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Intelligent Automation – Lessons in 2020 and Plans for 2021


In mid-2017 Peeriosity added a new research program focused on Intelligent Automation.  Since the launch we have had over 50 PeercastsTM featuring leading Peeriosity member companies sharing their experiences, with an audience restricted to other Peeriosity members, where consultants and vendors are specifically excluded from the membership to ensure a that a candid and open discussion can take place between peers.  And, since a Peeriosity membership is required, all participants have been screened and prequalified to attend.

In 2017 and 2018 the hype for what was possible was clearly out in front of the actual results companies were able to achieve.  Today, that isn’t the case, with many companies taking the leap and achieving excellent results, with almost all of those having active programs that are continuing to ramp up and expand. 

Company Experience

Recently leading Peeriosity member companies attended a panel discussion of their peers to better understand and discuss the approaches members have taken to this issue, including lessons learned.  Peeriosity members can access a recording of the PeercastTM at any time in the members area of the Peeriosity website.

Here are some of the questions we discussed during the panel discussion:

Data Analytics

  • Setting priorities – using tools to identify opportunities, gut feel from users, input from process owners, process reviews.  Has the process changed over time?

Process Design

  • Processes that have shown the greatest impact, range of processes covered
  • Are results so far incremental or transformational, how will it change in 2021?

Implementation Strategy

  • Implementation team, delivery infrastructure
  • Creating internal expertise vs. help from external consultants…  (and is it better to go big firm or are niche players the way to go?)
  • Experience with software platforms, have you changed, what providers will leap ahead, does it make a difference?
  • Robotic Process Automation and more advanced Artificial Intelligence solutions, landscape in 2020, expectations for 2021


  • Project funding and approval process
  • Role of the internal customer

IT Collaboration

  • How IA efforts are coordinated or integrated with IT in 2020, expectations for 2021


  • If you were to draw a benefit curve, from when you started, through where you think you will be at the end of 2021, what does the curve look like?

Change Management

  • Re-tooling the workforce in 2020, expectations for 2021

Risk Management

  • What were your greatest risks to date, and how do you expect that to change in the future?

iPollingTM Results Review

The results from a recent Peeriosity poll created using the iPollingTM technology illustrate how extensive implementation of Intelligent Automation solutions have been, with 64% reporting that they have technology that is fully operational with dedicated resources and a strategy in place, with an additional 18% reporting that the technology is being tested/implemented now with resources and strategy under development.  Only 6% report being interested in the technology with no progress yet.  Here are the details:

Results for the second poll question that ask about plans for 2021 are also compelling, with 58% reporting that for 2021 their plans are to continue on an aggressive implementation path, with an additional 24% planning to take their project to a fully operational level.  12% report that 14for 2021 they either have no tangible plans for testing solutions, or otherwise have no plans to move ahead in this area.

A few of the comments from members include:

  • These questions were both answered with an emphasis on RPA – where we’ve had a active program for several years. In 2021 and beyond we are looking to enable more AI/ML capabilities to our existing suite of services.
  • An RPA Centre of Excellence is in place. Plan in 2021 is to increase capability within Shared Services and expand toolset (Predictive Intelligence, Machine Learning, Chatbots etc).
  • We have an established RPA Center of Excellence that provides services to many departments within our organization. We have deployed over 10 Bots into production that run on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. in 2021 we hope to continue our aggressive efforts to produce more Bots and provide services globally to our organization.

Closing Summary

During the past 2 or 3 years more and more Peeriosity member companies have achieved success with Intelligent Automation solutions, with the majority of companies both having active program in production with plans to continue to expand their rate of implementation in 2021.  Unlike a major ERP implementation costing many millions of dollars to implement, Intelligent Automation is an area where the investment costs are much lower, with a long list of opportunities for the technology to be leveraged.  The question is why go it alone?  Peeriosity member companies enjoy direct visibility to the experiences of their peers, giving them a significant advantage when evaluating options and making decisions regarding this important technology which continues to grow and mature.

How has your company approached Intelligent Automation opportunities in 2020, and what are your plans for 2021? 

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPollingTM.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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