Survey reveals wide-spread RPA investment plans ahead of Middle East forum

15 January 2019 3 min. read

In the lead-up to this year’s Middle Eastern RPA and Intelligent Automation Forum, event host IQPC has found that four out of five cross-industry leaders are planning investment in RPA solutions within the coming eighteen months. 

Robotic process automation (RPA) is touted as a huge benefit to businesses, especially as to operations and in particular back-office functions such as finance, human resources, supply- chain, and contact-center and customer services. Previously, Hadoop estimated that companies could potentially save between $5 trillion to $7 trillion through the implementation of RPA technologies by 2025.

To shed some light on the current state of  regional RPA adoption in the run-up to this year’s EY-sponsored ‘Middle Eastern RPA and Intelligent Automation Forum’, the digitally-minded B2B event promotor IQPC has surveyed a number of senior leaders from pioneering firms across a variety of industries, including the financial services, real estate & construction, telecoms, IT, and oil & gas sectors.

All in all, the survey revealed that some 79 percent of respondents were planning investment into RPA solutions in the next six to eighteen months, while 15 percent of the companies had a budget ranging from $500,000 to $2 million for RPA and intelligent automation projects over that time span. Yet, while funding and plans are widely in place, just 20 percent said they had selected a solutions provider.Current areas of RPA investment Middle EastIn addition to the top bracket of investors, 17 percent of respondents stated an eighteen-month budget of a quarter of a million to half a million dollars, while 68 percent were budgeted for below $250,000. Meanwhile, following RPA solutions, investments would be most commonly targeted at digital workforce management (79%) and AI solutions (77%), with cognitive computing also attracting interest.

To date, just 6 percent of the companies surveyed had implemented a form of cognitive computing, which broadly describes technology able to simulate human thought patterns in a computerised model by bringing together a range of AI and machine learning capabilities. Over a third of companies however stated plans for future implementation, with a further 13 percent already in the pilot stage.

Perhaps most revealing, although in accord with recent a recent survey BCG survey which suggested Middle East companies are being slow to act on AI despite their positive embrace, is that 80 percent of those planning investment were yet to decide on an RPA solutions provider, said to be “looking for the right provider that can help automate the correct  process and be flexible in its application.”

Incidentally, forum sponsor Ernst & Young was recently assessed as the world’s leading provider for RPA services in a study by research firm HfS, followed by Capgemini and KPMG, with Accenture landing in fourth ahead of a further 25 assessed providers. Meanwhile, over half of the companies surveyed by IQPC stated that they were considering Business Process Outsourcers for their intelligent automation implementation.  

The 3rd annual ‘Middle Eastern RPA and Intelligent Automation Forum’ takes place on 19-20 February at the Meydan Hotel in Dubai – with RPA and AI leaders from AXA, ING, and Nokia among the range of confirmed speakers. With offices in Dubai and Doha among its ten international locations world-wide, IQPC offers approximately 2,000 innovation-focused conferences around the globe each year.