BPOs Leading Intelligent Automation Implementations in Asia | SSON Analytics

BPO sector takes leading role in intelligent automation adoption in Asia

Asian enterprises are predominantly relying on their Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partners to implement intelligent automation (IA). Only a fraction of current IA implementations is based in a Shared Services Center, according to a recent poll of the Asian Shared Services market, by the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON). Instead, more than half of the existing implementations are run by a BPO.


This trend would bode well for the many Asian-based BPO centers whose very existence appears to be threatened by the onslaught of robotic automation. With their traditional business model based on low-cost FTEs, the emergence of a relatively inexpensive digital army on the landscape means BPO businesses are having to rethink their operations, and rethink fast.

Based on our poll, many have already been quick to grasp robotic process automation and leverage it for their core business. For clients, this means less pressure to adopt RPA themselves in response to management pressure to take action on this latest innovation. The never-ending push to be competitive means that organizations are challenging Shared Services Operations to 'do more with less'. Robotic process automation or intelligent automation offers just that option: the ability to ratchet up the scope of service without adding to headcount.

The trend in Asia seemed to be contrary to that seen across the rest of the world, where a common complaint by customer organizations is that they are not being offered enough in the way of intelligent automation solutions by their current BPO providers. It also seems to imply that within the Asian market there is less concern, at least for now, about building up a strong in-house repository of intelligent automation expertise.

The most common areas of application today remain Finance and Accounting (F&A), according to the SSON poll, with half of the Asian-based implementations taking place in this sector. The most common processes are record to report and purchase to pay, although there is significant growth in pilots in other areas, as well.

 F&A leading sector for intelligent automation in Asia


Processes most common for intelligent automation implementations across Asian businesses  




IA Adoption in Asia Business Services – This workbook provides a snapshot of Intelligent Automation (IA) adoption based on 390 recorded cases of IA pilots and implementations in Asia as listed in the Intelligent Automation Universe (IAU).

 Key Findings:

  • Based on a poll at SSON’s 19th Annual Asian Shared Services & Outsourcing Week, 16% have started on their IA journey.
  • Top 3 industries implementing IA are Banking Financial Services & Insurance, Media, Publishing & Advertising, and Manufacturing – CPG.
  • Only 16.6% of recorded IA pilots/implementations happen within a Shared Service Centre.

66.8% of recorded IA pilots/implementations are by large organizations with annual revenue >$10 Billion USD.



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