For businesses, 2020 was the year of the reality check. You may have had plans in place for disaster recovery or failover, but like most businesses, you didn’t plan on the majority of your employees having to work from home for months on end or troubleshooting a new way to connect all of your data, processes, remote workers, and – oh yeah – your customers. Almost overnight, “industry disruption” became a strategic consideration in the most literal sense and left C-suite leaders completely rethinking systems and operations.
With those challenges as a backdrop, we surveyed more than 3,000 senior managers and frontline IT staff on how changes happening right now will affect the future of work. A large majority responded that they wanted intelligent automation capabilities to close operational gaps and guard against future disruptions.
Using intelligent automation to close operational gaps
Intelligent automation is an umbrella term used to describe the emerging technologies that businesses rely on to automate work, including AI, robotic automation (RPA and RDA), chat bots, natural language processing (NLP), and visual recognition technology, as well as the business process management (BPM), case management, and process intelligence that orchestrates the work from end-to-end.
In 2020, businesses that thought they were agile found they had a difficult time adapting to the immediate needs of a distributed workforce without creating redundancies, slowing operations, and stifling collaboration. Seventy four percent of survey respondents said that the COVID-19 crisis “exposed more IT gaps than expected,” and more than 70% of respondents think lessons learned from the recent crisis will spur the need for investment in intelligent automation.
AI, along with cloud-based solutions, are the two most popular technologies in which surveyed business leaders are directing investments. This coincides with trends we’ve seen across industries over the past year, especially the increased adoption of smarter, automated tools like email bots and chat bots, which use AI-based decisioning to assist customer service inquiries and reliance on cloud technologies to make the data and business rules critical for those automated decisions available across distributed work teams in real time.
Smart, AI-enabled tools and intelligent automation capabilities are seen by our survey respondents as improving day-to-day operations and benefitting business through increased customer satisfaction (74%), decreased stress levels in workplace (72%), and increased employee satisfaction (71%).
Investing in intelligent automation to guard against future disruptions
Business leaders are learning from the events of 2020 and planning adoption of technologies that are flexible and adaptable. Intelligent automation is a capability that our survey group identifies will help them respond to the needs of their customers and employees during unexpected future events.
“These survey results are in line with what we’re seeing in the marketplace,” says Eric Musser, Pega’s general manager of intelligent automation. “There’s a high demand for intelligent automation capabilities like AI-based tools, robotic automation, and end-to-end case management from clients who need to digitize legacy processes and better manage work across distributed workforces and systems. Increasingly, we’re seeing the importance of combining these capabilities on a configurable, scalable low-code platform that unites business and IT and empowers them to get end-to-end work done in an agile, collaborative, and repeatable fashion.”
There are many benefits to intelligent automation, however. Solely adopting technology alone will not ensure success. To realize the true promise of intelligent automation requires a combination of:
- The right people: An organization’s ability to establish and cultivate a collaborative culture around digital transformation.
- The right process: A design-thinking approach that uses best practices and promotes collaboration between business and IT to deliver significantly more efficient and far more meaningful outcomes quickly.
- The right technology: A smart, scalable, low-code automation platform to automate processes with integrated, enterprise-grade apps that can be built quickly and easily maintained over time and in the face of constant change.
The knowledge-sharing, reuse, and end-to-end orchestration abilities inherent in these ingredients can open the pathways to true end-to-end intelligent automation. They empower organizations to be more agile and collaborative, and enable rapid prototyping that helps speed application development and deployment capabilities – all while making it easy to implement new technologies quickly or combine existing technologies in new ways to connect and automate both front-end and back-end work.
- See how intelligent automation helps streamline and automate complex work.
- Watch the replays from our Pega Discover Online Summit and discover the ways intelligent automation can future-proof your business.
- Join us at PegaWorld iNspire to learn how the world’s biggest brands are using intelligent automation to simplify complexity and increase revenue.