The next big thing: 94% of finance professionals are looking to implement Intelligent Automation… despite 50% not fully understanding what it means

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New Visma | Onguard research reveals determination among businesses to adopt the technology 

Amsterdam, London, 6th May 2021 – Intelligent Automation (IA) is set to become the latest technology buzzword in the financial sector, with 94% of finance professionals stating they are looking to implement the technology. Despite this, 50% of finance professionals do not understand the technology or the benefits it can bring, according to the latest Fintech Barometer study conducted by Visma | Onguard, leaders in providing solutions for the order-to-cash process. The study, which is now in its fourth year, tracks attitudes and challenges impacting the financial sector, surveying more than 1000 finance professionals in the UK annually.

Defined as a combination of artificial intelligence and automation, IA improves efficiency by processing huge amounts of data automatically. Implementation is not just an IT concern, but requires a change in the way businesses work, bringing together humans and technology to accelerate and improve processes that previously could not be automated for better business results.

Marieke Saeij, CEO at Visma | Onguard comments: “It’s a fascinating finding that finance professionals want to implement Intelligent Automation in their organisation, despite the majority admitting they’re unaware of what it is all about. IA is the automation of business processes that are not repetitive or predictable, where some degree of intelligence, either pre-programmed or artificial, is used to achieve the best outcome. At Visma | Onguard, we can only applaud the ambition of finance professionals to implement emerging technologies such as these. However, these findings reveal that we have a clear role to help every finance professional understand what IA is and how it can add value to their organisation. After all, this growing trend makes the work of every finance professional a lot easier, leaving more room for them to add value to the organisation.”

The roadmap to implementation

For those businesses planning to implement this technology, the planned timeframe for adoption varies with 37% of professionals indicating that they are working on a 1-2 year strategy for adoption, and only 3% thinking they will implement it within a year. This hesitancy to implement is reflected by the overwhelm being felt due to the volume and variety of data now available to finance professionals, with 41% finding effectively combining outputs from the many different data sources (both external and internal) the biggest challenge when it comes to becoming data-driven.

As part of IA, the survey found that uptake of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and robotisation also remains modest, with only 21% of finance professionals currently using the technology in their systems. Its potential however is promising, and adoption could be on the rise with 40% saying they are developing ideas on how to integrate RPA or robotisation, with a further 21% in the exploratory phase.

Download our whitepaper for more insights on Intelligent Automation.

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