Still a long road ahead for RPA maturity in Singapore

Photo by Mike Enerio

There is a significant disparity of robotic process automation (RPA) adoption within Asia Pacific’s financial services industry even if there is growing momentum in automation efforts in the region, according to a survey report from Blue Prism.

Findings show that while Australia leads the region with 78% of organisations in the country currently using RPA solutions and technologies, India is second with 49%, followed by Hong Kong (47%), Malaysia (44%) and Singapore (28%).

Results suggest that there is potential for better comprehension and perception around this technology, with only 34% of respondents in Singapore and 50% in Malaysia indicating familiarity with RPA. 

In comparison, there was 85% in Australia, 82% in Hong Kong and 75% in India.

“While RPA adoption across global industries grew at tremendous speed, the disparity of RPA adoption within the APAC financial services industry, indicating a long roadmap before the region reaches RPA and Intelligent Automation maturity,” said Robert Dewar, Blue Prism VP for financial services in APAC.

“Presently, the use of RPA adoption remains largely a tool to improve efficiency and cut costs, rather than a catalyst to accelerate digital transformation,” said Dewar.

The survey shows that almost all (95%) of the organisations that responded felt that the adoption of RPA has improved overall business operations. This includes error and cost reduction (7% each), empowering the workforce to concentrate on higher value tasks (24%) and increasing efficiencies and speed within the organisation (61%).

The report also revealed that across Australia, India, Singapore and Malaysia, the top two areas that companies leverage RPA are the finance and IT departments.

The finance department was not included in the top three areas that Singapore companies will be leveraging RPA in the next two or three years, with companies ranking IT departments (61%) as the top priority for RPA adoption, followed by sales and marketing (54%) and customer service (50%).

Among the five markets that the report covers, Singapore holds the highest percentage of financial institutions (19%) that do not use any of the five disruptive technologies (artificial intelligence, business process management, machine learning, deep learning and predictive analytics).

Also, 79% of firms in Singapore felt that RPA has improved overall business operations, with a reduction in manpower or burden of administrative personnel (68%) as the most significant benefit, and RPA as a catalyst for driving digital transformation (68%).

In terms of factors that organisations in Singapore consider when drawing up an RPA budget, most of them (88%) ranked maintenance costs as the most important factor, followed by implementation costs (59%) and ancillary costs (59%).

Of the organisations that implemented RPA solutions and technologies during the pandemic, most (75%) ranked the increased cost and time savings as well as the reduction in manpower or burden of administrative personnel as the most important factors.

In Singapore, 71% of organisations said that the future growth of RPA is promising.