In any economic downturn, businesses automatically begin retrenching and looking for opportunities to cut costs and become more efficient. As headlines in the tech industry continue to trumpet the bad news of layoffs—perhaps foreshadowing a broader economic slowdown—organizations are exploring automation whenever and wherever possible. Because process automation streamlines workflows, eliminates manual tasks, and minimizes human error, it can lead directly to cost savings.
As a relatively new technology, however, lack of process automation expertise can be a barrier to businesses that want to take advantage of it. As a result, an ecosystem of intelligent automation service providers and consultants offering expertise and implementation assistance has sprung up and is rapidly expanding. Many of the largest business consultancies including Accenture, EY, Gartner, PwC and others have been advising on intelligent automation initiatives for years.
While the global consultancies are avidly adding intelligent automation clients to their rosters, the new ecosystem also includes service providers that focus specifically on process automation technology. One of the largest in this category is Chicago-based Ashling Partners.
In the wake of acquiring two smaller consultancies that also focused on intelligent automation services, Ashling this week announced a strategic partnership with Bain & Company the firms say will help clients of both consultancies develop, build and scale their automation programs faster and more effectively to deliver full potential and value.
Bain noted Ashling’s extensive technical capabilities and managed services in the intelligent automation space and said the combination with Bain’s deep strategic and operational expertise in implementing automation would push the industry forward.
“Automation has become a top priority for our clients, across all industries,” said Stephen Phillips, head of Bain’s global Enterprise Technology practice. “These transformations are now touching almost every element of customer experience and business functions, with profound impact.”
RPA Today has covered several of the firms that, like Ashling Partners, are providing consulting, implementation and managed services to the intelligent automation space. Austin, Texas-based Tquila Automation, Toronto-based Blueprint Software, Indian firm Acuvate, London companies ABP Consulting and SCP Digital, along with New Jersey-based Accelirate are some of the firms that have made recent announcements in the space.
And, in a sure sign that a sector is achieving notoriety, two separate firms have issued reports in the past year evaluating providers of automation services—mostly the larger providers. Cambridge, Mass.-based technology consultancy Forrester released a Wave report looking at 15 companies, while Everest Group worked up a PEAK Matrix report for 28 firms.