The old adage of “work smarter not harder” is one of the few things that hasn’t changed since the global pandemic. People are still finding ways of doing more with less, and especially how to use resources effectively to get results. We worked with Pulse to gain insight on how 100 top executives make the most of their time by using process automation.
Here are four key trends that show why automation is a top priority among today’s IT and engineering leaders:
1. An overwhelming majority of tech leaders prefer workflow automation
Process automation, or the ability to simplify complex work streams, is a top priority for tech executives worldwide. Ninety-five percent of C-suite, VP, and director-level leaders surveyed see the value of automation across industries.
People say time is the one resource you can never get back. Automation proves that wrong.
Some industries benefit more than others, however. Leaders report the greatest return on investment across IT, operations, customer service, and finance. Other departments that see an uptick in ROI are HR, marketing, and sales. As such, 88% of respondents will continue to pursue automation tools as key investments at their companies.
2. Time, cost, and speed are the biggest benefits of automation technologies
People say time is the one resource you can never get back. Automation proves that wrong. Automation gives an overwhelming majority of employees (74%) anywhere from four to 28 hours back in their week, just by freeing up tedious tasks.
This not only equates to time savings, but financial savings as well. About half of IT and engineering leaders reduced costs by 11-30%, with one-in-ten leaders seeing upwards of 50% average savings.
Telecommunications, hardware, and retail industries saw the greatest ROI in time savings, and biotech, hardware, and consumer goods reaped the greatest benefits in cost.
3. Executive investment in automation is on the rise
The majority of organizations surveyed spent at least $250K on automation this previous year. Sixteen percent spent $1MM or more. And the plan is to keep investing.
Most of the companies surveyed had over 1,000 employees, so the biggest hurdles in implementing automation include mapping out complex processes or navigating external data. Another pressing issue is the cost to actually put automation techniques in place. And while four out of five people feel comfortable with their managers’ support or engagement, another third feel that resistance among fellow employees is still a considerable obstacle to overcome.
It may help alleviate employee resistance by knowing 89% of companies rely on third-party systems to integrate automation technology, which takes the pressure off employees and leaves the transition in the hands of experts.
4. Intelligence is the next frontier of automation
Regardless of industry, automation proves strategic. Leaders use automation to guide people in self-service, assist with long multi-user processes, or practice robotic processing, to name a few opportunities. One area that industries have yet to leverage more is artificial intelligence (AI). Currently, only 28% of leaders use AI/chatbots, but as many as 78% plan to integrate AI in the future.
Part of why triggered actions are the number one go-to for companies is because they make the employee experience more productive.
The most popular form of automation is triggered actions, with 62% of companies already leveraging that technology. Part of why triggered actions are the number one go-to for companies is because they make the employee experience more productive — liberating employees to focus on their uniquely human strengths.
The future is full of automation opportunities
No matter how you look at it, automation is on the rise. A majority (82%) of companies choose to build on their automation efforts already at work. Tech departments see a surge of needs and requests post-pandemic, and automation technologies are an efficient investment to multiply efforts.
Automation’s benefits to companies and individuals alike will continue to prove its worth in our new digital age. Time, resources, mental energy, and bandwidth are just a few of the cost savings leaders discovered — with untold more yet to come.