Why are organisations automating?
Each year Proservartner carries out multi-industry research that explores the uptake of automation. The study is conducted yearly and is based on answers from more than 600 business leaders across the UK. We have seen a very positive change in outlook from UK companies as to why they are implementing automation.
2018: In our 2018 survey we found that 65% of companies were looking to make savings on salaries and 26% were looking to plug skills shortages caused by Brexit. Given the uncertainty at the time, this is perhaps not surprising and also feeds into the narrative that much of the wider press were presenting; that primarily automation was a tool of human replacement.
2019: In the space of just a year we see quite the sea change as to why companies are now looking to adopt automation. 53% of companies we asked last year saw that automation, rather than being used to replace employees, could actually improve their working lives. We also saw 22% of companies look to implement automation to enhance customer relationships where once automation and robots were seen as a threat.
This big change in just a year shows not only a more positive outlook, but also that the marketplace is becoming better educated about the real impacts of automation.
There are a few drivers for automation that we expect to be reflected after 2020:
Better Technology:From a technological point of view, automation has matured to the point where it is consistent and reliable. Clear Industry leaders have merged for all types of automation and so organisations not only have more opportunities to automate, but the peace of mind that automation programmes are likely to be successful.
Competition: 53% of organisations say that they would be more willing to automate more if their peers are also doing so. This is perhaps a confidence issue, the more organisations which adopt automation programmes, the more others will be spurred to do so. We have already seen many larger sized firms implement this technology and now would expect that challenger brands would look to see how automation could give them a competitive advantage. We may see some of the more inventive uses of automation come from this group.
Customer Satisfaction: One of the biggest changes we’ve seen since 2018 is the recognition that automation is a driver for and not hindrance to good customer service. In the past generally when thinking of automation and customer facing roles, the worry was of soul- less interactions with staff but now organisations are recognising that the role of automation is not to replace humans but to take away the laborious admin and allow them to concentrate on the customer, improving that experience.
COVID19: The most current driver for automation will of course be the current lockdown in relation to the coronavirus. Many businesses that we are talking today to have said that digital transformation is now a priority with the elimination of paper-based processes seen as essential.
We are starting to see that cultural change where people realise that automation is not about taking jobs but actually making jobs more enjoyable and allowing them to focus on what’s important.
If your organisation is starting its automation journey, or looking to scale its efforts then be sure to get in touch with the Proservartner team.