CFOs might invest more in reporting automation, RPA, and process mining over the next two years when it comes to technologies in the category of process automation and optimisation, said Gartner recently.
The advisory firm at end-2021 conducted a survey in which 400 CFOs were questioned on 16 different technologies within the category.
Of those three technologies, only reporting automation was rated as currently delivering “high value” to finance departments though RPA remains the most often cited by finance leaders, Gartner pointed out.
Finance processes are complex, exception-heavy and reliant on judgment and subject matter expertise, said Nisha Bhandare, VP analyst in the Gartner Finance practice.
“This currently puts a ceiling on RPA’s value creation, and CFOs need to explore additional options both to enhance RPA’s usefulness, and in some cases, select better fit technologies for their automation goals,” she noted.
In addition, CFOs are realising they need a broader toolkit to realize their full automation objectives, she added.
“To realize higher value from their RPA investments, CFOs are turning to a suite of complementary efficiency technologies, such as process mining, which will remain a future driver of growth for RPA in the coming years,” Bhandare observed.
Overall, 80% of finance leaders agree finance must significantly accelerate its implementation of digital technology, such as RPA and AI to effectively support the business by 2025.
Process mining attracts greater investment
According to Gartner, its analysis of the survey results indicates three key drivers of growth for RPA over the coming two years: embedded machine learning, cloud delivery and integration with process mining.
While process mining is still an exploratory technology — not yet being widely adopted by finance departments, the potential to enhance current RPA implementation makes it an attractive technology within the category, the advisory firm said.
Process mining is designed to discover, monitor, and improve real processes by analysing event logs in information systems, Gartner explained.
Finance leaders can review exactly what happened during the execution of their process after the event logs are analysed by the process mining algorithm, the firm added.
Process mining can be used in following three distinct and additive ways, according to Gartner.
Process discovery. Build a model to reveal how a current process is operating “as is”
Process conformance. Compare the actual event’s process to its ideal model
Process enhancement. Improve or extend processes, including RPA
“Process mining gives finance leaders a tool to identify the root causes of inefficiencies and exceptions in real-time,” said Bhandare. “This provides the opportunity to streamline and correct processes that may have been perceived to be resistant to automation and introduce more opportunities to use RPA—and automation more broadly—in achieving additional efficiency and cost gains.”