According to new research from Intelligent Automation company ABBYY, 99% of UK IT decision makers have implemented a form of automation technology in the last two years, while pre-pandemic 1 in 6 (15%) UK businesses had no automation plan in place. Spurred by the pandemic, it is clear that there has been a behavioural shift in the way IT decision makers implement automation technology, as we witness a new ‘people first’ approach.
This has resulted in a huge 93% believing they have been successful in deploying these technologies, compared to only 63% in the past, when they used RPA alone.
The pandemic has resulted in many organisations accelerating digital technology adoption plans by three to seven years, with 38% of IT decision makers having implemented 3 to 4 automation projects over the last two years. This could be due to customer demand, business survival and the huge opportunity in the market. But when it comes to why the implementation of automation technology has been so successful, it’s clear that the ‘people first’ approach to business decisions has played a key role since the pandemic, and implementing new technology is no longer only about the business, but also increasingly more about the people. 1,208 IT decision makers across the UK, US, France, Germany and Japan were surveyed. When asked why IT leaders made the investment in the first place:
- 47% answered it was to better prepare for remote working
- 49% to prepare for hybrid working
- 45% to help with employee burnout
- 17% answered pressure from employees to implement.
This is a refreshing turn of events, with the remote workforce becoming a norm for most companies, unhappy workers causing the Great Resignation phenomena, and a work-life balance now a priority. Moreover, McKinsey reports that investing in digital skills for people has become a clear priority since the pandemic, indicating that employee skills need to match company’s technology investments.
Understand the pitfalls to see the payoffs
When it comes to automation projects being unsuccessful, there is again a clear human-centric element. While the reasons behind deploying the technology was people first, businesses claim that the remote workforce (43%) and too many resignations (29%) were two of the main reasons for failure. In this way, whilst people are now a major part of the decision-making process, there’s still the hurdle between decision makers and the people on the ground using the technology as 24% of decision makers are not necessarily tech savvy. Investing in new technology must be intertwined with investing in easy-to-use solutions and training staff to recognise what went wrong if a project was a failure.
The action following failure of automation projects is crucial but could be dependent on human-centric elements, specifically personality traits. The survey affirmed that the C-suite are driving the decision-making process for automation projects, with 56% CEOs, 62% of CTOs and 61% CIOs self-admitted extroverts, suggesting that stereotypically confident leaders are taking the bull by the horns and achieving success with automation projects.
Neil Murphy, Global Channel Chief at ABBYY, said: “The pandemic, great resignation, and need for a better work-life balance has changed the game for the UK workforce. People’s expectations for what they want and need from their employees has evolved. This has resulted in a behavioural shift at the top, as leaders understand that implementing new technology is no longer only about the business, but also increasingly more about the people.”
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