Automation acceleration and how to survive it
Increasing investment in enterprise technology is creating more and more opportunities for disruptive start-ups. Their emergence is intensifying pressure on many long-established firms who are struggling to survive – more than half the companies listed just 20 years ago on the Fortune 500 now no longer exist, while only a third of the original names on the FTSE 100 are still there.
This change we are seeing isn't merely incremental, it is dramatic and exceptional and certain to accelerate, with global spending on AI expected to reach $52 billion over the next three years.
The only way businesses can survive the inevitable shock waves that result is to embrace automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, not ignore it.
Unfortunately, some in the corporate world haven't yet grasped this new reality. Only recently, talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos was of a growing gap in technology-knowledge, with some firms still not realising that we are entering what is a Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Too many companies still believe they are efficient, when their current processes are actually increasingly ill-equipped to cope with the changing marketplace. For instance, instead of flowing ever more freely around their organisation, what could be business-building information is getting stuck or slowed by obstacles and blockages inherent in old ways of working.
So, if you hold data across disparate systems, then you must be less efficient than an organisation that employs intelligent routing to make sure documents pass between departments and locations, as seamlessly as possible. If information about your customer interactions is trapped in silos, then you will be at a disadvantage to competitors who use intelligent technologies to give their teams anytime, anywhere access to data. And if you need to manually input data, then it's inevitable you'll be losing out to those who have automated such processes by using intelligent capture and machine learning to make them faster and more accurate.
You should presume your competitors are already doing such things. If they aren't, then this is an opportunity to get ahead of the game. On the other hand, if they are then you need to start playing catch-up at the earliest possible opportunity.
If an organisation waits too long to make such changes, then they will struggle to introduce not just automation, robotics or AI but the all other emerging and business-changing technologies that are developing over ever-shortening cycles.
By adopting intelligent technologies, you will immediately start to benefit from significant productivity improvements, cost savings and improved engagement with employees, customers and partners as content workflows become faster and slicker.
That will enable you to meet customers' needs much more effectively and to provide them with better than ever levels of service. Not only that, but because your team will know what matters most, they will be able to focus on the highest value tasks.
By why stick just with that? If you properly and effectively implement intelligent automation, you will be able to do far more than just ‘tweak' your existing processes, you will be able to ‘reinvent' them entirely. And if you do that, then you will be able to create new products and services that give you distinctiveness in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, less than half of organisations can be labelled as ‘sufficiently digitally determined' – those prepared and sufficiently ready to implement the strategic, cultural, technological and financial decisions required for the digital transformation that is so essential if they are to survive.
Introducing intelligent automation will allow you to create future workspaces with content-centric workflows that are key to surviving, let alone thriving. And this is something that must be done sooner rather than later, given the ‘accelerator effect' that enables early adopters to pull out an ever-growing gap on their rivals.
To ride the coming shock waves requires putting in place a transformation strategy that modifies your processes, business culture and customer experience through digital technologies.
This is a tech revolution that organisations need to be part of.
With so many opportunities being created by intelligent technologies, organisations need technology partners that can help them develop the optimum strategy, at a time of unprecedented technological change.
If you don't, then your organisation may join the growing list of those who just a few decades ago were a permanent feature of our business landscape but who remained on the side-lines too long and now are just a name from the past.