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

15 January 2019

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.

EY launches advanced tool to assess trustworthiness of AI technology

12 April 2019

Global professional services firm Ernst & Young has announced the release of an advanced analytical tool to assess the trustworthiness of artificial intelligence.

Enabled by Microsoft Azure, the EY Trusted AI platform released by the global professional services firm Ernst & Young produces a technical score of an artificial intelligence system by leveraging advanced analytics to evaluate its technical design, measuring risk drivers including its “objective, underlying technologies, technical operating environment and level of autonomy compared with human oversight.”

Aimed at helping to resolve the issue of trust in technology, which the firm contends is the biggest barrier to wider AI adoption, the new tool’s risk scoring model is based on the ‘EY Trusted AI conceptual framework’ launched last year, which speaks to embedding trust mechanisms in an AI system at the earliest stages around the core pillars of ethics, social responsibility, accountability and explainability, and reliability.

“Trust must be a front-line consideration, rather than a box to check after an AI system goes live,” said Keith Strier, EY’s Global Advisory Leader for Artificial Intelligence. “Unlike traditional software, which can be fixed, tested and patched, if a neural network is trained on biased data, it may be impossible to fix, and the entire investment could be lost.”AI system overviewUsers of the new solution such as AI developers, executive sponsors, and risk professionals will be able to garner deeper insights into a given AI system to better identify and mitigate risks unique to artificial intelligence technology, with the platform score produced by the tool subject to a complex multiplier based on the impact on users – taking into account potential unintended consequences such as social and ethical implications.

According to the firm, it’s the first solution designed to help enterprises evaluate, monitor and quantify the impact and trustworthiness of AI, while an evaluation of governance and control maturity further serves to reduce residual risks and allow greater planning – helping to safeguard “products, brands, relationships and reputations” in the contemporary risk environment.

“If AI is to reach its full potential, we need a more granular view – the ability to predict conditions that amplify risks and then target mitigation strategies for risks that may undermine trust, while still considering traditional system risks such as reliability, performance and security,” said EY Global Trusted Artificial Intelligence Advisory Leader Cathy Cobey.

Offered as a standalone or managed service – which will be regularly updated with new AI risk metrics, measurement techniques and monitoring tools – the new solution will be available to clients globally this year, with further features including a guided interactive, web-based interface and a function to drill down for additional detail, as well as the ability to perform dynamic risk forecasting on when an AI component changes – such as an agent’s functional capabilities or level of autonomy.