Nearly 70% of companies say that adapting automation to their existing company culture is more challenging than expected, but result in increased efficiency and improved customer service.

PLANO, Texas – April 12, 2018 – According to research findings released today by NTT DATA Services, a recognized leader in global technology services, four of the top five challenges for enterprises to overcome when implementing automation are related to leadership and change management. The report surveyed business leaders and consumers finding as consumer demographics change and virtual agent capabilities improve, automated customer service will evolve to be the standard for delivering many customer service activities in the future. The report found that automation will evolve to be the standard for delivering many customer service activities in the future as consumer demographics change and virtual agent capabilities improve.

“There must be strong leadership to drive change, manage the transformation, realize the funding and return on value (ROV) or they won’t succeed,” said Kris Fitzgerald, vice president and chief technology officer, NTT DATA Services.

Key study findings include:

  • Executive commitment must be aligned. The top five challenges enterprises reported facing when implementing automation include:
    • Budget – 56%
    • Change management – 43%
    • Lack of executive support to back these initiatives – 39%
    • Leadership alignment – 37%
    • Propensity for risk – 31% 
  • Work culture must adapt to automation. When automation is introduced in customer service and machines are handling routine work, the role of live agents must change. The leading traits employers look for in agents for the blended human/machine call center are advanced problem-solving skills (44%) and the ability to make independent decisions (41%) rather than simply repeating canned answers. 
  • Lagging technology capabilities are still a significant barrier. The top six challenges to operationalizing customer service automation include:
    • Data and intelligence – 43%
    • The right ecosystem – 36%
    • Cost – 31%
    • Understanding the full business impact – 31%
    • People – 28%
    • Enabling the full lifecycle – 23% 
  • Companies can benefit from customer service automation. Respondents identified the top 5 benefits as:
    1. Increased efficiency
    2. Improved quality of the first inquiry
    3. Improved live agent-customer experience
    4. Decreased response time
    5. A reduction in the overall number of calls 
  • Investments in automation are accelerating. Many companies expect significant customer service improvements in automation within the next 18 months across various channels including text message, online chat, website, social media, phone, email and mobile app automation. These results highlight why virtual agents will be the fastest growing automation technology followed by Robotic Process Automation, as well as Autonomics, which are scripted, autonomous, rules-based solutions.

“The potential that comes with automation is quite large but it takes an end to end commitment by all parties to ensure sustainable value,” said Fitzgerald.

To download a copy of the report, visit “Clearing the Customer Service Hurdle in an Automated World” on the NTT DATA Services website.

NTT DATA Services conducted the study in October 2017, surveying 1,249 consumers and 103 business executives involved in decision-making, budgeting, strategy or execution of customer service, to answer questions about impact, expectations, readiness, and challenges to overcome with automation.

Read more about NTT DATA’s Intelligent Automation Services.

About NTT DATA Services

NTT DATA Services partners with clients to navigate and simplify the modern complexities of business and technology, delivering the insights, solutions and outcomes that matter most. We deliver tangible business results by combining deep industry expertise with applied innovations in digital, cloud and automation across a comprehensive portfolio of consulting, application, infrastructure and business process services.

NTT DATA Services, headquartered in Plano, Texas, is a division of NTT DATA Corporation, a top 10 global business and IT services provider with 118,000+ professionals in more than 50 countries, and NTT Group, a partner to 88 percent of the Fortune Global 100.

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