Lack of know-how slows down business process automation benefits

Many companies still lack the necessary expertise to tap the potential of business process automation, reveals the second part of the “OTRS Spotlight: IT Service Management 2023” study.
  • Nearly half of U.S. companies are not yet using business process automation to drive business results
  • Lack of expertise and holding on to manual processes stand in the way of successful automation
  • Those U.S. businesses taking advantage of BPA see actual business benefits – costs savings, quality and customer satisfaction

Cupertino, CA, 25. May 2023 – While AI solutions like ChatGPT have dominated the headlines for months, many companies are still struggling to build up the necessary expertise to leverage the potential of hyper automation for themselves.

Even though two-thirds of U.S. companies (67percent) have already invested in some tools to automate their business processes, 45 percent of these lack the necessary expertise to actually use them. This is according to the second part of the “OTRS Spotlight: IT Service Management 2023” study. For the study, the software company OTRS Group surveyed 600 executives in March and April of this year, 100 of them in the U.S.

Also interesting is that 52 percent of those who have already invested in business process automation (BPA) are also actively using artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) as part of their task handling and workflows. Similarly, lack of skills hold businesses back with AI and ML too: 24 percent among the BPA pioneers have not yet actively used these due to a lack of expertise.

Another twelve percent of U.S. companies have not yet invested in BPA tools at all citing lacking the necessary skills in the team to address the issue as the reason.

IT teams are the driving force behind business process automation

The expertise needed to drive forward the automation of business processes lies primarily in IT departments or is being expanded there: In more than half of businesses in the U.S. (58 percent), it is they who are actively involved in this. They are followed at some distance by Human Resources (30 percent) and Facilities Management/Office Management/Finance and Accounting (all three are tied at 22 percent). Internationally, facility and office management rank second and third behind IT. Only nine percent of organizations in the U.S. have no department actively exploring business process automation at this time.

However, the field is growing. Sixteen percent of all U.S. businesses intend to invest in BPA within the next twelve months. One in five of U.S. companies that have already done so also plan to start integrating AI and machine learning into their business processes in the next two to five years (21 percent).

“AI and machine learning alone do not add value to businesses. Without human expertise, to select the right tools from the multitude of new options and put them to use for each business individually, it won’t work,” comments Andreas Bender, VP Consulting at OTRS Group. “IT departments and people with IT expertise will therefore continue to gain in importance — not only to manage the use of new tools themselves, but also to transfer their knowledge into other business departments and enable them to use them independently. This is the only way to optimize and automate processes across the entire company. Those who bring the right expertise on board now or build it up internally will give themselves a clear competitive advantage.”

Automation works: reduced costs, increased work quality and CSAT

Executives in the U.S. who have already automated business processes primarily expected increased customer satisfaction (21 percent) and cost savings (19 percent). Faster company growth was cited by 18 percent as their top expected benefit followed by time savings (15 percent). Reducing data errors (12 percent), increased employee happiness (7 percent), improved security handling (6 percent), and the ability to adapt to changes more quickly (1 percent) were also among the biggest hoped-for benefits.

For the most part, the effects are being realized to the extent expected. U.S. executives most frequently observed cost savings (22 percent), reduction of data mistakes (18 percent) and increased customer satisfaction (18 percent) as their greatest benefits since their BPA measures began. Fifteen percent each noted faster company growth and time savings as the greatest realized benefits. Only six percent reported the biggest benefit being their ability to adapt to changes faster.  A negligible amount reported increased employee happiness (4 percent) and improved security handling (1 percent) as the greatest actual benefits they observed.

Cherished manual processes block the path to automation

A lack of know-how within the company is by no means the only reason for not yet having invested in business process automation tools despite these advantages. More than a quarter (27 percent) of those who have not yet invested in them in the U.S. believe that manual processes are sufficient for them. Another 27 percent say their reluctance stems from not having the time to look into something that seems like a big project. Another 15 percent cite not finding an adequate tool as their primary reason for not investing in a business automation tool.

Andreas Bender warns: “Businesses that stick completely to their manual processes will lose competitiveness in the medium term. Pioneers already save costs through automation, are more agile and work more efficiently. As AI solutions and machine learning advance, they will continue to extend this lead. Therefore, executives should put their manual processes to the test, optimize these and automate them wherever possible in order not to fall behind. As with any project that changes work processes, they should make sure to actively involve their employees in the change process and not lose them along the way. Automation only succeeds when man and machine work hand in hand.”


About the “OTRS Spotlight: IT Service Management 2023” Study

The data used for the study is based on an online survey conducted by Pollfish Inc. on behalf of OTRS AG, in which 600 business owners and executives in Germany, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and Hungary participated between March 7, 2023, and April 8, 2023, including 100 in the United States.

The results of the first part of the study can be found in this press release and in this infographic.


About OTRS Group

OTRS Group is the manufacturer and the world’s largest provider of the enterprise service management suite OTRS, awarded with the SERVIEW CERTIFIED TOOL seal of approval. It offers companies industry-independent solutions for structured communication in customer service, IT service management and security management. In addition to the core product OTRS, the security solutions STORM and CONTROL ensure efficient cybersecurity incident management and transparent documentation in accordance with standards such as ISO 27001.

Among its customers are Lufthansa, Airbus, Porsche, BSI (Federal Office for Security in Information Technology), Max Planck Institute, Toyota and TUI Cruises. The company consists of OTRS AG and its five subsidiaries OTRS Inc. (USA), OTRS S.A. de C.V. (Mexico), OTRS Asia Pte. Ltd. (Singapore), OTRS do Brasil Soluções Ltda. (Brazil) and OTRS Magyarország Kft. (Hungary). OTRS AG is listed on the basic board of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

For more information, see

Press Contact OTRS:
Address OTRS AG
Zimmermühlenweg 11
61440 Oberursel
Name Laura Bug
Phone +49 6172 681988-32

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