Indian IT services giant Infosys is using IPsoft technology to automate the IT and business process services it provides to its global customer base.
Software which automates IT and business processes is maturing and becoming attractive to businesses looking to reduce the costs associated with low-level tasks with the aim of freeing up money to spend on more strategic activity.
Automation software providers often target the traditional offshore model, where IT and business processes are carried out in low-cost locations, as an area to win business.
O2, for example, is using business process automation software in its back office to reduce the number of offshore workers required to carry out processes such as replacing SIM cards.
IPsoft's IPcenter platform is focused on automating IT processes and can be adapted to automate business processes. Infosys is harnessing the platform for its own service delivery and plans to train 5,000 people in India to support it.
Chandrashekar Kakal, global head of business IT services (BITS) at Infosys, said this is an important step in Infosys improving its managed service capabilities.
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Business benefits of automation software
Automation has been seen as a major disrupter to the offshore IT and business process outsourcing model. Software robots bring costs down below that of full-time equivalents in India, for example. This frees up resources to focus on other areas.
A recent report from Quocirca, which was commissioned by IPSoft, found that IT staff spend 30% of their time carrying out basic tasks and are growing frustrated with the lack of time left to focus on transformational work.
The average IT worker is also using only half of the skills they possess as a result of time spent on straightforward tasks, the research found.
Quocirca used data collected by research company Vanson Bourne, which interviewed 100 senior IT managers at businesses with more than 1,000 staff.
Speaking when the research was released, Terry Walby, UK managing director at IPsoft, told Computer Weekly: "Indian suppliers will have to fundamentally change their business models."
Supplier profile: Infosys
Quocirca analyst Bob Tarzey said even offshore suppliers are automating processes because they are seeing labour arbitrage coming to an end. He said through improving customer processes, systems integrators could become the biggest users of automation software.
Infosys's Kakal said through the IPsoft software customers would benefit from a combination of automation and offshore services. "Even if you do automate, you still need people to support it," he added.
IT industry body Intellect is raising awareness of the benefits that automation software can bring to UK business.
Intellect said automation software is underused in the UK, which is currently in its early adopter phase. The industry body said businesses are missing out on "white-collar automation".
Blue-collar automation is already established, with robots carrying out a sizeable proportion of manufacturing processes, said Intellect. But white-collar automation – software carrying out business processes for back offices – has a huge potential market.