As economic disruptions from COVID-19 continue, many businesses are now looking for ways to strengthen their resiliency to better prepare for any potential future adversity.
Executives are increasingly prioritizing automation compared to before COVID-19, according to a recent survey, seeing automation as a competitive advantage that can help reduce risk, generate more useful business insights, improve business resilience and customer experience, and help drive revenue growth.
Where automation makes the biggest difference in ROI
According to an analysis of more than 2,000 work activities across 800 occupations, about $15-trillion worth of activities paid in wages have the potential to be automated through technology that is already available. The scope of tasks that can be automated can apply to various roles, including high-wage occupations.
The top reported benefits include:
Faster customer service: Instead of taking days to process requests, automation can deliver results within minutes or seconds
Increased flexibility and scalability: Operations can continue 24/7, and scale up or down easily as demand fluctuates
Improved quality: Automated processes can help with spot-checking, quality control and traceability
Increased savings: Companies can save on labor costs by 20% or more
Increased productivity: Staff can focus on higher value-add activities when routine tasks are automated
How to implement automation now
Software leaders can benefit from implementing these automation technologies that already exist:
- Robotic process automation: This type of automation is about improving efficiency and reliability of repetitive tasks that can be time-consuming to knowledge workers. They can include collecting or inputting data. In one example at one global Fortune 1000 bank, robotic process automation was put in place to handle a high volume of financial transactions when the bank couldn’t hire additional staff. Adopting this type of automation meant that the bank only spent 30% of what it would have budgeted through the conventional route of hiring additional staff. The bank was also able to increase its lending and retail banking capacity, with 150+ bots that could execute 90,000 operational requests per week.
- Chatbots: Developments in artificial intelligence, especially in natural language processing, are making it possible for chatbots and other smart tools to help with customer support. Estimates out of a European business review suggest that chatbots can save as much as 30% in customer support costs while speeding up response times for close to 80% of commonly asked questions. With more support calls being conducted remotely because of the pandemic, it could be worthwhile for many businesses to adopting chatbots in order to improve response times and meet increased demand for online customer support.
- AI data tracking and fleet management: Data tracking and analytics tools can provide valuable metrics to drivers and fleet managers in the transportation industry. Using dashcams and sensors to report and analyze driver behaviour can help with more efficient transport and save as much as $4,000 per truck each year, according to Truckinginfo.
Tech leaders are well-positioned to embrace automation
Not surprisingly, leaders in the tech industry are especially well-positioned to shape the emerging landscape of automation. They are also more optimistic about embracing advanced technologies in this space.
Automation is quickly growing to become a critical component of business operations. Companies that act now to put out a bold automation agenda are more likely to withstand the next economic shock.