KPMG reported in a quarterly survey that the global business services (GBS) model (which delivers core business processes such as finance and accounting, human resources, information technology, sourcing and procurement, and internal customer care to organizations) shows continued growth and maturation, in part because of the accelerated use of process automation. This continued growth in the use of the GBS model was particularly notable in larger organizations located in North America and Europe.

As organizations look beyond administrative processing, process and cognitive automation, digital labor and machine intelligence are becoming necessary elements of the GBS model. The benefits of using automation include

  • the ability to allocate resources more strategically,
  • improved performance and/or accuracy of the activities performed,
  • the ability to capitalize on data analytics, and
  • improved competitiveness.

The survey also notes more advanced automation options on the horizon, including technology that can conduct pilot programs or be deployed in live environments.

The survey mentions certain challenges organizations face when implementing process automation, such as the unification of disparate IT systems and the prohibitive cost of the most advanced cognitive automation options. However, Robert Bolton, a partner of KPMG in the United Kingdom, stated that “[W]e will see significant use of robotic process automation and cognitive enhancement in GBS in future years, to the extent that the initial level for all front-line GBS responses will be through an artificial intelligence.”