from automation.
  • Small technology providers have been educating the market.  Large service providers are starting to educate stakeholders on automation, and this will lead to Intelligent Automaton moving center stage in 2016.
  • Both the level of interest as well as deployments of Autonomics have increased significantly, and for many organizations having an automation strategy has become a strategic priority.
  • Intelligent Automation is a key building block for moving forward in the “As-a-Service” Economy.

A Key Player Making the Cut to the Big Leagues

“Automation has been the watchword of 2015 – has it lived up to the hype? Can we expect the noise to continue next year, or will it calm down?” states HfS’s Tom Reuner. Tom said, “it is the IT juggernauts that are at the forefront (or being culpable) for hype.”

At Cognizant, which HfS placed at #4 in the Autonomics Premiere League Table, we feel strongly that automation is no longer just hype, but fast becoming a reality for many of our clients. The cognitive solutions market is projected to exceed $40 billion by the year 2020 (per IDC’s ICT Market Outlook on October 2015 webcast, by Crawford Del Prete).

TS488759717_webIntelligent Automation, along with deep domain knowledge and system integration expertise can drive real business outcomes across the continuum. While many clients are at early exploratory stages on where automation will best help them, others are progressing very rapidly into automating processes across front, middle, and back-office operations.  Industries taking advantage of this new era of automation cross the spectrum from banking, insurance and financial services to healthcare and life sciences to communications, manufacturing and logistics.

We believe its important to help educate our clients about this complex market and help them better understand the landscape with more clarity. And of equal importance, help them understand the potential value of automation as a force for transforming their business model to one prepared and enabled to excel in the fast approaching digital era.

In order to help clients get started, we urge them to organize their Automation strategy to take full advantage of all three Automation Horizons: “Do, Think and Learn.” Check out my LinkedIn post to read more.

I would be interested in hearing your views on the new term: Autonomics. Or, hear about where your organization is in its automation maturity.

Join me in the conversation at Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Matt Smith is Associate Vice-President at Cognizant and Conversational AI Practice Leader, where he leads a team dedicated to helping companies understand,... Read more