Why automation will be on top of the CIO’s agenda

BrandPost By Dwight Davis
May 26, 2021
Technology Industry

An inside look at IDC’s ‘FutureScape’ predictions.

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Credit: istock

Virtually all CIOs and other IT decision makers know that future workplaces will heavily depend on – and benefit from – an expanding fabric of automated business processes. But foreseeing this future is quite different from understanding how to best prepare for it, or how to hasten it.

Those looking for best practices in this regard can find several in IDC’s “FutureScape” predictions for CIO agendas this year and beyond. IDC identifies 10 trends and imperatives that warrant CIOs’ attention, and also provides prescriptive and actionable recommendations for exploiting these trends. Process automation and its companion technology, artificial intelligence (AI), factor into much of IDC’s guidance.

One of IDC’s core predictions is that by 2024, 50% of CIOs will be accelerating robotization, automation, and augmentation to support safe, distributed, and efficient work environments. This trend is already well under way, of course, but it requires close attention to change management, IDC cautions.

Part of the change management challenge is acclimating employees to embrace the benefits associated with redesigned processes and increased machine assistance. CIOs also need to implement audit capabilities for the AI and machine learning elements of automated processes to regularly assess data input relevance, model assumptions, and model output.

Closely related to organizations’ process automation initiatives is another IDC imperative: the general need for CIOs to bolster their teams’ capabilities in data science, AI, human-machine interfaces, and advanced workflow design. To this end, IDC recommends the creation of centers of excellence for data/analytics, AI, machine learning, and workflow and task automation.

IDC also counsels CIOs to prepare for a mixture of human, digital, and hybrid workers. In essence, IDC’s “digital worker” is what others would call an “unattended bot” in the context of robotic process automation (RPA). Likewise, IDC’s “hybrid worker” is the same as an “attended bot” in RPA parlance, where a human operator interacts with a bot to jointly accomplish a task more efficiently and accurately than the employee could do on his or her own.

Another IDC prediction also has direct bearing on the need to greatly expand the number and complexity of automated workflows. The consultancy predicts that by 2025, 60% of CIOs will implement governance for low-code/no-code tools to increase IT and business productivity, and to help line-of-business developers meet specific needs. (We will explore this topic in detail in a future post.)

A recent white paper by Forrester Research, commissioned by robotic process automation (RPA) leader UiPath, examines some of the key ways in which automation and artificial intelligence are impacting the workplace, and will continue to do so. To obtain a copy of this report, go to Reinventing Business Automation – Future of Work.