New Global Intelligent Automation Market Report Finds Biggest Wins Still in RPA, But Market Focus on Artificial Intelligence

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London, 31 July 2017 – The Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON), the world’s leading forum for business services executives, has today released the Global Intelligent Automation Market Report (H1 2017), shedding light on what has proven to be a complex but lucrative opportunity for business transformation across the globe.

Intelligent automation (IA) is the fastest growing technology with the greatest power for disruption across every sector of an enterprise.

At its most basic, it eliminates mundane, repetitive tasks. At the other extreme, it will replace higher-level cognitive human abilities with a far greater capacity for volume, analysis, accuracy and consistency than can be performed by humans. For shared services (business support services) IA presents a significant opportunity to refocus staff on value-adding activities.

The report is sponsored by EY, with insights provided by its global robotic process automation advisory team, which focuses on business solutions enabled by automation, including RPA, machine learning, natural language generation, natural language processing and other AI tools.  

This report (the first in a 2-part series) is one of the most comprehensive you will find on this fast-changing topic. With contribution from independent advisor Lee Coulter, CEO of Ascension Service Center, in his capacity as Chief Intelligent Automation Officer for SSON and Chair of the IEEE Working Group on Standards in Intelligent Process Automation, it analyses the broad continuum of opportunities represented by intelligent automation from the critical perspective of “fit for purpose.”

Starting with scripting and ending with artificial intelligence, the report demystifies IA and fills a pressing gap on the practitioner side (the buy side) by clarifying the impact, requirements, and benefits of different tools. It also highlights the crucial role of enterprise data in enabling automation.

“The world of intelligent process automation is moving at light speed,” says Coulter. “Knowing how to really make this stuff work is critical. As enterprises embark on this journey, it is really key to understand what is fit for purpose and what is over-reaching.”

For practitioners struggling to guide the conversation towards their enterprise needs, the report also lists 8 considerations to ensure the right “fit for purpose” IA solution.

Specifically, the Global Intelligent Automation Market Report (H1 2017) explains how to:

  • plan for a new operational model enabled by IA
  • encourage a brand new way of thinking, away from traditional “roadmaps” based on sequential targets to a culture of agile learning and discovery
  • understand that IA’s true value lies in executing corporate strategy and sustaining constant change


Weston Jones, EY Global RPA and Intelligent Automation Leader, Advisory, says:

"We work closely with our clients across key sectors, such as financial services, manufacturing, oil and gas, power and utilities, consumer products and retail, to effectively deploy digital-enabled emerging technologies, which are the foundations of the digital workforce of the future.

"Through these associations, we have built deep capabilities and experience that combine Intelligent Automation capabilities and analytics to improve effectiveness and efficiency for both repetitive and critical processes, which is rapidly transforming the way people work. We are pleased to sponsor this report by SSON, that clearly lays out the key factors that leaders should consider in their intelligent automation and digital transformation journey.”

Download the full report at

Editor’s Note: The second part of this series will be released in December 2017, and will include the role of blockchain, machine learning, natural language programming, natural language generation and artificial intelligence. It will also include case studies to illustrate how IA is being deployed most effectively.


About the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON):

The Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON) is the largest and most established community of shared services and outsourcing professionals in the world, with over 120,000 members.

SSON provides a learning and networking platform for shared services professionals, offering industry-leading events, training, reports, surveys, interviews, white papers, videos, editorial, infographics, and more.



Barbara Hodge, Global Editor, Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON)

+1 904 824 3631