How Are Process Automation and AI Reshaping Businesses?
Process automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and other automation technologies have already begun to radically transform the way we work.
While many organizations are eager to take advantage of the capabilities presented by automation, some have difficulty understanding exactly how these new technologies can be applied. As a result, investments in automation and AI are often limited.
In the years ahead, however, automation and AI promise to revolutionize the way we approach business challenges.
How AI and automation produce exponential business value
AI and automation are already in wide use today, but for a company that has yet to adopt these technologies, it may be difficult to tackle the challenge of integrating those tools into the business effectively and efficiently.
Here are just a few of the many use cases for AI and automation, as outlined in a report by McKinsey:
- Customer service management
- Task automation
- Customer acquisition
- Product recommendations
- Risk modeling
- Analytics-driven hiring and retention
- Logistics network and warehouse optimization
- Predictive maintenance
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into a few real-world examples that can illustrate how these capabilities translate into business value:
- Chatbots can be used to automate customer service tasks, which can both improve the customer experience and save on customer service costs
- AI can analyze a customer’s product purchases to offer tailored recommendations and predict what purchases they will be likely to make in the future. This can then boost sales while enhancing the customer experience
- Platforms with task automation capabilities, such as WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform, can be used to automate repetitive workplace tasks, freeing up employee time for more valuable activities
When looking at these individual examples, it may be easy to see specific applications in one’s own business. An organization with sufficient customer data could leverage that information to optimize product recommendations, personalize marketing experiences, and more.
What may be less apparent, however, is just how great an impact automation will have on the future of work, the economy, and society itself.
How will process automation and AI reshape the future of business?
In the years and decades ahead, automation and AI will likely fuel a profound shift in the way we work and how we deliver value to customers.
According to some experts, AI will have a bigger impact than the internet—and when AI is combined with process automation, robotics, and other technological innovations, we’re looking at a shift that may completely alter the business landscape and the workplace.
In relation to the global reach of AI, IDC found:
- AI spending will more than double between 2020 and 2024, growing from $50.1 billion to $110 billion
- Top use cases will include many of those covered above, such as sales process recommendation and automation, automated customer service agents, and IT automation
- Retail and banking will be the leading drivers of this AI adoption growth curve, followed by discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, and healthcare
Many other reputable research firms agree with this sentiment, if not the exact numbers.
BCG, for instance, suggests that AI will even become essential for any business that wants to adapt to and stay successful in the post-pandemic world. Not only should an organization adopt AI, they say, “winning companies will reinvent themselves by putting software, data, and AI at the core of their organizations.”
As business models and operating models evolve, so too will the workplace.
Task automation platforms, as mentioned, can deliver major productivity gains in the workplace. Employees will no longer need to spend time on repetitive, mundane tasks and can instead focus on more strategic initiatives.
Yet it is crucial for both employees and employers to understand how drastically automation could affect the workplace and the workforce.
Here are just a few trends to expect in the years ahead:
- PwC has predicted that automation will proceed in three overlapping waves: The automation of simple computational tasks (the algorithm wave), the automation of repeatable tasks and the analysis of unstructured data (the augmentation wave), and the automation of physical labor (the autonomy wave)
- BCG points out that the largest labor surpluses will be in fields such as computer science and mathematics, while the largest deficits will be in jobs that involve repetitive tasks, such as those in office and administrative support
- The World Economic Forum estimates that 43% of businesses plan to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, while 34% actually plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration
Automation and AI, in short, will reshape the workplace and redefine job roles, perhaps in ways that many of us can’t yet foresee.In order to prepare for this inevitability and stay on the right side of change, most experts agree that proper employee training and lifelong learning should become foundational principles for employers and employees alike.