Pre-pandemic, while many organizations made business process automation a strategic priority, the implementation was slow at best. When COVID-19 swept across the globe, business imperatives underwent a massive transformation and automation progressed from a business priority to a technology essential for business subsistence.
In just a single year, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way organizations across all sectors and regions do business. The shift to remote working exposed organizations to crushing demands, bottlenecks and points of failure. According to a recent McKinsey report, COVID-19 accelerated the digitization of customer and supply chain interactions and internal operations by three to four years. As a result, an increasing number of organizations are recognizing the value of automation and how it empowers employees by automating various business-critical processes.
For instance, low– and no-code platforms enable organizations to empower their employees and bridge the gap between technical knowledge and business knowledge. Business experts can build apps and customizations to meet the new remote working requirements with little to no coding. Test automation helps organizations cut the time and effort required to launch an application. This allows test teams and developers to quickly run tests and release high-quality products.
Robotic process automation (RPA) automates mundane tasks with minimal human intervention. RPA is an important enabler of contactless business operations that delivers a new standard of productivity and completely transforms the way organizations work. Additionally, with recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI), enterprises are now closer than ever before to achieving good customer experience. One such innovation are AI-enabled chatbots, which deliver an instant self-service issue resolution mechanism, without overstretching the business budget.
2020 has taught the world the importance of building resilient businesses that can weather storms and stand strong. However, doing so in the current pandemic is no easy feat. Some of the immediate business challenges organizations are faced with include business continuity risks, sudden fluctuations in demand, security risks and changes to decision-making and workforce productivity. According to a recent Gartner prediction, organizations will lower operational costs 30% by combining hyper-automation technologies with redesigned operational processes by 2024. Automation enables organizations to drastically improve business outcomes and inject higher efficiency into business processes to combat the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These trends are only expected to grow over time. Here are 6 ways COVID-19 is shifting the automation game in 2021 and beyond:
- Automation will continue to be a vital component of human resilience and the fight against COVID-19. It will be a core component of vaccination programs, maintenance of health records and other use cases.
- Automation will become the “new norm,” rather than a disruptive technology. Exciting new use cases will emerge across various functions and industries.
- Automation security will be a major focus area this year. In the digital-first world, the security and privacy of data is a top concern for organizations, and significant strides will be taken toward more automation security.
- There will be a major push to leverage automation to remove complexity wherever possible and to address the realities of remote work, which brings new IT challenges in both ensuring a seamless working environment and securing networks while individuals work from disparate locations.
- In 2021, organizations will rethink how they select automation technologies. Expect to see a greater selection rigor that fuels more informed assessments of these technologies’ abilities to successfully operate and scale in large, demanding, front-to-back office enterprise environments, where performance, security, flexibility, resilience, usability and governance are required.
- Organizations will seek software vendors with a proven suite of automation solutions to catalyze their digital transformation journey. Software vendors with a comprehensive suite of automation solutions and proven track-record as digital transformation enablers will witness significant growth and acceptance.
Today, automation enables companies to increase productivity while reducing costs, which is especially attractive to decision-makers during times of economic crisis. By streamlining processes, through the deployment of new technology solutions and the automation of simple tasks, employees can focus more on improving the customer experience and identifying other growth opportunities. Additionally, during these times of remote working, strong automation strategies can facilitate critical business operations that would otherwise not have been possible under social-distancing restrictions.
Low- and no-code automation platforms help pro-grade developers and business users collaborate and build applications to tackle the new business realities and ensure business continuity. Chatbots enable organizations to setup self-service options to acclimate employees to new technologies, allowing queries to be resolved almost instantaneously. RPA empowers organizations to automate more rule-based business processes, in order to streamline and accelerate business processes. Test automation shortens the gap between business problem identification and go-to-market, while simultaneously reducing costs and decreasing employee time needed for software testing. It also allows organizations to release software more quickly, since there is no manual intervention required, and with greater confidence given the rigor of testing applied.
To successfully streamline processes and better prepare their organization for the future, companies need to identify areas that should be automated that would otherwise threaten business success or productivity. Low- and no-code platforms develop apps without long lines of code and can be easily scaled up or down to meet future business demands. Chatbots can be continuously updated with new knowledge to keep them relevant for new workloads and technologies. RPA is the future of work and will proliferate and deliver new business benefits in the future. These solutions are changing the automation game by integrating with other tools to ensure top-notch performance and future scalability in this new digital-first era.