What PwC’s 2017 survey tells us about RPA in financial services today

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Robotic process automation (RPA) can help the bottom line, as many proof-of-concept tests have demonstrated. Now, many firms have moved from exploration toward a broad rollout of software "bots." They’ve boosted efficiency and cut costs, but they’ve also seen that integrating digital labor with their software and workforce poses distinct challenges. PwC’s 2017 Financial Services RPA Survey shows that RPA programs are maturing, and companies are looking ahead to where automation will go next.

About the survey

In the 2017 survey, we talked to several dozen professionals from across the US financial services industry who are actively engaged with RPA, at a variety of companies, levels and functions. The technology has had rapid uptake in banking and capital markets, insurance and asset/wealth management, but some firms have had much more success with automation than others. We wanted to understand what RPA looks like now, both for those leading the movement as well as for those just starting out. 

What do the results from the PwC 2017 Financial Services RPA survey show about the growth of RPA?

Many financial institutions have moved from exploration toward a broad rollout of software bots. Our survey found that 11% of respondents consider themselves “leading,” meaning they have adopted RPA widely across the enterprise, and another 19% are heading in that direction.

What are some of the struggles and challenges with RPA implementation?

More than half of those who answered our survey said they’d faced some issues with integrating their RPA platform with other surrounding software systems.

We have also found that, after giving RPA the green light, some financial institutions stumble by looking for quick savings and solving the wrong problems. They operate in silos, so they fail to share information or seize on opportunities to increase scale.

So, what are the next steps after RPA implementation?

RPA isn’t appropriate for everything. But firms find it very effective at performing low-value activity quickly, reliably and securely. This is just the beginning, and there’s much more to come as bots begin to do more than just follow orders.

RPA is evolving and shaping up to be the precursor for the broader use of artificial intelligence, or what is known as intelligent process automation (IPA). Such robots learn from prior decisions and data patterns and make their own decisions. Although IPA takes more effort to deploy than standard RPA, it requires minimal human oversight after launch.

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How PwC can help

Our teams in asset and wealth managementbanking and capital markets and insurance are helping our clients tackle the biggest issues facing the financial services industry. With professionals across tax, assurance and advisory practices, we can help you find ways to thrive even in a period of uncertainty. Whether you're preparing for regulatory changes, putting FinTech/InsurTech to work or rethinking your human capital strategy, we work together with you to deliver value to your business.

For more information on how PwC can help with RPA, reach out to one of our leaders below or explore our RPA services.

Contact us

Kevin Kroen

Partner, Intelligent Automation Leader, PwC US

Min Lee

Director, FS Advisory, PwC US

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