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Digital transformation initiatives have dramatically accelerated during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Business leaders raced to buy new technology to transition to a work from home model. 

Ways automation revolutionizes how we work 

As the economy and international travel have begun to come back to life, business leaders must adopt the technology they’ve already invested in and continue to seek out more efficient ways of doing business morning forward. 

Let’s discuss a few of the ways automation has revolutionized the workforce and how we conduct business. 

Savings and success

Even before the pandemic hit, large organizations were leveraging automation technology to improve productivity and operational efficiencies and build better-connected experiences for their customers. 

Automation is the process of making a manual task more accessible and more efficient to complete or remove altogether if it’s more productive to do so. Every business is constantly searching for methods to improve productivity and operational efficiency. Still, the cost savings derived from automation can’t be ignored either. Operational costs will fall by 30% for those that revamp their operational processes via automation.

In years gone by, there’s been a misconception that automation will lead to job cuts. But true automation means employees are empowered to do their jobs faster and more efficiently, reducing frustration from mundane tasks and, by extension, lowering turnover rates. In fact, businesses could automate 60% of back-office and administration tasks in the future. 

By empowering employees with automation, they can assess which aspects of their jobs require human intervention and which can be automated, freeing them to focus on their core function. Neglecting the human element of automation is one of the core causes of failed automation strategies. To ensure a successful automation strategy, employees need to be assured that automation is here to help, not to take over job functions; automation’s sole purpose is to improve productivity and eliminate unnecessary time spend, not overtake people’s positions in the workforce. 

Driving results and significant ROI

With the potential to significantly reduce operational expenditure, automation has become a big business in itself and is expected to reach $600 billion in market value by 2022. But automation is merely a process that relies on technology to orchestrate correctly. Robotic process automation (RPA) is the most popular of these technologies, with 93% of business leaders expected to use it by 2023. RPA can be thought of as “automating automation,” where smart platforms determine which processes would make the most sense to automate. 

Perhaps the reason for the explosion in popularity of RPA platforms is how they enable what Gartner calls “hyperautomation”. This process involves scaling up automation initiatives across the entire organization, automating every possible process that businesses can automate. More basic technologies like machine learning also effectively empower staff to automate processes themselves, like an employee programming a machine learning algorithm to automatically process new customer onboarding instead of using a manual, paper-based system.

Barriers to automation

Automation is a powerful tool, but it comes with its own set of issues. True business automation is only possible when every employee integrates the data they generate, but concerned staff are increasingly hesitant to let go of their data. Nearly 75% of business and IT leaders’ concerns around security stop them from integrating their data, hindering automation initiatives. 

Another concern is a lack of rules or regulations surrounding automation tools. Automation should only be pursued if product improvements and enhancements along with safety precautions are core components of the implementation process. 

Other issues like a lack of business process skills, absence of integration skills, and data silos also prevent businesses from automation. But technology like low-code/no-code platforms helps to foster trust in employees. These low-code platforms allow every employee, whether technically savvy or not, to integrate their own data sets and systems with simple tools without the need for any programming experience. Organizations can also use them in conjunction with RPA and machine learning to maximize productivity and operational efficiency across the entire organization. 

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If the concept of automation sounds new, then be aware that automation is already here and is coming for every industry. By 2024, close to half of all RPA customers will reach from outside the IT industry. Organizations that aren’t continuously trying to improve their business will soon find themselves behind. Want to learn more? See how CIOs are leading the next round of IT automation for the modern business world.