Rise of the Machines
The threat of computers becoming alternative employees and fulfilling human job roles is one that has strengthened over recent years. However, the modern world is still a way off mass deployment of cognitive knowledge workers that can understand people and what they are asking for. As the strong consumer backlash against off-shored customer service call centers based in far away countries continues, it is unlikely that speaking to a bot over the phone will incite a positive reaction. As such, the days of robots entering the workforce and stealing human jobs is still some time off!
Business Automation, on the other hand, is certainly something that organisations should be embracing. Using computers to carry out and improve mundane processes frees up staff to spend more time on business-critical issues along with ‘hearts and minds’ work. Take zero-touch request fulfillment for example, which is now being adopted by more IT departments to save time when staff request new applications or systems access. This is not a case of computers taking people’s jobs, but rather an automation process which makes busy IT departments more efficient. In the past, it could take in excess of 20 days for businesses to go through all the steps (and waiting time) to manually agree and authorize one worker to use a new application; but by introducing Business Automation this process can be reduced to just a few minutes.
Let’s be Innovative
Companies need to start looking at how IT can dramatically reduce costs and improve efficiency, particularly in regards to Task and Service Automation. IT departments have to get proficient at doing the essentials – answering help-desk calls, on-boarding new employees and making sure that leavers don’t become security risks are all processes that can and should be automated.
But the champion of Automation does not have to be a member of the IT department, as the benefits can be seen across an entire business. From HR, Health and Safety, Facilities Management, Finance, to Security or Engineering, in fact any team who is involved in providing services for employees of a company can benefit from Automation. Currently IT may be the evangelist, but this needs to be in the spotlight across an entire company. Think about all the touch points that you personally have on a day to day basis, from booking parking spaces, organizing guest WiFi, making inquiries about your healthcare and pension, making room bookings; imagine all these processes being Automated, or better yet, choreographed into one single predictive, intelligent service?
Most businesses today are digital in some way and any organisation that is not leveraging IT to become the best player in their particular market is severely missing a trick. There are many transformational CIOs out there, but the best ones are those that realize IT is the ultimate business differentiator. The transformational pace of change makes it impossible for any organisation to sit back and continue to offer the same service in exactly the same way it did ten years ago. Companies today have to be flexible if they are to keep up let alone forged ahead and improving efficiency and productivity through Automation is a great starting point. You don’t need to be the largest company in order to adapt to change, and Automation is the key.
If you want to attract the very best people to your organisation, a CIO needs to be seen to be innovative, you need to respond to the needs of your User immediately, and allow them to consume services like they do water and electricity.
People shouldn’t fear losing their jobs to robots, but instead embrace the benefits that the right type of Automation can bring to their daily activities and business.