Going by a small regional survey, disparities in RPA adoption point to endemic economic trends and technological familiarity with technology.

In a survey of 802 business leaders in Australia (200), Hong Kong (201), India (201), Malaysia (100) and Singapore (100) from Sep to Oct 2021 on their efforts to digitalize workflows in the financial services industry, disparities have surfaced in the regional adoption of robotic process automation (RPA).

All respondents met the criteria of having worked in financial services for at least 10 years and were in firms with more than 10 employees.

While the data showed a growing momentum in automation efforts by Asia Pacific (APAC) organizations, Australia led the way with a distant 78%, followed by India (49%), Hong Kong (47%), Malaysia (44%) and Singapore (28%).

In terms of RPA familiarity levels, 85% of Australian respondents indicated good knowledge of the technology, followed by those from Hong Kong (82%), India (75%), Malaysia (50%) and Singapore (34%).

Country-specific findings 

The report revealed that across the region, the top two functions that firms leveraged RPA for were finance and IT.

In Hong Kong, the top two areas were finance  and customer service.

Within the next two to three years, respondents in Australia and India expected to continue leveraging RPA the most in the finance and IT departments, while Hong Kong respondents expected the same in the finance and customer service departments.

In Malaysia, besides the finance department (61%), firms were prioritizing RPA programs in sales and marketing (73%) in the next two to three years.

For Singapore, the finance department was not included in the top three areas: IT (61%) was the top priority for RPA adoption there, followed by sales and marketing (54%) and customer service (50%).

According to Robert Dewar, Vice President (Financial Services, APAC), Blue Prism, which commissioned the survey: “While RPA adoption across industries (in the survey) grew at tremendous speed, the disparity of RPA adoption within the APAC financial services industry (indicates) a long roadmap before the region reaches RPA and Intelligent Automation maturity. Presently, the use of RPA adoption remains largely a tool to improve efficiency and cut costs, rather than as a catalyst to accelerate digital transformation.”