Industry Pulse Check: Challenges, Priorities, and Assessment Methods For Investment Decisions

By: Geena Monaco
10/19/2020

Heading into the last few months of 2020, organizations are starting to get back on track and with a calmed sense of direction. Following the unforeseen upheaval brought on by COVID-19, many companies are going back to a proactive approach after months of reacting to the disruption of their workflow. This composure in a brand new world is calling for a shift in investment priorities in order to beat emerging risks and meet the digital initiatives that have been fast tracked.

In an effort to help our partners get a better idea of what is going on in the minds of their top prospects, we conducted a “pulse check” of our audience by exploring their top challenges, how they plan to access new opportunities, and what their leading priorities are heading into 2021.

Before we look forward at 2021, we had to understand the position our community found themselves in when COVID-19 hit. During a poll at SSON’s Intelligent Automation World Series, we asked the audience to let us know how COVID-19 impacted their organization’s digital strategy. With 26% of attendees answering, “We automated rapidly, tackled all the low-hanging fruit and are now planning ahead for 2021,” we saw that while the world may have taken a pause, digital transformation strategies certainly pushed forward. The remaining 74% of the audience was split. With around 60% responding that plans stalled or priorities were refocused in some way or another, it was obvious that the drastic change in work led many organizations to re-evaluate their plans.


Outside of COVID-19, many still find themselves having problems implementing automation technology within their organizations. During a time when digital initiatives have been fast tracked, it is crucial to remove any road blocks that can appear during the implementation stage of their journey and they may look to outside partners to help them remove these obstructions. During a poll conducted by SSON in which the audience could pick all of the implementation challenges that applied to them, 52% said the lack of knowledge about automation technologies was a roadblock for them. The challenges do not stop there, view the graph below to learn more about what our respondents saw as a major challenge to implementing their IA solution.


After getting and update on our community’s top digital transformation challenges, we sought out to get a better idea of what processes and approaches they are taking in an effort to understand what the best automation strategy is for them. To know what organizations are identifying as most important for automation technology selection, we asked what the top 3 factors are for determining process selection of IA. Polls showed the top three answers to be:

  • Time saved through automation
  • Repeatability of process
  • Potential for scaling


These answers show us that business leaders are looking to automation technology to relieve their workforce for repetitive, mundane tasks so that they can free up hours to be used on other responsibilities.

In conjunction with these top three factors, we also wanted to know what approach is being taken to assess automation opportunities. It was no surprise that these two closely align with 47% of respondents claiming to assess routine process analysis and optimization so that they can free up time spent on traditional processes.


After learning what challenges are being faced and the processes being used to alleviate these challenges, we then looked into top consumer priorities. Knowing that digital transformation is a necessity for the longevity of most organizations, it was important to understand where exactly organizations see the most potential and where they are most likely to put their investment.


With 2021 right around the corner, it was important to understand the intelligent technologies that are being prioritized. The top three answers were:

  • Robotic Process Automation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cloud infrastructure

This shows up that even though many organizations are already well on their well and are moving into hyperautomation, the majority of organizations are still in the RPA phase and looking to invest in this technology above all else.


With COVID-19 drastically disrupting the way we work and pushing up digital initiatives 5-10 years, it is important to have a better understanding of the challenges, process, and priorities of business professionals so that you can help them reach their goals. For more information on these respondents and how to share your solutions with them, reach out the Intelligent Automation event team here.


Sources: SSON's Global State Of Intelligent Automation Market Report 2020